Can you feel the BREEZE? (pun intended!) This was our first cruise and we loved every minute of it! So many positives and only one negative which I'll touch on last.
First up, embarkation. We had "Faster to the Fun" passes which allowed us to skirt the moderate lines inside the terminal. On our tickets it indicated a boarding time between 1-3 pm. This was done to ensure your room is ready the moment you board (as promised in the FTTF package). You can always go earlier, but please understand the logistics of trying to clean and ready so many cabins and though you'll board quickly, your room might not be ready. We choose to arrive at 12:30 and were on board by 12:50. We went right to our room, dropped off our carry-on baggage and began to explore the ship. Embarkation: 10/10 for efficiency and the up-beat Carnival staff attitude.
First impressions. The ship is massive! This was our first cruise and we were amazed at how large this ship really is. In fact, it was day three before we could go from point A to B with confidence and not get turned around. For accommodations, we chose a spa-balcony cabin on 12-deck. Big mistake, as this was my wife's first cruise and she'll never let me down grade below this level of decadence! The cabin was a comfortable size and we never bumped into each other. Deck space was perfect for two and the bathroom was efficient. No tub but I haven't used a tub in years anyway..... I'll take a moment here to speak of our room stewards. They were always cleaning something in their zone of responsibility. I'm a very earlier riser and I saw them always scrubbing, wiping, and vacuuming from 6 am until 10 pm. Seriously, they never stopped. Twice a day our room was cleaned and the bed turned down at night. They always greeted us by our first names as we passed and I found this very friendly. To those cruisers who wish to be addressed as Sir and Madam, get real. These Carnival employees work harder than most of us ever will. So come down off your pedestal; you'll find they're gracious, intelligent and very dedicated workers who will do anything for those they're responsible for. To our room steward Sukanya and our head waiter Mijalho, many many thanks! You made our cruise perfect! Cabin and room attendants: 10/10 without hesitation.
Getting around and dining. Get yourself a map to help become orientated. Twelve decks with elevators located forward, midships and aft. I won't get into the details of what's where, but I do recommend you spend some time looking at the ship layout on line to become familiar with the layout. The two main dining rooms are located on 4/5 deck aft, while open style cafeteria style line-ups for food are on 10-deck aft. You won't be able to eat everywhere so don't try, there just too much good food and your stomach is only so big! We chose not to eat at the pay restaurants as the food in the Blush restaurant was excellent. Why pay $30 per plate for the same service and quality you get for free???? We did try the Italian specialty restaurant at lunch (its free during lunch) and laughed at the ships designers who thought of putting this restaurant directly beneath the basketball court! If you like the thud thud thud of basketball while you eat your evening meal.... I hope you really enjoy the pasta! The pasta itself was just "ok". Much better pasta available in the Bayside Market, Miami. Getting around 7/10 (until you get use to it) Blush restaurant and staff 13/10!
Port of Calls.... St. Thomas, wow as always! Antigua and Nassau are typical Caribbean ports with much garbage and litter. Tortola on the other hand was pristine! I'll go back here in a heartbeat. We took the Discover Scuba dive in St. Thomas and it was one of the best adventures we ever done and highly recommended. Book early as there are only four people per diver so it fills up real quick.
Disembarkation, we chose to self-disembark. We left the ship at 6:30, caught a cab at 6:45 and we're at the airport before 7:15am! Crap! Our flight doesn't leave until 1pm! I never thought it would be that quick! 10/10
I could go on and on, but CC must have some kind of limit! In a nut shell, don't fret over negative reviews. Some people will always find something to complain about. We had a great time and will cruise again, but not with Carnival. I won't go into detail, but being a serving Naval Officer, I chose a military rate a year before the cruise and watched as the price dropped by over $780 over a 10 month stretch. Though I contacted Carnival several times, I was never offered anything in compensation except excuses as why they don't match prices if you took a military rate. So I saved $50 at the front to lose over $700 overall. On this point alone, I'll take my business elsewhere. Not impressed Carnival.
Enjoy the Breeze everyone!
She truly is a pearl in the Caribbean.
Feel free to email questions.