This was our 3rd Cruise, 2nd Carnival Cruise. Family Spring Break trip with the 12 year old and the Grandparents.
Embarkation- Should have been very smooth, but, boat arrived late and everyone waited in line for an hour or more.
Rooms and Boat- We had 3 veranda rooms on the 8th floor. It did take a couple of calls to the info desk, but, the dividers were opened up and we had a huge balcony, very cool. Rooms were nice. Boat layout typical of the big Carnival boats, only really big (the footprint is much like the Triumph only somewhat bigger). The size can be overwhelming for the Seniors, but, our rooms were by the main elevators which made it easier.
The placement of the dining room is really weird in that it is kind of tucked away. Not a direct shot to the dining room.
Pools were nice, but, being Spring Break, crowded. Get out EARLY to get a chair on Days at Sea. Yes, people go out early with their flip flops and towels to save chairs.
The 12 year old found the big arcade. Kind of weird age for the boat, too old for Camp Carnival, but young for the teen programs. He made some friends with some other guys his age and had a great time.
Casino was nice, really smoky. Cool dance club. Piano bar was invaded by older boomer crowd, not sure how good the guy is, too much Carly Simon and Carole King, yikes.
Showroom was nice. The "Vegas" shows aren't our thing. Magic show was good, Late night comedy was good. Bingo is a scam.
The daily game shows are pretty funny, Hairy Chest Contest, Not so Newlywed games. Cruise Director Carlo was good.
Food in the dining room was great. Our awesome servers were Bahthani and Julia. We ate Breakfast in the buffet lines, grabbing something before hitting the pools. Go for the Omelette stations. Buffet lines got crazy long, buffet food ok. Grandpa enjoyed going to main dining for Breakfast.
Couple of the pool bartenders would help others first if they saw your soda card. Also, buy the drink of the day glass on day one. The drinks are called different things, but, usually taste the same but are pretty good.
Here's the tip...find the fish and chips. Towards the back buffet lines, there are steps going up to the fish and chips. Day 6 we had people asking where we got the fish and chips. They are awesome. Pizza was good too.
Book your excursions early. This boat is huge and the good excursions go quickly.
Bahamas- Been there, done that. Not a great stop. Some shops closed because of Sunday.
St. Thomas- Did a Megans Bay excursion that dropped you off for a couple of hours and then went to a high spot on the island. St. Thomas is beautiful. Megans Bay was spectacular. Made it back to shop. Went into town and didn't shop at pier at all. Spent some jewelry $$$.
St. Maarten- Excursion was full, so we took the water ferry across and wandered through the town. Very nice. People were friendly. Grandparents and kid didn't care about beach, so we grabbed a taxi for Orient Beach on the French side. It was approx $18 each way to Orient Beach. Beach is awesome. While part is clothing optional, most of beach area is normal beach with food and bars along the beach. Good shopping in town, but, no bargaining at the pier.
Arriving back was smooth, customs and getting off the ship was the simplest yet. We did NOT do the take your own luggage route that Carnival is now encouraging. We had too much and it wasn't necessary. Put it out the night before and pay a porter a few bucks to grab it for you. We moved out quickly and efficiently.
Got on a roll, sorry for the novel. Good trip, nice boat. We will cruise Carnival again.