Started out in Costa Maya as no Carnival ships go to Cozumel these days (and we were told for the next year as well.) People were right...don't go farther than the pier. We went into "town" which is more like a developing village. Shacks and tents set up for nothing but cheap sales of things. I went into what was directed to me as a "pharmacy" that was dimly lit and dirty and walked back out. Just enjoy the day as a day on the beach.
Cayman Islands was the next stop. Great! Didn't use Carnival at all for any of our shore excursions. In the Caymans, we used Native Watersports to do a tour of the turtle farm, Governor's mansion (just the outside along the road), the rum "factory" (which is just a building where you can buy rum and rum cakes), "Hell" (which is a backyard full of black limestone where you can send postcards back home from "hell". They also took us to a boat where we went to see the stingrays. All for $45 (as opposed to Carnival's $62 fee as I remember.) Great experience.
In Ocho Rios we used Pete Taylor. Again, another super experience. I'd highly recommend either company. Don't do the cruise line prices. They just aren't worth it. Pete Taylor took us to Dunn River Falls...an experience of a lifetime...hiking up the MIDDLE of the falls...630 feet! THIS IS A MUST-DO IN OCHO RIOS!!!! They also took us on a tour of Fern Gully (the "rainforest"). We got to see spiders the size of your hand....stretched from tip to tip. We also stopped to take pictures of whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. He also stopped at one of the local yocal selling booths so we could taste fresh coconuts. Then dropped us off for shopping. Total price was $35 and they took care of the cost of Dunn River Falls. Bring your own water shoes or pay $15 to buy or $6 to rent some. You MUST have shoes with backs or they won't let you go on the falls.
Cruise line info. We were pleasantly surprised with the size of our room. It was nicely placed as well by the elevator on the second deck. Room was kept clean both day and night. Food was spectacular. Check in was about 45 minutes. Check out was much easier. Dancers were unprecedented. ALL shows were flawless and VERY professionally done. My hats off to the choreographer!
My only complaint is that every time you turn around they have their hands out for more money. Had a massage for $109 and they wanted to sell me over $200 worth of other body care items. Be careful about the drink costs, too, as they add in their own 15% gratuity automatically. They will let you get by with taking a few of your own drinks packed modestly in suitcases. Prices onboard ship for sodas are outrageous and if they see you trying to bring one onboard ship, they don't let you come aboard with it. Price of a liter of water onboard was $3.50. Least expensive wine was $24 a bottle. Bingo is a minimum $10 per game ($20 for 3 cards per game).
Listen carefully to Hollywood as he tells you where and when the drawings are for free items. I signed up, but never heard who won the drawings and one that we collected tickets for onshore, he told us to bring back to the ship....I was there when he told us, he wasn't....so I'm guessing the drawing never happened.
Overall, it was a WONDERFUL experience. I'd highly recommend this cruise ship any day! Feel free to email me with questions at email@example.com.