This was my 4th cruise all have been with Carnival. I planned this trip based on a few things..like the week, price, and itinerary...here were 42 of us ranging in age from 8 to 76..We were supposed to go to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios but Hurricane Dennis altered our itinerary..we did go to Ocho Rios but also went to Freeport and Nassau.
We flew into Miami on Sat. and ended up meeting this cab driver who stuffed 13 of us in his van and took us to the hotel..he gave me his card and now there were 26 of us going from the hotel to the ship. He sent 2 vans to take us to the ship and then when we got back into port I called him and he took 19 of us to the airport... we stayed at the Clarion.. took the tram over to Bayside (3 stops) and ate at the Hard Rock and back to the hotel..
Sunday we got up and were at the port about 11...we were eating lunch on the lido deck by 12:30..Embarkation, other than waiting in the line was smooth and easy.. Debarkation was surprisingly easy....however, that might have had something to do with the fact that we were last to be called off the ship..I think next time I cruise I might wait to get off just because of that...
Food: As far as I'm concerned a buffet is a buffet..the food was good and they had a different variety everyday..I mostly ate a good breakfast, didn't eat lunch and then ate dinner..a few times I did have a lite snack during the day but only if it was something I really wanted to have (sushi being one of them) somewhere I read that Carnival recently changed their menus fleet wide..it was the same as the last cruise I went on 2 years ago..the only difference I saw this time was that the cuts of meat weren't as tender as the last time...we had the early seating (6:15) which I actually didn't mind and yes we did meet at the midnight buffet..I did try a piece of pizza one night and a hamburg another night but I'm not much for eating at midnight ...they were good,,,DH had a pastrami sandwich and he said it was really good.. The service was wonderful...again, we never ordered room service..a few in the group did and it was delivered promptly.
I love Sea days and was out by the pool by 8:30..pretty much didn't leave all day ...there were chairs available probably up until 10sh and I can't say I paid much attention to chair savers ..I never went into the pool or the jacuzzi however a few people in the group said the jacuzzi was much better in the spa...no kids..like the other ships the gym is good size (only exercising I did was lots of walking up and down stairs).
We planned to play shore excursions by ear and turns out we didn't do any of them with the ship..We ended up in Ocho Rios on Wed and just walked to the downtown area to the Straw Market..I'm not much for straw markets period ..the venders were the most aggressive that I've ever seen at those places but they don't bother me..I just smile and say no thank you..I'm not one for shopping anyway especially T shirts and souvenirs....we were back at the ship fairly early.
Because of the hurricane we spent Thurs at sea and Friday we went to Freeport..we grabbed a cab and went to a beach ...Sat we were in Nassau and walked the downtown area and then took my stepson over to see Atlantis.
It was pretty smooth sailing other than Wed night after we left Jamaica...a big bang woke many of us up during the night and I'm not sure exactly what it was but I had heard they were putting out the stabilizers? But I fell right back to sleep...it wasn't that rocky at all but there were bags located through out the ship for anyone that needed it..however, I never saw anyone that needed one.
Entertainment: we actually went to a few of the shows..they were pretty good..didn't see any of the comedians..,.there were enough places to go to either sit and relax in the piano bar or go dancing or go lose money in the casino..it's big enough however, don't plan on spending a lot of money there..I figured I'd see more winners towards the end of the week and I was right...I asked one of the guys what the odds were, who regulated the casinos on the ships...he was pretty defensive in his answer but it was probably because he didn't know..at first he said Vegas and that the odds were the same (ya right) then he said Corporate regulated it...I just didn't bother trying to get an answer out of him..never played bingo.
The staff on the ship were so great..the cabin was clean..the bed was very comfortable and we had a roll away cot...we had a balcony and since we chose our cabins next to each other we had the room steward open the doors between cabins which made the deck seem much bigger...I was glad I brought my hairdryer and conditioner.....in the shower they had shampoo and body wash ..no conditioner like I remembered on the Destiny and the oddest looking hairdryer I've ever seen..it reminded me of a vacuum hose although for most of the trip it turns out I didn't dry my hair. We didn't need anything to hold the shower curtain, didn't need a bungee cord to hold the door open and didn't need anything hanging over the door to hold things, didn't need an extension cord....
Overall I enjoyed the trip..I would go on another Carnival cruise however, once you've been on one you've been on them all..same layout just bigger as they get newer.