This was my third Carnival Cruise since 2003. I was traveling with my husband (a newbie)who relunctly agreed to go on the cruise (and had swore he'd never), and another couple, my best friend (also her third cruise) and her husband (another newbie). We did the 8 day cruise from NY to San Juan, St. Thomas and Tortola.
We drove that morning from MA to NY and along the way ran into major traffic on I-84 in CT. We arrived at the terminal just after 1 pm and headed to the embarkation area. I found embarkation to be a bit slower than the previous 2 cruises. The lines were longer and it seemed to move a bit slower. By 3:15 we were on the ship and had found our way to our cabins. We had an outside room with obstructed view (life boat), but overall the room's layout was nice and gave the perception of a much larger room. Our cabin steward met us when we first arrived and introduced himself and let us know that he and staff would be freshen up our rooms twice a day- and did so wonderfully! We had the standard towel animals that I've grown accustomed to. Every night we propped open the door and fell asleep to the sound of the ocean! It was wonderful!
The captain and crew did a wonderful job steering around the hurricane that was around at the time. The ship was a bit rocky the first couple of days and my friend did have a bit of motion sickness, however the rest of us were fine and had no issues. The staff were always smiling and saying hello everytime we saw someone. The most friendly crew I've ever encountered.
The food was definitely something to write home about. On both of the other cruises, I was pleased with the food, however, on this cruise, the food was definitely at another level. I can still taste the Bittersweet Melting Chocolate Pot- it was esquisite! Our head waiter Joseph and Team Waiter Dewa did a wonderful job in taking care of us and ensuring that we had whatever we wanted. I also loved the fact that I could have the smaller portion of the pasta dish as an appetizer. My husband ending up gaining 12 pounds, and I did not want to look. (I'm still working on taking mine off!)
My husband, who was not really interested in doing this cruise and was initially complaintive of 2 days at sea - fell into the swing of "cruise life" pretty easily and was enjoying the relaxing aspects of it. He spent the days at sea relaxing by the adult pool, and going for a sauna.
For the Shore Excursions we chose a horseback ride in San Juan, which was nice... too short on the ride, but overall a good experience. In St. Thomas, we chose to take the excursion to St. John to check out that island as St. John is mostly National Park and not so crowded. It was a really hot day, so we chose to go on the extended excursion rather than more of the beach, as one could have been fried in 15 minutes the day we were there. In Tortola, we chose the Catamaran ride to "Treasure Island" and did some snorkeling and beaching. Of the three islands, we liked Tortola the best and wish our time there was much longer- leaving at 2:00 pm was a bit early.
After doing the horseback ride, I felt my back a couple of days later, so I decided to pamper myself with a hot stone massage. It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to anyone! It was well worth the price and it did wonders for my aching back!
We did the galley tour and the backstage tour that were offered on the ship. My husband and I were both fascinated with both of them. We thought the staff conducting them did a very good job.
We saw a few of the show that were offered and one of the shows was the first time it was being performed. There were a few kinks to be worked out, but overall not bad.
Our ship had to circle back to St. Thomas for 2 passengers with emergency health problems which caused us to get back to NY much later than anticipated. Oh well, we just had to have another meal and another ice cream! The weather was absolutely wonderful- so it was hard to rush to leave. We hung out on the ship until most everyone was off, which made disembarkation very easy.
This cruise was just what we needed to celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary! We had only been home for one day and my husband wanted to know when we could go again. Not bad for someone who swore he'd never do a cruise!