This was our 2nd cruise. We sail as a family of 5 and all squeeze into one room. We cruise on a budget and this works for us.
We parked at Park n Cruise for $45 indoor parking. Excellent and so close!
It was raining, so DH dropped everyone off and a porter took our baggage for us. Yay! We went to the bathroom while DH parked the van. We got there a few minutes before 11am. Walked in and started the very short process. On the ship by 11:30am!!
It was raining.....rain dries! It's all about perspective and we were not going to allow rain to dampen our attitudes, spirits or vacation. Good thing too, because it rained several days off and on!
We went directly to the Lido and half went to Guy's Burgers and the others went to Blue Iguana for lunch. Oh my goodness! Those two were amazing additions to this cruise ship! We sailed a year ago before the updates. These are worth it!!! We sat on the Red Frog Pub side outside, but under cover. The staff were constantly try to mop up the rain so there weren't too many puddles. They were awesome. Someone was there right as we finished a plate of food to take it away! Great service.
The kids finished eating by noon and asked if they could go see where the room was located. We said yes, but informed them it would not be ready yet. Well, guess who was wrong?!?! Our room was ready at NOON! YES!! The beds were not set into a king, so we just let the room steward know and he said he would have it changed at dinner time. Good for us.
We changed and got into a hot tub and were pleasantly surprised to find it was not salt water!! Only the hot tubs were that way. Everything else was salt water.
Our luggage was at our room in time to change for dinner.
The toilet in our room was not flushing appropriately. The paper would not go down. We let the room steward know and he assured us he would take care of it. It still wasn't working consistently, although it was better. On the 2nd day I went to Guest Services to let them know that it takes 3-4 flushes to get paper down. They sent a plumber immediately and it was fixed within 30 minutes! Yes! Moral: Just ask if something isn't working. They don't know if we don't tell them. I told them on the last night that the bathroom light was hard to turn on because of a loose plate around the fixture. She assured me that they would fix it but I told them to not worry about it until we leave.
Our room steward, Henrri, was amazing. He folded up the beds and put away the 5th bed every morning and pulled them back out while we were at dinner. He replaced towels and did an overall amazing job.
We had early dining in the London Upper Dining Room....Table 352. Anthony and Joseph were amazing. They knew our names immediately and the kids loved that they called them by name. Sang was our bar assistant and he took the kids' coke orders and had drinks for them at the table every night from then on. He enjoyed talking to the kids and getting to know them.
Entertainment : Well, we are very conservative and knew from last year that the entertainment wasn't really up our alley. We went to the magic show and was a little disappointed to find that it was 100% exactly the same show, same jokes, same music, same costumes as last year. They should change things up year to year in my opinion. We went to the family friendly comedy and enjoyed Macio.....although he said several times that he had to be careful about what he said or he would get in trouble. We didn't like the other guy at all. Can't even remember his name. Decided to see what the Adult Comedy was like. Wow! I haven't heard that much swearing in my life....and we left after 5 minutes!! Not our cup of tea and we knew it before going in. We were just curious. Beware...it is definitely foul and crass.
Kid's Programs : We had a child in each club.
Camp Carnival - 11 year old - I really HATE that they put the 6-11 year olds in a night club where the kids have to walk through the casino to go to club. I think it is poor taste on Carnival's part. That age group has no place to call their own. They should rethink that!! The kids don't like it either. They are shuttled around to all different places. There were not many kids around 11 years old who came to the club, so they grouped the 6-11 group all together. Now, what 11 yr old wants to hang with 6 yr olds? They say they split them 9-11 but they don't. They didn't last year either. Lots of dance parties. Glad we allowed ours to sign in/out. He went to some things and came back right away because there weren't kids his age, etc. Overall, he had fun if there were other kids his age in there with him. He LOVES the scavenger hunts and can't wait to move into Circle C next year.
Circle C - 12 year old - This was by far the best experience of the 3 clubs. The leader, Ruben, didn't speak clearly so half the time they didn't know what he was saying, but that didn't seem to be a problem. Seems like half the time the kids went to the club and just hung out on the putt putt course. The Camp Carnival 6-11 year olds used this club several hours each day which is good for the Camp Carnival crew, but stinks for the kids who just wanted to hang out in their own club and weren't allowed in during those hours. This caused them to just find somewhere to hang out. Yes, they had something planned, but it was something like basketball and 2 boys played while all the girls sat and talked. They still had a good time.
Club O2 - 15 year old - Not impressed at all!! They have an American girl running the club. I really wanted to go complain but promised my son I wouldn't. He didn't want her to get into trouble and didn't want anyone to know it was him who was upset. My son is an introvert. I am not, so I am having to learn how to help him and understand his needs in this area. His first night in the club there were 8-10 youth there. She told them "it was their club so they should do what they want to do". That is great for outgoing kids who will voice an opinion. For an introvert who is already scared to death of small talk and people he doesn't know, this is exactly the worst thing to say. They did not follow the schedule, so he never knew if he wanted to go in or not. He went daily and had an ok time after 2-3 days when he got to know some of the kids. The leader sat and read a book. Not impressive! She really should have lead the group. She was to work on the waterslide at one point so told the kids it was time for everyone to go slide since she had to work it. She just didn't seem into the job at all. Last week she had 100 kids in the club. Maybe she thought it was a week off for her?
Ports : We went to Progresso first. We got off and asked a taxi service about a Cenote experience. He told us it would cost $80 and we would go to a Mayan Ruin and a cenote. Great! We got in the taxi and headed out and started trying to talk with our driver. Not great English but enough to tell us we had to pay another $60 to get into the ruin. NO! We didn't have another $60 so we told him to turn around. He was very gracious. We were only a few minutes down the road, not even off the pier. We got on the bus and went into town. There we stopped at Flamingo Tours and told them we wanted to see Cenotes. He charged us $100 (5 people) for the taxi ride, 7 miles, entrance to the Cenote that has 4-5 cenotes, and return taxi for 1.5 hrs at the Cenotes. We were good with that. It was so much fun! It rained almost the entire time. but it was good. It was called El Corchito. You ride a little boat about 3 minutes to get there. It was gorgeous! You can feed the raccoons too. We didn't have food, but some others did. After the Cenotes, I got a 1hr massage for $15 right there in the market where the white curtains are. I had a better massage last year for the same price down across from the beach, but it was still nice.
Cozumel : We went to Paradise Beach. The taxi was $20 each way because we require a van. I think it is $14 for 4 people. You pay $2 per person for a chair, not optional. You get access to the beach, nice pool, can purchase from the bar and restaurant. We paid $12 each for another bracelet which allowed access to snorkeling, paddle boards, and lots of floating water toys. This is worth it for our family. A great place to go!
We love to watch movies on deck at night. We were bummed that the Avengers movie was messed up several times. They got it going on the 3rd try, on a different night, and it worked up until the last 10 minutes! Crazy! They need to get another copy of Avengers for sure! But it's not a big deal all in all.
Overall, we had an amazing trip. As far as food, we preferred the Blue Iguana Taco Bar and Guy's Burgers to any of the buffet options. We ate dinner each night in the London Dining and had Brunch one day in Paris. The buffet was not worth it for us. Our room steward was amazing. Our dining servers were amazing. We don't drink alcohol and the bar tenders remembered that as they saw us on the Lido, so we didn't get asked a hundred times. The Lido deck was way more of a party atmosphere this year. Not sure if it is the upgrade to the pool area or just the crowd on board. There seemed to be a lot of college aged drunk kids on the Lido, all the time. It was packed. But, we expect some of that too!
Thanks Carnival, for an awesome vacation!!