May 12th - Our trip started off great. We flew to Miami a day early and stayed at the Loews Miami South Beach hotel. We had an oceanfront room and it was awesome! We actually were able to watch the ships leave Miami right from our balcony. The beach was gorgeous and the hotel was in the perfect location. You could walk to Ocean Drive and to Lincoln Mall. We enjoyed the beach during the day and walked Ocean Drive in the evening. We had dinner at the Beacon Hotel on Ocean Drive. the restaurant was called Rendezvous on the Ocean and it was a sidewalk cafe type of restaurant. This was a fabulous experience. Fantastic food and it turned to to be the best meal of our vacation! We had lobster and filet mignon and it was just awesome! Dessert was also very good.
May 13th- We woke up early and had breakfast and then decided to go enjoy the beach before going to the pier. We spent a couple hours on the beach and headed to the pier. We are really glad we did this, as Miami turned out to be one of our favorite parts of the trip.
Embarkation- We arrived at the pier about 1130am. It took us until about 1pm to complete the process and get onboard. We completed the FunPass on the Carnival website and it didn't seem to help at all. Overall the process wasn't that bad considering we were in Miami which is notorious for disorderly embarkation.
Once onboard we enjoyed lunch and waited for our cabin to be ready. We had a balcony cabin on the upper deck 6360. This was a great cabin. It was close to the elevators and stairs and also next to the ice machines. Even though we were above the Promenade Deck, we heard no noise from it. The location was mid ship and just perfect. The cabin was nice, we loved the balcony and spent a lot of time there. The room wasn't as clean as it should have been. There was dust on the counter and the soap dispenser in the shower was empty. However, the room steward was okay and did seem to take care of us the rest of the week. I think maybe he was rushed to turn the cabin around and therefore did a rushed job the first day.
We had dinner in the Paris Dining room and our waiter Somphop from Thailand was probably the best I have ever experienced. He always would point out the best selections and didn't blink an eye if you asked for more than one thing. He even encouraged us to order multiple desserts. We did have some good food in the dining room but over all, it wasn't like it has been in the past. We enjoyed the Chicken Satay very much.. Also, the lobster was pretty good too. The filet mignon on previous cruises was much much better... lacked flavor this cruise.. Unfortunately our table mates weren't the most social so we really missed out on the usual story swapping and fun of dinner.
We tried the dining room for both breakfast and lunch and it was pretty good. We ate at the buffets a lot. The alfredo sauce on the lunch buffet was really great! The Deli, hamburger grill and pizza were awesome.. !! Great sandwiches! My boyfriend thought the burgers were awesome!! and the pizza was good too. Most of the time it was hard to find ice cream machines that worked which was a disappointment.
We played Bingo onboard and it was fun. We didn't have the best weather on this cruise which is no one's fault. We still tried to have as much fun as possible.
Cozumel was a lot of fun.. lots of hurricane damage which is sad .. but we had the best day here. We took a cab to Paradise Beach and it was the best beach day we have ever had anywhere. We lounged on our beach chairs and they kept buckets of beer coming right to us.. it was awesome.. We had the best guacamole ever! Lunch was great! The water was gorgeous.. you can go in to your neck and still see your toes.. We didn't want to leave and ended up staying at the beach from 10am-4pm! We decided our next vacation will be a week in Mexico since we had so much fun. After the beach, we took a cab into town and ate dinner at La Chosa. all the locals were here and it was really good. It was very different but good. We walked around and stopped and had 1 dollar coronas on our way to Carlos and Charlies. Carlos and Charlies was sad.. we were the only ship in port so maybe that is part of it.. but it just isn't what it used to be.. there were a few drunks dancing.. but hardly anyone there.. we had a drink and then went upstairs and had some more at Senor Frogs.. Then about 9pm we decided to head back to the ship.
Unfortunately, due to bad weather and 5 foot sea swells we were unable to tender into the cayman islands. We had to have another day at sea in the rain.
Jamaica was fun.. We did the Cool Runnings Sail and Dunn's Fall excursion. It was great! The Cool Runnings staff really made sure you were taken care of.. They welcomed you with water and fruit punch.. we sailed to the falls.. climbing the falls was so much fun.. it is such a beautiful natural place. My boyfriend and I had so much fun climbing the falls.. then on our sail back .. the party starts.. free run drinks which included rum and cokes...run punch.. straight rum.. etc.. and 2 dollar red strips. The cool runnings crew danced and taught dances and it was just a lot of fun. When we got back, we did a little shopping and ended up in Margaritaville. It was pouring rain.. so we sat at the bar and had more drinks. Margaritaville was a fun place and I recommend checking it out.
Overall, we had a fun vacation even with a lack of sun. Here are the disappointing things about this cruise.
1. The Bar Service on board!! The bar service sucked!! It was difficult to get a drink. I never experienced this on a Carnival cruise before. Usually you feel pampered and the staff rushed to take care of you. Not so on this cruise. I really think it was the staff onboard. They had little personality ..not friendly at all and would ignore you while you were trying to get a drink at some bars. We would stand there with our sail and sign cards out and they would talk in a huddle at the end of the bar. It was just terrible. Also, in the past I was able to drink frozen grasshoppers on my cruises. I was so looking forward to drinking them again in the sun!! The staff wouldn't make them for me. They told me they never could make them and wouldn't make them now because they weren't allowed.. I asked at several bars and was given the same answer over and over again. I even told them that the only place I have ever had this drink was onboard Carnival ships! I Sailed the Triumph in the past and had them on this very ship! Anyway.. I wasn't able to have my grasshopper which was a bummer.. so I drank other things instead when I was able to get a drink from the bar staff.. lol.. just a bad experience.
2. The entertainment was lacking! The guy in the piano bar really tried but wasn't very good. The magic show was very amateur..its too bad.. but there really wasn't much for entertainment onboard. In the past I remember activities everywhere ..but it just wasn't the case. We made the most of it and found fun as much as possible.
3. I think the crowd of people makes a difference. On my past cruises.. I met so many people and after dinner everywhere there were people and fun.. This cruise.. it seemed everyone went to bed at 10pm.. it just was bad luck. Perhaps, since the ship was fairly rocky the entire cruise due to weather people weren't feeling well.. I'm not sure.
So you see.. We had a good time.. the cruise just wasn't what it could have been.. I think with a different crowd, better entertainment and bar staff that hustled it would have been a much better time. that said.. would we sail Carnival again...?? Of course... ! This was my 4th cruise.. so 1 dud cruise out of 4 isn't bad.. chances are the next one will be spectacular!!