Embarkation was a breeze. Up at 2:30 am for a 5:30 am flight from Maine. Three hour layover in NY, and arrival in Orlando at 1:00 pm. After a leisurely bus ride to Port Canaveral, we sailed through the check in procedure and were in our cabin by 3:00 pm. This was the first of three cruises where we ate and got a "special" before the muster drill. All in all a very long day, but as the commercial says...."we were too excited to sleep!"
Our cabin, 6372, was selected by me for its close proximity to the stairs and also one flight up from the Creams coffee bar. We were also directly over the disco, which was loud on the first night and last night, but quieted down by midnight. No issue for a night owl. The cabin was perfect. Very comfy bed, plenty of room to let the suitcases explode, and of course the balcony. I found this cabin very convenient to all of our favorite parts of the ship. Directly three floors below the Red Sail, and one floor above the "party" floor. After all the eating, maybe I should have picked a spot all the way forward for exercise. Also, if you go all the way forward on deck 6 there is a small deck with 5 chairs or so. Our own private, quiet sun porch.
The service was excellent. My brief encounters with our steward consisted of a smiling hello in the hallway. He and his partner did an amazing job. The room was always picked up as soon as we left it. The ice bucket always full. The bathroom always clean. We made it easy on him though. See exploding suitcase comment above. The bar service was prompt and courteous. The quality of beverages served were all excellent, both in style and substance. We were very pleased with the service. Very professional, and we got smiles most of the time. Not an easy task considering the amount of work those folks do.
The food was delicious. I took the opportunity to try foods I don't normally come in contact with. I was not disappointed. The cold salmon appetizer was very good. As were all of the apps we tried. The seafood fricassee was yummy. The entree's we had were all top notch. I especially enjoyed the prime rib, veal, lobster tail, and quail. We did not frequent the Red Sail that often. We ate mostly fruit, danish, eggs, and bacon for breakfast. Lunched usually consisted of salads, of which there were many fresh, tasty options. We also tried the deli (awesome reuben), and the Oriental feed (chicken and spring rolls), both were excellent. We typically went at non rush hour times, so our wait time was minimal if nonexistent. We missed the chocolate buffet (I misunderstood the end time) but, a piece of black forest cake from Creams appeased us both. We were never hungry, and never disappointed. Our dining companions were great. We had much in common. Our wait staff, Andrea and Rosa were excellent! They did an amazing job. And Miroslav was always there with the wine. We enjoyed one night in the Emerald club. It was quite empty ( late port day in St. Thomas). We were treated like kings. The service was excellent. From the breads, to apps, to entree (surf and turf), to the desserts. we were amazed at how good it was.
The entertainment was good at times. We especially enjoyed Az Izz. They played a great mix, and were very talented, both in musicianship and stage presence. The "Rock Down Broadway" show was pretty good. The set changes were amazing. The singing was decent, and the band was awesome. We didn't spend much time in the piano bar or at the casino one man show. They didn't do it for us. The one comedian we saw was funny. We missed the oldies show and the illusionist. I guess we got kinda spoiled with Ed Rocks in the piano bar on the Valor last year. The rest of our entertainment included amusing ourselves and some casino time. The slots were very loose. I hit and should have been up for the cruise had I not gotten stupid and greedy. I had fun in there though.
The ports were all beautiful. We did not book any tours with Carnival. With limited time in Nassau, we went to the Straw Market, walked to Gov't Square, hit Starbucks, and had a cold Caribe' at Senor Frogs. It was very nice.
In St. Maarten we took a cab to Orient Beach. It is a gorgeous beach. Even with the folks with no clothes who really needed them. Back at the port we took the water taxi to Phillipsburg for shopping and food. The crappy chicken nuggets at Black Pearl were made up for with a cold Heineken, and spectacular view.
St. Thomas was a perfect day. The two hour wait to disembark was shortened when a Carnival employee noticed my fiance's wedding dress. For those of you who let us pass you in line, a sincere thanks! We made it to our coordinator with time to spare. Cheryl Toner from Wedding, Set, Go picked us up at the ship and drove us to the courthouse. Our paperwork had been submitted by Cheryl beforehand and it was a quick stop to get the marriage license. We then went to Bluebeard's Beach where Cheryl performed a lovely ceremony in the sand. Katie did an excellent job with the pics, and the flowers were still fresh and smelled great 4 days later. It sucked to leave them. Cheryl did an excellent job! She exceeded our expectations. She made it perfect!
After changing on the ship we went back out to Paradise Point. The view is breathtaking. No photos can capture it. I did try though. The food at the Point was pretty good. Decent wings and fingers. The Red Stripes were ice cold. We made it back to the ship in time to dress for an 8:30 Emerald Room reservation. Once again, a perfect day.
We brought two bottles of wine and a liter of Stoli's. We were surprised to find 2 bottles of champagne in our cabin from friends. No one questioned the wine or vodka.
Debarkation was fine. We were called approximately after half the ship was gone. We were off the ship at 10:00, and at the airport at 12:00. Carnival booked a 5:00pm flight for us. I assume on the hopes we would book an excursion. We opted to hang at the airport for the afternoon instead. Quite the zoo in there. It being the end of spring break. Back in Maine at 10:30. Sad, but good to be home.
From a vacation perspective, this was a wonderful cruise. From a wedding/honeymoon perspective this was beyond perfect. Carnival provides excellent quality for your money. The service, and food, and Fun Ship options are limitless. There is always something going on, or nothing if you want. This was another awesome cruise with Carnival. We'll be back.