This was my first cruise and for a minute I was thinking that it would be my last cruise also. I should had left my carry-on bag with my other luggage because of the long lines. But one thing that I can say is that they are fast!
Let me start with my flight: I caught a 7:30 flight from D.C., (against EVERYONE's judgement...folks said I was going to miss the boat..>HA!) got to Miami around 10:00amish, baggage check was a breeze (luggage was going around when I got to baggage claim), off to the waiting motorcoach, arrived at port about 11:15am, was checked in sign and sail card in hand, drink in other hand and carry-on bags in room by noonish!!!! But I still had to wait for the rest of my party (16 in total), they didn't get on the ship until 2:00pm and they was in Miami a day earlier than me...HA HA!!
OK...Sunday and Monday the shipped rocked and swayed so much that EVERYONE looked drunk because everyone was stumbling from side to side and the night was even worse (I almost rolled out my bed). Dramamine(sp?) did NOT work, the Captain nor anyone from the staff made an announcement about the rough seas, the staff kept saying "the ship is not rocking, you just had too much to drink"...ok being a first time cruiser I did not think that was funny at all!!!
The room stewards are very good, they clean your room in record time and will even fold your clothes that are lying around. Our steward learn and knew everyone's name on our floor. Always had clean towels and freshly made bed. If you wasn't feeling well they went out of their way to get you medicine and make you feel better.
The ship was VERY COLD, I don't know if all cruise ships are cold but I had to keep my jacket with me at all times.
The taste of the food was good most of the time but it didn't stay with me long...let's just say that me and the commode had a close relationship. The dining staff were very informative about the different foods on the menu and they were very entertaining. One night a member from group asked the maitre d' if they had fried chicken and he said that they don't serve the fried chicken in the formal dining room but he will see what he could do...OK, I am thinking he is just saying that because it's his job...WELL low and behold the night after the next night the waiter brought out 2 trays of fried chicken for our tables!!! Desmond is the BOMB! and got a very generous tip from us!!!!
The cheeseburgers and hot dogs were soooo good, the pizza was ok, the alcoholic drinks were on point! The nightclub was OK most nights, the DJ's played a variety of music to please everyone. The casino was very nice, small but nice...similar to Atlantic City, not Las Vegas at all. I liked all the lounges, they were very comfortable and ideally located throughout the ship.
PORTS of CALL: Carnival needs to change the arrival times for Puerto Rico to the day time because you can not see anything at night. Puerto Rico is a beautiful place with a lot of history and you miss all of that in the dark. But there are no words to describe the beauty of pulling into the port!
St. Thomas is a beautiful island, I loved the hills and mountains...breathtaking views.
St. Maarten is the most beautiful of the ports and the people are more friendlier there also. You can also find less expensive items there. I will be visiting there again!
We did not utilize the shore excursions on board the ship, we just grabbed a driver from outside the ship and did tours around all the ports and we only paid a fraction of the cost.
Even though I had a good time on this cruise, there was not a lot to do, either you ate, went to the casino, played Bingo, listen to shore excursion info, or sat on the Lido deck. The ship seem to focus on JEWELRY, everyday in the carnival capers was something about JEWELRY...how to buy it, where to buy it, what to buy. and the other was ART! Having traveled to many resorts I was expecting the cruise to exceed what the all inclusive resorts does. Compared to the overall cost of this cruise with the price of just flying to an island...flying to an island is a better value in my book. Will I cruise again...YES because they say that if you fall off a horse just get back up and ride again that's the only way to learn how to ride!