Let start at the airport...
As soon as we got off the plane we (myself, husband and daughters 14 & 12) were greeted by Carnival and directed to baggage claim. We were met at the baggage claim by someone with a sign, however, they weren't really holding the sign up so many of us didn't know where to go. We saw several people in a group and found out what was going on. The Carnival rep seemed to keep wandering. Not sure what happened there. The walk with your luggage to the bus is a little ways. If you have a lot of luggage and think you can carry it for a short distance..don't...get a luggage cart or porter. They are plentiful.
Embarkation: Horrible experience. We waited 2 hours in line to get checked in. The building was air conditioned but it was still quite warm and when we first got in line it was outside of the building and down the sidewalk. A very long line that wrapped around and around! Finally, I was next in line! When I got to the desk, my 12 year old daughter passed out behind me. Carnival was very helpful, called an
ambulance but we declined, they took her in a small cold office and had someone at a closed line assist me. But wait...then we had to go upstairs and stand in another line to get our S&S cards! Another 30 minutes! I will never do that again!
Food & Beverage: I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food. It was much better than I expected from the grills, the lunch buffet, to the dining room. Feel free to send anything back in the dining room or get multiple entrees, desserts or appetizers. The wait staff if very helpful and friendly and listen to their suggestions! They usually know what they are talking about! Bar drinks were great and reasonably priced. Drink away! Little staff poolside for drinks on port days so that was inconvenient.
Entertainment: Go for the comedians. We thought they were all the best. Nice variety available. Lots for bars, casino is big and well equipped. There really is something for everyone.
Excursions: We were affected by Hurricane Dennis so I will only review Ocho Rios. We signed up for the Dolphin Swim and Dunn's River Falls. Both a must do! I don't even swim and Dolphin Cove set me up with a life jacket (actually, everyone had a lifejacket)and the staff in the water pull you around but my husband volunteered to do that duty. To be kissed on the cheek by a dolphin is really a once in a lifetime experience! Dunn's River was a blast! I totally enjoyed climbing the falls but wasn't as easy as I thought. It takes a little work. I wouldn't really recommend it for smaller children because they have a hard time with some of the reaching and force of some water.
Staff: Wonderful staff. They were the best part! Bartenders could use a little more personality but overall the staff is terrific!
Spa: Overpriced but staff was friendly. I hated that they pushed the products so hard! They even pushed my 12 year old on $100+ facial products. It's a good thing I prompted her ahead of time not to buy anything! That kind of annoyed me! I got the Aromostone massage and was pleased.
Debarkation: We did the self-assist because we had an early flight...head directly for the stairs! The elevators don't seem to come! We were on Deck 8 and carried our bags to Deck 3 BUT...you will be stuck in line beginning on Deck 5. It's hard when you are on the steps with bags and can't make it to the landing. I would recommend letting them carry off my bags off although I'm not sure what that was like. Customs was a breeze, just have your paperwork ready.
Overall, the staff was great and food, too but there was a lot of disorganization getting on and off. They need to work on better methods! It really affected my thoughts about the cruise as a whole. I'm a patient person and will willingly stand in lines but this was too much!