We flew into Miami the morning of and took a taxi right to the ship no issues other than if your flying West Jet and your not there within 20 minutes to get your bags they take them to the other side of the airport without telling anyone so I thought our bags did not make it! Also I will never fly into Miami airport again. Go to Ft Lauderdale. The airport had no signage, its huge and you have no idea where your going and there is no walking paths. There is limited information desks and they are not helpful at all and rude. I experienced the same disrespect leaving as well. Getting on the ship went quickly and we checked out every floor, had lunch and then our room was ready!
We had a Guys burger right away because of all the hype and yup it was worth all the hype absolutely amazing! The pizza was pretty good too. Buffet would have been better if the lettuce was actually real lettuce not bagged lettuce. If you booked "My time dining" be prepared to wait up until 45 min for a table. Every night there was a long wait minimum of 20 minutes.
I had an interior room and I was pleasantly surprised how big it was! My son and I fit fine and I liked how dark it was. I would not pay extra for a balcony as most people said they didn't even use it!
The teens club. WOW!!!! My son had 178 kids there his age 12-14. I can't say he really did a lot at the actual club but they would meet up there and then roam the boat. It would have been nice though if they had more activities going on that the kids would engage in so they weren't just roaming the boat.
I was very worried because I read so much about how awful the service was. I thought everyone was great. I had 1 issue in the my time dining where we had waited almost an hour for a seat then another 30 min we still hadn't gotten even any water never mind service. I went and got the manager and he fixed it right away. The only other poor service was the bartenders they wouldn't even look up at you.
The piano bar was worth all the hype I read about it! Ron was amazing and he really got to know some of his guests and was a great singer and comedian. Now the shows.........so very very poor. When there own staff entertained it was soo awful don't waste your time waiting in line. I have been to Cuba and they have had better singers and dancers. The singers and dancers that they had go do neither they were out of breath you could see they were tired, it was a waste of time. I've never cruised before but they say the shows are amazing, the shows ARE NOT amazing. You would think they would hire real singers and dancers. The latin show don't bother, it wasn't latin, it was crap!!
Excursions I was very nervous but only booked 2 excursions through Carnival and thank God. I saved soo much money. I did my research before hand, I knew what beach I wanted to go to got a cab and off we went. The fares are govt set. We got great drivers in St. Thomas we got an amazing gentleman and he charged us $7.00 a person to tour us around the island and then end up at the beach. Amazing. This would have cost $80.00 through Carnival. Tortola port- The Baths! What a waste of money. They failed to tell us how it was a hike to and from the cave and I mean a hike!! The cave was not worth the hype at all. It was more of a pain and the line up with the tour was crazy. By the time we got to the beautiful beach it was time to do the hike back to the beach! If your going to do this go on your own! Or better yet skip it and stay in Tortola and find a beach. I didn't see Tortola at all and the last thing I wanted to do was get on another boat for 45 min! It was the best weather day we had (which was VERY limited) and I spent it hiking and sweating like crazy!
I did do an excursion in Miami upon returning to the Everglades and that was good except I hate when they are begging for tips and everyone did this the tour guide, the driver, the boat driver the show guy, it was disgusting considering what I spent for the tour!
The boat was great for kids, I didn't feel like I was on a boat for the most part. The one thing is the boat left an hour late and I think that they wanted to make up the time so he was going so fast it made it so rocky that I was falling over and this was my first night. There was a few other times it seemed like they were going too fast but otherwise you wouldn't have known you were on a boat. Cruising in my opinion is not for a single parent. I don't think I would do it again. The other thing is we went to 3 ports in a row, way too many in a row I needed a day in between. Its nice when your at sea you don't have to rush around. Although our sea days were not nice as I had track pants, sweater and was wrapped in a towel, but that was not Carnivals fault.
The music on the deck was very loud and they played the same songs over and over again and there was no Caribbean music. I would have liked to hear some of this kind of music or had a steel band on board or something! The boat director was ok but I didn't think he was fantastic. They are getting a new director and I worry that things will slide with this change.
Overall an ok cruise, boat is nice, lots to do if you want to, but be careful that you don't go during a "cold front".