We chose this cruise for the itinerary Exotic Western Caribbean including Panama Canal, Costa Rica and Belize. There were two formal nights Monday and Friday. The shows were less than desirable. The two best nights for entertainment were the guest talent show and the final night of the cruise.
We were very disappointed in the fact that the majority of the cruisers were over the age of 70. Very very few under the age of 50, my husband and I are in our late 30s. I was in a group of 21 and thank goodness that there were a few others in the group who stayed up past 9 pm. There was no one around after midnight.
One of the activities they offered was arts and crafts - the class was full. There are almost 3 sea days before a port and you are ready to get off the ship. Unfortunately, we booked the 175 per person transit of the Panama Canal. The excursion was from the time we arrived in Panama until the ship left. They were late in getting started so there was no time to look in any of the stores across from the port. Honestly, I don't think we missed much. The sad fact is the excursion is way overpriced. The boat is old, the heat is terrible - must have been 95 - we sat on the boat waiting for clearance to go through the locks. Should have chosen the Gatun Locks excursion instead.
In Costa Rica - we did the coffee plantation tour. This tour was fantastic. The bad thing is again, that it is two hours by bus to get anywhere and no time to shop for anything. We literally had 15 minutes to purchase a few things before we got back onto the ship. The time is very very short in each port.
The final destination was Belize. We did the Goff's Caye snorkel. This was fantastic, well worth the money. The guys that are on this tour - make sure you have a good time. There were a few people not comfortable with going out to the reef and they took them out individually. They were really great. I would highly recommend this one.
On to the ship itself, it rocked and rocked and rocked. The ship is terrible - the last day was so rough that they had barf bags at each elevator. So many people were sick.
The buffet is absolutely terrible. The way it is laid out is very inconvenient. It is in stations, one serves a few things and the next another thing but by the time you find the stuff - everything else on your plate is cold. There is no bar in the buffet. If you want a drink - get it yourself and bring any type of cocktail with you. There was no variety - the same thing for breakfast - every single day.
The dining room food left a lot to be desired. The meat was tough and chewy. The grill with burgers and fries was great.
The rooms are quite comfortable and the staff is very friendly. However, I would probably not sail Carnival again.
I was very spoiled with Royal Caribbean. The activities weren't all group oriented. No trivia on Carnival, just game show type things. Only two gym classes were held - one in the morning and one in the afternoon. They only had 10 treadmills and 4 ellipticals. Each time I went to the gym I had to wait. My suggestion is to wait until the afternoon or go after 9 am. With so many sea days - if there is bad weather - there isn't much else to do.
A few great things - the PIZZA - it is so very good. The Golden Fleece supper club. It is worth every penny. The food in every way shape and form was 5 star. The room service was prompt and right every time. The sushi from 5 - 8 pm every day was great - the bad thing is that dinner is at 5:45 pm.
The ship is very well maintained and they are cleaning all the time. The dinner seating times are 5:45 and 8:15. On this particular cruise - the 5:45 seating was the one everyone wanted. Given that all the excursions ended by 3 pm - you were always assured that you would get to dinner on time.
Overall, it was a cruise - we were on vacation away from work with no cooking and cleaning so it was a good thing.