First let me start off by saying this was the best vacation I have ever had. We went with co-workers and was also all of our first cruise. We embarked from Tampa and the boarding went very smoothly. The only problem we had was that my husband kept setting the metal detector off we still have no clue why. They were very nice and after he was searched we were allowed to go on our way.
When we first stepped on the ship we were awestruck. This is a very beautiful ship. We had our first meal on the Lido deck and found that even though crowded we found somewhere to eat. It was very nice. We had a group of couples that was sitting next to us and told us that they had been on a lot of cruises and this was one of the best ships they had been on. The food was good, just had a hard time deciding on what I wanted to because of the variety.
After eating we went to find our rooms. When we got to our rooms it was much larger than I ever expected. We were put in a handicap room and this was a major plus because it had a huge balcony. My boss had a suite and our balcony was bigger than his!I also loved the down comforter. Our steward for the most part was ok but it could have been a little better. Some of times I needed something she was no where to be found and when I called the number it just rang and no one answered. The cabin was very clean. I do have her to thank for that.
Our dinner experience was wonderful. We could not have asked for any better. They remembered what each one at the table like and what everyone liked to drink. They even remembered down to the bread we liked(now talk about great service).This was one of the best experiences of the cruise.
We went to the spa once with the girls to have massages and let me tell you they were WONDERFUL!!! Needed to have done that more than once.
I did not go in the pools a lot but thought they were ok. They could have stood to be a little bigger I thought. I also do not like salt water pools.
I have seen a lot of reviews about how bad the children were on this ship but to be honest I never saw a child.
The entertainment was great as were the games. My boss got second place in the Fear Factor game. I did Karaoke two times, it was great. I can not remember the ladies name who was in charge of Karaoke but she was great.
I loved all of the ports except Belize. It was a very run down town and did not feel safe there. We had people coming up to us begging for money and even had one person to beg the port authorities to hold us there so that we would miss the boat. It would be a great place to go if you were just going to scuba. I liked Cozumel the best. We ate at a nice little place called Pancho's Backyard. We took a taxi into Cozumel outside of the port area and found some very great deals. The only problem I had with Carnival was that it took along time to get off the ship at each port. We did not take any of the excursions that Carnival offered because being our first cruise we did not know what to expect. We are leaving for a cruise on Carnival Destiny November 2005 and will be booking excursions.
Overall -- This was a very great ship with wonderful service. Would go again. Also if you are driving to Tampa it is worth the extra money to be valet parked and the porters were extra nice.