We live in the Atlanta, GA area so we drove down. We drove in on Friday and spent the night at the Hampton Inn in Cocoa Beach. It is a nice hotel and they arrange shuttle and provide continental breakfast.
Saturday morning we caught a shuttle and were to the port at approximately 11:45 a.m. As is normal with embarkation there was a long snaking line to check in, another to get your room key, and yet another to board the ship. They took the photo for your sign and sail card and you entered the ship. We arrived at our room at approximately 1:15. When we got to our room our key did not work in the door. We found out that the entire 7th floor was having key problems. We called for help and were told they would be up in about 15 minutes. Well, after an hour wait (and several more phone calls) we found that our key would fit our neighbors door and theirs would fit our door. We entered the room just about the time they came by to correct the problem. Apparently several floors of the ship had this problem and it was a real mess. But, they did get it fixed and we had no further problems with this during the cruise. We had a great lunch and settled in. We did not attend the 'Welcome Aboard' show but, our traveling companions did and said it was great.
Sunday was our first port - Key West. We did not book an excursion and just walked around the town and did some shopping. Our friends booked a Conch Train tour and enjoyed it. It was about $6.00 cheaper to get your ticket in town instead of getting it on ship.
Monday was a sea day and we really enjoyed the relaxation. This was our first formal night and was the Captains Cocktail Party. The party was split between four different lounges so we did not even attempt to attend. Dinner was delicious.
Tuesday was our 2nd port - Belize. We had booked cave tubing directly with Wet 'N Wild. This is a tender port and the ship was totally disorganized. First off was the people who had booked their excursions through Carnival. We were on tender #1. They called our number but, when we got to the stairs we found that the ship tour people were still leaving the ship. Then they called for tender #2. Needless to say everyone got mixed in with everyone else and it was a real mess. I have left a review for Wet 'N Wild in the Belize section of the boards. It was great and we still had time to shop. I love shopping in Belize because they have locally made items. Just the type of thing I like to bring home.
Wednesday was our 3rd port - Cozumel. We had booked massages with Sally at Barefoot in Cozumel. I have left this review in the Cozumel section of the boards. We loved the massages and it was a short walk from there to town. We shopped around and found some good prices.
Thursday was our final port - Progresso. We did not book an excursion at this port. We just took a taxi into town (they do offer free shuttle but, had not started it when we left the ship) and they dropped us at a flea market. We enjoyed this area and prices were real good. At the flea market they offered 20 minute bus tours of town for $2.00 each so, we decided to try it out. It was not a bad tour and saved us a lot of walking. Well worth the $2.00 each. We then returned to the port area and did more shopping there. The only problem I had was that I travel with very little cash and no one was set up to take my VISA card. So, be aware you will need cash in this port. This was also our 2nd formal night and again a wonderful dinner.
Friday was a sea day and once again we just relaxed. We had extremely strong storms Friday night and the sea was rougher than we have ever experienced in any of our 9 cruises. At least we did not have the wave that hit the Norwegian ship.
Debarkation was the usual unorganized nightmare. You had to be out of your room by 9:00 and wait in one of the lounges. As usual people were all over the halls and the stairs instead of waiting in the lounge. People you make it harder on everyone when you do this. Just wait in the lounges and it won't slow you down more than 5 more minutes. We got off the ship around 11:30 a.m.
Overall it was a great trip. I don't think the food was quite as good as usual. What we had was good but, they have changed the menus and I don't think it is for the good. The shows were wonderful and John Heard is hysterically funny. I think the ship's photography was better than we had experienced on previous cruises.
We just can't wait for our next Carnival cruise !!!