My husband and I are 32yrs old- we traveled with another couple- same age. We were all first time cruisers. Also we were with a large group from Denver that came aboard with a country band from a local club.
We drove from Denver- 17 hours- straight through! We did get a room at the Holiday Inn Sunspree in Galveston- we arrived there about 7am. We napped and then took a 1pm free shuttle to the ship. They let us park our car there free. The hotel was $95. We figured the parking, nap and shower was worth it. Embarkation was smooth- we chatted with those around us, lines moved quickly and we were on the ship having lunch by 3pm.
We had an inside stateroom- which we found to have ample storage and just fine- as we did not plan to spend any time in the room! Our luggage arrived piece by piece over the next few hours. One of our tags had fallen off- we went and collected that piece of luggage from the pursers desk before dinner.
Dining We had the 8pm sitting in the Monet dining room. Let me just take a moment here to say that our dining experience really made our cruise fantastic! Our waiter, Peter (Poland) and his helper were extremely efficient, friendly, funny and very personable. We saw him all over the ship and he always chatted with us. He showed us a picture of his 8 month old triplets that he had been away from for 6 months! Our week was his last before a 2 month break. It is amazing how hard these people work being away from there families. My husband and my friends husband ate an insane amount of food. After the first night- my DH would just shut his menu and say "I'm hungry" and Peter brought out all his recommended dishes. The food was great- if you don't like something- they will promptly bring you something else.
Days at Sea We never made it to dining room meals for breakfast or lunch. We slept in, gambled a bit and laid out by the pools. The pool music is great- also lots of drinks of the day. Buckets of beer are a good deal. My girlfriend and I used the spa- pretty pricey- but we are on vacation....The spa also has a hot tub, steam room and sauna that are great and free to use. Food on the Lido deck was good- we loved the pizza.
Night Life We participated in both formal nights- pictures galore. There is ample chance to get good photos. We saw 1 show and 1 comedy show- both were very good. We went to the disco and also to the piano bar. We came on the cruise with a country band from Denver- the Flap n Jacks---they performed 2 concerts during the week in the Dega lounge. So we cowboyed up and did some dancing with all the Denver people. Many others from the cruise joined us as well. The band couldn't advertise in the caper- but anybody could come to the concert by word of mouth.
Jamaica We went to Sunset Beach. It was awesome and I would highly recommend it. $40 per person- includes drinks, food and all water toys. It is a pretty resort with nice beaches. The food and entertainment was outstanding. Afterwards we made a stop at Margarritaville. This club backs to the ocean with several levels. We were already feeling "no pain" so we thought it perfectly reasonable to go down the water slide off the back of the bar into the ocean-----Oh my- we now call it the metal tube from he**!!!! But once in the water- we also enjoyed the trampolines and tubes. As former college parrot heads we were reliving our Jimmy Buffet days!
Grand Cayman We did the Grand Cayman snorkel tour. There were only 10 of us on the boat- there were 2 stops and we had lots of personal attention. The captain and the guides got in the water and showed us all sorts of stuff. Afterwards we walked around Grand Cayman. The Margarittaville in Grand Cayman is pretty new- no scary metal tube! Very fun as well.
Cozumel Just shopping at this port and good Mexican food. Lots of cheap deals here. This is where you want to get t-shirts and such. Dollar beers everywhere also. Some shops haggle, some don't.
Every vacation has its down points: We had the luck to get locked INSIDE our cabin twice! First time they were prompt and fixed the problem- I got a form letter and a call of apology. When it happened again the next day- I was less happy. I made sure to complain about the safety issue. This time they replaced the door. We received a personal letter, notarized as a coupon for a future discounted cruise. I loved that the photo gallery had a digital photo kiosk. I popped in my full memory card, viewed my pics, printed a few and then asked for a CD. The attendant said I would have to put my card in an envelope and I would have my CD the next day. When I picked it up- the envelope said "card empty"! 150 pics gone! I argued with them awhile about how I had pics when they got the card.....then I went looking for the original attendent-Trudy- who had seen the pics. I found her and she was extremely helpful and acknowledged what a big deal this was. She took my card to the software recovery people and they were able to rescue my photos! So both issues resolved- good service by Carnival.
Disembarkation We did self assist and were at our car at the hotel by 8:15am! We were then on our way back to Denver.....
Great cruise, would do it again tomorrow, next time we are bringing the kids!