After reading some good and not so good reviews about this cruise I went into it with an open mind understanding that 3,500 people can't do everything at once. With that in mind I knew there would be lines and probably lines for lines. Our group had 2 adults age 46 & 44 and two 18 year old girls, our cabins were 6483 and 6481
Embarkation: We arrived at the port at 10:00, within 10 minutes had our sail & sign cards in hand, went through security screening about 30 minutes later and were on board at 12:10. Not to bad I thought, I had allowed 3 hrs for that so 2 hrs was good for me.
Ship: Ship was great, everything was clean and the crew were ready to start serving us. Once you understand that decks 5 & 9 run all the way through you start to navigate around easier. Decks chairs were never a problem, we did see a good amount of saving going on but if your not instant about being right on top of the pool there were always plenty of chairs to be found. We had the wrap around cabin ( 6483 ) and loved the huge balcony. anyone wishing pictures let me know and I'll be glad to send you some. To me it was well worth it. We asked the room steward to open up the divider between our balconies making one big ole balcony to enjoy.
Shows: Shows were great, we went to everyone except the last one, the "Idol" show. My daughter went though and said that it was pretty good. The cruise director was Josh and he did a good job, he kept everyone informed and amused. We had early seating for diner so we made the 8:30 show, here's where chair saving got to me. I found that a lot of parents were sending their kids to the theater and having them save entire rows of seats as early as 7:15.
Excursions: Belize, we did the cave tubing through Reggies Tours, cost going through Carnival was $95.00, we paid $45.00 Reggie picked us up at the dock and dropped us back well in time to get back on board. We had about 18 people in our party compared to Carnival's 481, we also got to go through 2 more caves than Carnival. Isla Roatan: We went with the horse back riding and Tabayan Beach break through Carnival, cost was $84.00 per person but well worth every cent. Without a doubt the highlight of the trip. I can't say enough about the scenery you'll see on this excursion. Tabayana beach is also magnificent.
Grand Cayman: I went on line and through Soto's Cruises to do this. They also picked us up in an air conditioned van and took us to their dock and brought us back. They also provided fresh water and punch and the boat had a restroom if needed. Soto's charged us $30 per person and we spent time at Stingray City and also snorkeled over the reef. Carnivals price was $47.00 for just Stingray City.
Cozumel: We did Playa Mia beach, I booked this through Shoretrips.com for a price of $41.00. This included all the drinks we could stand ( Alcoholic and non) buffet dinner, snorkeling gear beach chairs, mats, ice berg & water trampoline, zoo visit and some other small detail stuff. The beach was great, water was clear and beautiful. It was nice to be able to walk up and get a drink and walk back to our chairs. You could walk down the beach and enjoy other smaller huts selling beer and food or just take in the scenery. Our cab cost $14.00 which we got once we left the ship around 11:15. Carnivals tour like this didn't leave until 1:00 and didn't get back till 6:00 and their cost was $75.00. We liked the idea of being able come and go as we pleased and not having to wait till 6:00 to leave.
Debarkation: What can I say.... long. We went to Eagles lounge and waited until 11:00 thinking that most of the people had left by then. Wrong.... still more than half the ship were on board so we got in line and waited until just about 12:30 before we were off. Knowing that by this time last week we were already on board with a drink in our hands made us feel bad for those waiting to board. I can't imagine what time they were finally able to let them on. All in all a great trip and would love to go again. If anyone has any questions please e-mail me and I'll be glad to answer anything I can.