I have been on a few different cruises out of Port Canaveral as well as Miami. The embarkation process for this cruise was not well organized.
We arrived around 11:30 and the first thing I noticed is that there were a lot of people disembarking from the ship. We entered the building and we were about 10th in line to board the ship, not counting the VIP cruisers who were allowed to go into their special waiting area. We waited until close to 1:30 before we could proceed. This was a long time but I understand that there were delays with the ship's arrival and things happen. What was real sad is that, while I was inside in the AC, there were a LOT of people outside in a super long line in the Miami heat. Several of these people had children and seniors with them. I am not sure what Carnival could do about it.....maybe at the very least go offer people water.
I am happy to say though....other than that start. It was a great cruise with really about the best More
weather you could ask for.
I always find it interesting that two different people can go on the same cruise and one can love it and another hates it.
I am one who goes on the cruise expecting to have fun and be able to relax. This cruise provided plenty of both.
Everyone on the crew was very professional and very nice. I took the time to greet most of the crew that I cam in contact with and if I spend any time at all with them, I would ask about their day and how they were doing. I see so many people treat the crew like they were less than human because they don't all speak English as their first language. Almost every one of these crew members goes out of their way to make your vacation a good one. Keep in mind that they do this while working just about every day without a day off.
The ship itself was very clean and it constantly being maintained.
There is a wide variety of food choices and I really liked Guy's burgers and the taco/burrito bar. I am not sure why Guy's stays open until 6pm every day but the taco bar closes at 2:30. They should be more in sync.
We had early dining and had the same great server's every day. They were very attentive and made the dinner's special. Was the food 5 star? No,but really, if that is what you are looking for in a cruise, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. The food was good and some things are better than others. Try things, it is all included in the price and they are happy to bring you whatever you want on the menu.
The comedy shows were a bit hit, especially Happy Cole. If you get a chance to see him on a Carnival Cruise....do not miss him.
The director, Karl with K, and his staff did a decent enough job. There are better cruise directors out there and there are worse. If this had been my first cruise I would have thought he was great. (But I have seen a couple of outstanding ones).
If you just attend events and shows looking to have fun, then you will. If you attend events and shows looking to criticize, then you will find plenty to be unhappy with. Carnival can't please everyone, but they do a good job pleasing most!
Disembarkation was smooth for me and I was able to get off the ship early. The port of Miami is a mess though. Under construction and we had to take a bus to the parking area because the ship was docked way too far away when it returned to port.
I would cruise Carnival again....I would just avoid the port of Miami if I could. Less
My cabin ended up being a Handicap cabin. There was a huge bathroom and that was very nice. I think the trade off was that we were missing a cocktail table and a maybe a couch or chair. I would take the large bathroom anytime over a cocktail table.
This was one of the best stops for me. We had a snorkel tour that we setup independently and there were only 2 other couples with us. We were taken to two different snorkel sites. We saw some nurse sharks on the reef that were very friendly and our guide swam down to the bottom and was petting them to put everyone at ease. The second stop was on the Grand Turk wall which was beautiful and there were several fish to see.
After that we returned to the beach and visted a bar called Jack's Place and had a couple of beers and some of the best jerk chicken that I have ever had.
After this stop we walked on the beach to Margaritaville's pool and swam up to the bar until it was time to reboard the ship. Beers were more expensive here than they were on the ship. If you can believe that.
One of the most beautiful beaches that I have ever been on. The weather was great and the water was blue. The sand felt like I was walking on baby powder at times.
There are a few bars that are staffed by the Carnival crew from the ship.
The bars on the beach need to play the same music at the same time. There are a couple of the bars on the beach are close together enough that all you here is noise when sitting between them because they are both playing different music loudly. I say...play it loud if you want.....just play it from the same feed at both bars. If you can't do that, then you have to play it quieter at each bar.
San Juan is full of history and we took a visit to the fort. If you are interested in history that is a great place to visit. There is some shopping in San Juan and a few local bars worth checking out. If you want to just stay with tourists there is a Senor Frogs close to the port. Most of the other stops are beach and water related so this stop didn't really seem to fit the itinerary for me.
Went on a Half Day Sail and Snorkel with the Turtles that we booked through shoreexcursionsgroup.com The crew was awesome and they ensured that we had a good time and they tried to avoid the other big excursions that were in the area so that we could have smaller crowds in the water.