We have been on multiple cruises with our kids and prefer Carnival cruises for the more varied entertainment choices on board and the value. We went on a 5 night cruise, leaving from Tampa, Florida on Saturday and returned the next Thursday, with stops at two ports Georgetown, Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico. We were pleased with our rooms (oceanview on Main Deck). The ship was rather worn, with the theme of the ship being stained glass/multi colored trim, which I did not care for.
We were very satisfied with the staff that we dealt with, from the room stewards to the wait staff. Everyone was very friendly and went out of their way to help and answer questions (except for one girl training in the restaurant, but that's another story). Our last cruise on Royal Caribbean, we had multiple bad encounters with unhappy staff that were rude and would actually turn and walk away rather than speak to you. Our room steward, Arnel, was great and made our trip memorable with all the varied towel animals and great service.
Our two kids, age 10 and 13, enjoyed the shows. There were several family oriented comedy shows and they attended several of the evening shows and game shows. The food was so-so at the Paris Restaurant, often overcooked and dried out. We were disappointed in many of the dishes. The outside grill was good and I got spoilt quickly to omelets every morning. The main dining room had several good meals, and great desserts. The dining staff was friendly and we enjoyed our meal times as a family very much.
The only problem I can complain about is the behavior of many of the guests in the evenings. Drinking started early in the afternoon, sometimes at breakfast for some guests, and by evening many guests were out of control at poolside. I had to make sure the kids were up at the other pool or other activities by early evening to avoid the cursing, stumbling drunks that were yelling, hooting, and running and jumping into the pool on top of everyone else. Often the pool was very full in the evenings of guests (in their 20-40s) with drinks standing in the pool, with no room to move. No one could move in the pools, let alone come down the slides. It was dangerous for any kids in the evening to be in the pool.
The pool on the upper level was supposed to be the children's pool but was more the size of a 3.5 foot deep hot tube with 25 kids in it. The water was also very warm in the late afternoon/evenings. I wish Carnival would make the 'children's pool' into a more child friendly area, with the slide and maybe some sprinkler/water features away from the bar scene so that kids can actually enjoy the pools, too.
For the price, and the ports we visited, the cruise was worth the hassle of dealing with the bad behaviors of other guests and I know that Carnival makes more money on selling the alcohol and the casino/gambling than on the family fun aspect of cruising. I commend the staff for their great service and am amazed with them every time I cruise.
We arranged this excursion thru Cozumel Watersports online. They required a small deposit to hold our spots. When we got to the port, we had to walk out of the port and down the road several blocks to the meeting place. It was very hot, but the walk was interesting seeing all the traffic and people set up selling things on the sidewalk. We met at a hotel and we were the only ones going on the excursion that day. We drove a jeep to the Segway practice parking lot and our guides, David and Roberto, taught us how to ride the Segways safely. They were friendly and attentive. They took group pictures for us, without us asking, and repeatedly asked if there was anything they could do to make our trip better. We rode the segways a few miles down a small road that ran alongside the main highway to a small resort on the beach. David would stop to show us interesting things, like an iguana on the side of the road or a native plant. The trip was beautiful because we rode along the beach for much of the drive and the scenery was breathtaking with the clear blue waters. The Segways were very fun and my 12 year old daughter and my senior citizen mother were able to ride it without any problems. (and loved them!). We own four wheelers and ride them frequently, but our entire group enjoyed the Segways. The resort was small but private, with the umbrellas and chairs included in the price, with our snorkel equipment provided. We also were given cold bottled water before our excursion and throughout by our tour guides. We snorkeled for about 1.5-2 hours and it was great snorkeling. We saw all kinds of fish, stingrays, coral, etc. The fish must be used to being fed because we were swarmed when we entered the water. There were a few people selling bracelets and souvenirs when you entered but they weren't pushy. There was also a small pool to swim in but we did not make it to that. We rode the Segways back to the port entrance and only had to walk back into the port on our return.
This is one of the best excursions I have ever been on. The tour guides were great and were very patient while we learned the Segways and seemed to really want to make the excursion the best they could.
The only thing I would suggest to make this trip better would be to pick us up in the port. It would be worth a few more dollars to not have to walk as far as we did in the heat. We paid $59.99/person booking it ourselves. It was $89.99 thru the cruiseline. Go on this excursion! It's well worth the money.
We rented a car thru Avis to tour the Grand Cayman by ourselves. We had spent a week here a few years ago and knew our way around, and wanted to show it to our kids. We were disappointed in Avis, they made us walk about 5-6 blocks thru town to a meeting place for a pickup to take us to rent the car. It was over 90 degrees and we had snorkel equipment and backpacks to carry. We finally rented the car and drove to the Turtle Farm. (waste of time!)It was $30/person ($20 for kids)for the little tour and over $45 if you wanted to see the whole farm, which included the lagoon and predator pond (the interesting parts). Our little tour was just tanks with different sized turtles. I thought their prices were way too high for what they had on display. They had one small petting tank where the turtles could be touched. The kids enjoyed chasing the wild iguana they found more than they did the turtle farm.
We left the turtle farm and drove to Cemetary Beach to snorkel. We had been before and snorkeling is okay, but not great. Most of the corral seems to be dead or dying near shore and we weren;'t comfortable going out as far as some groups did. The beach is secluded with no bathrooms, restaurants, etc. I think if we went back, we would go to one of the more popular snorkel beaches instead of Cemetary Beach. We ended up heading back a little early to the ship for lunch because we did not see any restaurants that we were interested in and we did not want to miss the boat back to the ship. We only had contact with a few islanders and they were not as friendly as when we were there a few years ago. I recommend using the tour operators at the exit to the port. There were several there doing private 2-3 hour tours in their taxis/vans for $15/$20 a person. If you have a chance to go to Rum Point, we really enjoyed it there during our last visit but didn't have time for the drive this time.