Went on this cruise on 6/23-7/1. This was actually my husbands birthday gift for me. So, to give you a quick rundown of our experience:
-the check-in process(for obvious reasons, with over 2000 passengers) one can expect very long lines, but overall it was done as well as it should.
-Guys burger joint, AWESOME! Burgers were made fresh and you can put all kinds of toppings on your burger. It was simply delicious!. This is probably the only thing that sets carnival apart from other cruise lines. Needless to say, husband and son ate there almost everyday; preferring this over the formal dining and casual buffet. Definitely will miss this part of the cruise.
-Cabin room was good. Could have been larger, but I supposed they had to make it up for the balcony space. Overall, the room was good enough for three persons and it was always kept nice and clean by our room attendant (very friendly/nice young man from the Philippines. Bathroom was clean as well (well stocked with towels & toiletries) and most of all the beds were very comfortable.
-St Thomas never disappoints. Its by far our fave island. This is probably our 5th times visiting this port of call and it's always as gorgeous as a postcard.
-The 3 other ports of call were not impressive at all, especially Puerto Rico. It makes me wonder why the cruise lines even bother stopping at this port when there's absolutely nothing else to do, unless of course you sign up for one those expensive tours. So basically if you don't sign up for the tours you're kinda screwed. When you first arrive at this port which is 9am, the town is still close and pretty much the city is still starting to wake up, so since there's nothing else to do (except shop at CVS) all you're left to do is just walk around aimlessly. Unfortunately, this was our 2nd time in this port of call, so we decided to venture outside the city and took a 20 minute cab ride to the nearest beach. The closest beach area that we found was the one behind the Ritz Carlton's property. The cab ride only cost $10 (one way), but I honestly didn't think it was worth the trip. The beach was not clear nor clean. After an hour of this beach experience we had enough and headed back to the ship. Grand Turk was a disappointment. Basically the ship docks in front of their cruise center and you have to hustle your way around the crowded beach front for space, and once you're there you had to swim around literally hundreds of cruisers (like fishes in a fish tank feeling). Although the water itself was clear, you literally have to walk carefully in the water among large corals - not only does it hurt when you step on them, there's also a probability that you could slip or get cut. Anyway, we made the best of that experience and ended up also purchasing a couple of alcoholic beverages from the cruise center - so, I guess that was the best part of that experience.
-COMEDY CLUB- the only good form of entertainment on the cruise. Happy Cole was great, very funny. The BAD: the club was super packed and we had to vacate it for the next show/comedian and then wait in line again to get in. I wonder why wouldn't they just move it to the main hall so that everyone can sit and not hustle their way in. It was at times really ridiculous. There was even an altercation due to people becoming annoyed that other people are stealing their seats. It was literally like playing the music chair.
-Deli. Lots of choices and sandwiches were delicious. Also, the guys working in the deli were the friendliest of all the dining facilities on the cruise.
-Formal dining, (Silver dining room)horrible experience. As much as we disliked dressing up , we gave in and decided to give it a try. It wasn't until the 2nd night that we mustered the courage to get dressed for dinner. Upon arriving at the dining hall, there we no servers/hostess to seat us, so we ended up walking around the dining room to locate our designated table. After making a couple of laps around the dining room (which by the way nobody cared to ask if we needed help), we finally asked one of the servers to help us find our table. Throughout that evening, our servers didn't really interacted with us - although we noticed that he was enjoying the other tables. Needless to say, that was the last formal dining experience for us. Overall, our dinner was horrible. Additionally, the tasteless food, the small pieces of meat and just overall the lack of choices on the menu certainly was the deal breaker.
-MISSING MIDNIGHT BUFFET???? Even though it was on the schedule, it never happened. Did the midnight cook(s) overslept?
-Casual buffet. Not a lot of food choices nor variety. It's like eating in a cafeteria. Although, the desserts were not bad.
-Mongolian Wok - could never get to it because there's always a very long line.
-Pizza. Blah. If you've had totinos from your local grocery store, yep, that's pretty much what it takes like.
-Taco shop - disappointing. Taco bell taste so much better than this so called Mexican food.
-Dancers/Main entertainment - disappointing. Very "karaoke" type of singing and the dancing/show is outdated especially their outfits.
-Despite the mediocre experience on this cruise, we will probably cruise with carnival again. To their defense, we've had great experiences with their other ships. However, if choosing another cruise line for future vacations, we will probably choose Norwegian FIRST.