We(my boyfriend & I, mom & dad, brother & sister-in-law, 5 nieces & nephews) flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before & stayed @ Intercontinental Miami. The hotel was really nice and only a walk away from Bay side Market where you'll find a lot of restaurants on the water as well as fast food, coffee and shopping. They also do a free yoga class at the little park next door on Saturday mornings. There is a Walgreens and CVS across the street where you can grab anything you forgot and some waters, sodas & wine. You're allowed 6 or 12 sodas/juice/water per person plus 1 bottle of wine per person, but all of this must be carried on with you and not checked.
We took a taxi to the port around 12:30 and were in our room by 1:30. Guy Fieri's burger joint & the Blue Iguana were open for lunch. I think everything else was open, too. We really liked the burgers and burritos(breakfast & lunch). There are so many dining options with the 2.0 upgrade. You have dining room options for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Guy's burgers and fries, burritos or tacos, Mongolian wok, fish and chips, deli, & of course the buffet. Pizza is served 24 hours a day and was different than I remember. It had a really thin crust which I like, but not enough sauce so I would just order extra on the side. I was disappointed the the sushi was on the buffet now and replaced with a taste bar. I always enjoyed having sushi around the casino and listening to the band before dinner. If all of that isn't enough, you can order room service all day! One of my favorites on carnival is the chocolate melting cakes in the dining room for dinner! We didn't try the steakhouse, but heard it was great. We would like to try the wine pairing or chef's table next time, too. All of these range from around $30 a person to $95 per person??
Our cruise director was Karl with a K. He and Steve were a good match. We had Karl on our last cruise and enjoyed him more this time.
We enjoyed the casino, bingo, the fitness center and the comedians. We went to the night club one night, but never made it to the Alchemy Bar, it looked very nice with a great menu. We went to the party for guests gold or higher and it was really nice. In the past we were able to order whatever we wanted, but not this time. There were still many options to choose from. Serenity deck is very nice to get away from the DJ and kids. We traveled with my 5 nieces and nephews that really enjoyed Camp Carnival. We only caught the legends show this time and it was pretty good.
We were very disappointed when we were told we weren't able to make it to St. Thomas because of engine trouble and had to spend an evening and the next day in San Juan. This was out of anyones control, but still disappointing. St. Thomas was the main reason why we booked this cruise. We had a private catamaran booked with Simplicity Charters sailing to St. John. We were given a $50 credit per person.
All in all, we had a great vacation. There was something to do for everyone and we all kind of did our own thing during the day and met up for dinner each night. The ship is very nice and clean. Very easy to get around the ship. We were unsure about staying on the 1st floor, but would definitely do it again for the $$. We've stayed on deck 2 and balcony rooms and was just as happy on deck 1.