5 Travelers me, hubby, 12 yr old son and 19 yrs old daughter and daughters BFF (at this time) also 19yrs old. 1st time cruisers we took the auto train so we could visit Disney after our return. Stayed at Residence Inn on Astronaut Blvd with the park and cruise package. Got to the ship by 10:30 am and was on board by 11:30am. The embarkment was amazingly easy. Was were sent straight to the 10th deck to eat. I checked my luggage but I chose to utilize the 12 20oz per person beverage policy, so I had 60 bottles of soda/water/juice but I had a collapsible crate on wheels with a handle so it was no problem. ( I got lots of inquiries about that crate. staple,office maxx etc type of store).
The ROOMS were ready by 1:30 pm. 2 adjoining balcony rooms 9220 and 9216. Great locations, I originally wanted mid ship but they didn't have anymore adjoining rooms on the 9th deck. Please don't let anyone talk you out of getting a balcony. IT WAS AWESOME. The kids loved having a balcony and both were used everyday. I was originally worried about smokers but I only smelt cigarettes once.
The FOOD was good, not great, not bad. My family doesn't eat Beef or Pork and they ALWAYS found something to eat. The pasta bar was great and my hubby LOVED the Mongolian food. The kids loved the pizza and deli. The girls loved the fresh fruit and french fries from the grill. Unfortunately if I had to complain it would be that they didn't offer turkey burgers and the ice cream wasn't great. And the lines were never horrible. The sit down dining was a little slow but hey, I choose early 6 pm seating and really didn't have anywhere to go.
SEA days were crowded. Yes, you have to get up early to find a lounger near the pool but it was possible to find a lounger elsewhere. PLEASE NOTE: if you want to save seats I suggest you bring your own towels, because if people complained enough the carnival staff would move carnival towels but I heard them tell several people they couldn't move personal towels. Glad I brought personal beach towels. Also bring clips to secure your towel to the chair.
Special thanks to our cabin staff Dewa and Grace, we had 2 girls who would party all night then sleep in (just a little because of course on port days they had to hit the bars to utilize that 18 yr old drinking law we don't have in the states) lol. Anyway, the girls would always leave such a mess in their room that instead on a towel animal, Dewa took all the excess clothes the girls left laying around and made a full size towel person. It was hilarious and scared them when they returned to the room. Also, my family is African American and my daughters BFF is white and I told one person the girls were twins and it set off inquires,they acted like they believed me.lol
CAMP Carnival was LOVED LOVED LOVED by my 12yr old son. But then again he is the mayor of his school and can get along with anyone.
FUN FORCE dance group was amazing!
ROOM SERVICE was used by the kids a lot they enjoyed it and I did make sure the tipped.
TIPs, please remember that the standard 80.50 is nothing when broken down and distributed amongst the workers. So if you feel they deserve it, give a little extra. Dewa got an extra $100.00 and his assistant Grace got $50.00 and of course our wait staff got extra and they were very appreciative. Those workers work hard and everyone always had a smile on their faces and addressed us by name everyday. I am a strong believer in rewarding exceptional service. My daughter is a F/T student and waitress and I always tell her "be great at what you choose to do"
Overall great 1st cruise and already planning next years on Carnival!