Spent two days in South Beach Miami prior to cruising. Taxi cab from south beach to cruise was about 15.00 for the 4 of us. Got there early 11:30 to embark and beat the crowd. They always tell you to arrive later but then you miss the lunch and you avoid the crowds and enjoy the ship.
Ship is well maintained and very clean. Beautiful details, nice atrium. Cabins are nice, stewards were friendly and efficient. Dining room was excellent, great food, super service. Had the late night dining so we didn't have to rush each night. We were disappointed with the buffet, not a lot of choices each day and night. What made up for it was the guy's burger joint, the burrito bar, and the fish and chips. The pizza was mediocre. They also had a wok, which was busy. The burrito bar only stays open until 2:30 pm, we wish it would have stayed open later like 4:30, but great burritos.
First day we were in Half Moon Cay, this is a tender spot. It is owned by Carnival, their private island. They have clamshells to rent, which give you much needed shade but they cost 19.99 or you can use it without paying, because no one checked to see if we paid. We paid for peace of mind. The water was clear and warm. The lunch bbq buffet was great, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.
the next port was St. Thomas, our favorite island. We recommend shop first and then snorkel. We walked to the town, about 15 minute walk, or you can take a taxi, $4 per person. But if you take a taxi, you miss some of the shops like Coach, etc. Right when you get into town there is a open flea market, they sell purses, jewelry, clothes, at amazing prices! You can talk them down, have all name brand purses for cheap! At the center of town there is a long street that has pretty much only jewelry at great prices if you know what you are looking for, pretty overwhelming. We went back to the ship and changed into our suits and took a taxi to a place called Secret Harbor. It cost $11 per person. It is a very small resort with two amazing reefs for excellent snorkeling. They rent the snorkels there for $15.00. The day we went there was no one hardly there and the fish we saw was amazing. The taxi driver and others tried to talk us into going to Kokie beach, it's closer they say, but large crowds and not as good snorkeling we heard. This is an amazing place to get away from the crowds and no fishing allowed so the fish weren't afraid.
The next port was San Juan, Puerto Rico. We walked to both forts in the morning, which was about a 2 mile walk. Great views. They have a free shuttle from one fort to the next and both forts were only $5 for both. They said some places were unsafe to walk, but we were fine where we were. Then we came back to the ship with the shuttle and took a .50 cent water ferry to the other side of the island, then a $3 taxi to the Bacardi Rum Factory, free tours and 2 free drinks per person. Amazing, we wished we would have done this first, and the fort second. We had to wait on the ferry to get back, it only runs every half hour and we barely made it back, great day!
The last port was Grand turk, snorkeling here is not as good as St. Thomas, not many shops but we walked to Governor's beach to get away from the crowds, 15 minute walk, about 20 others there. Crystal clear water, warm, white sand, a few fish but not as nice as St. thomas. 2 formal nights on the ship, everyone was pretty casual even on those nights. Overall ship was really nice, so much to do, amazing cruise director, Karl, tons of energy. Shows were entertaining, comedy shows were excellent. Loved the piano bar decor and all the colorful chandeliers. Debarkation was the best we've ever seen. Taxi cab to airport was a flat fee of 25.00. Excellent cruise!!!! Our daughter loved the teen club, we hardly ever saw her!!!