Well it is finally here the vacation I have been planning since March 2012. My DH and I are young 60's who love cruising. This cruise made us platinum so embarkation was a whole new process for us. I also started a roll call forum which had grown to over 5000 posts by sailing day. Some of the sea day activities included a Poker Cabin Crawl, 2 hour Cocktail Party and 2 Slot Pulls. I have never been on a cruise where I knew so many wonderful friends.
We live in southern Ma so we drove to the NYC terminal arriving around 10:30. After dropping of luggage and parking we were sent to a check in desk with no line and then went to the lounge to wait for boarding. At 11 a. we were escorted to the ship. We were able to go right to our room and drop off our carryon bags before heading to the lido deck for a drink and lunch.
Cabin: We book an obstructed balcony room with an extra long balcony. We had the same room on the Pride last year and loved it. I love having a balcony so I can have my morning coffee or evening drink out on it and smell the ocean. Our cabin steward, Bernie was great, always made sure we had the ice we needed and cleaned our room very early each day, while we were at the MDR having breakfast.
Food: In all my Carnival cruises I never have had a complaint about the food. With the choices you have either in the Lido Buffet or MDR, no one should go hungry. I love to try different foods in the MDR, it is the ideal place to do so. We were seated at a table for eight with three couples our age which made evening dinning a pleasure.
My favorite place in the buffet this trip was the pizza station. I tried the Quartto Pizza which is made with garlic and four cheeses. The crust was supper thin. We usually went up there at night and ordered one to go to have in our room.
Ports of Call: My DH and hurt his back just before the cruise so we were not as active at each port as we planned to be, but still enjoyed each one.
Grand Turk: We had never been there before so we just chilled out near the beach and people watched. I did take a walk down the beach. I always enjoy shopping in all the gift shops they had there.
San Juan: We purchases a private one hour bus tour at the dock for $10 which turned out lasting 2 Â½ hours of fun. We stopped at different places of interest, last being the fort where there were many families having picnics and flying kites. The sky was filled with at least 100 kites. Sunday seems to be a big family day on that island.
St Thomas: We took a private bus arranged by one of our CC members to Sapphire Beach. This was one of our best decisions. The beach had plenty of shade for anyone who wanted it where you could put your $7 rental chair. It was not crowed like some of the other beaches we had been to in the past.
Tortola: This is the only port where we booked a Carnival Tour called "Town & Country". We boarded an open bus which took us up over the mountain on winding roads to Pusser's Landing Marina where we stopped and you could shop. The views from this bus tour were awesome.
Entertainment: My DH and I try to attend all the shows available in the theatre and lounges. The production shows lived up to my expectations. The comedy club was also great and for once we did not have a hard time finding a seat. I was disappointed that we did not get a chance to visit the Piano Bar this trip. The Comedy Brunch in the MDR was a disappointment. Since my DH walking capability was limited we always eat breakfast in the MDR and I prefer the regular menu to the brunch menu. Also we felt the comics were not that great.
Crew: The crew on this ship was great, from my cabin steward, MDR waiters, beverage waiters, shop clerks on so on. We never have had a crew who was not polite and friendly. One of the reasons we choose to cruise Carnival.
Debarkation: Having the Platinum status has its benefits, we were category #1 which meant we got off the ship right after the self-debarkation group. We found a porter to take our bags to our car and was pulling out of the parking garage by 9 am.
Platinum Level: We did enjoy many of the benefits of this level, from early boarding and debarkation. I also liked having the free laundry service which we took advantage of. But my favorite was the chocolate covered strawberries they delivered to our room.