This was cruise # 9 for me. We had a group of 35. I will be short and concise. I think. I am not going to proofread before I submit this, so I apologize now for any mistakes in grammar or spelling.. So here goes
Embarkation- went very smoothly. Got to the ship around 1pm and was on with luggage waiting by 2. My wife got her 12 pack of Bud confiscated. Last year we walked right on board with beer in hand. Carnival is not consistent with there screening of booze. put all booze in your check on luggage. We have never had a problem with that. All of our hard stuff got on ok. You can take on your own mixers.
Ship- very different decor from any other ship we have been on. It was ok. Ship is indeed very clean and quite well kept. Bedding is above above average. Our cabin steward Victor did a fine job. We are low maintenance people, who do not seek excess pampering. My only request was that he kept my Ice bucket full, which he did. We had balcony cabins in the very back of the ship facing the wake. We enjoy those back there because of the larger balconies and nice views. Also very quiet. The rest of the ship is average at best.
Entertainment- We had no sail away party. I am not sure what the deal was on that. At the Ivanho theatre they had Decent shows. Live band at the Paris Lounge were very talented musicians. Played 60's thru early 80's pop and rock. Good dance music if that's your thing. Only problem was that they played the same stuff every night. The new Piano bar guy sucked, that is being generous. Disco was ok, music very annoying after a few songs. Onboard activities were not very good or plentiful. Bingo was its usual ripoff. (All cruise lines, not just Carnival). I never have understood why they feel they have to make such a huge profit off a game that in most communities is close to a 100% payout. They must at least quadruple what they take in. However I don't go cruising for the Bingo. Sorry bout that blowoff!!. Casino is very nice, good variety of gaming options. Machines didn't even seem to be that tight.
Grand Cayman- Did Capt. Bryan's Stingray City and snorkel tour. It was quite good, but no atmosphere on the boat itself. Still better than the ships excursions. Rays seem to be more active later in the a.m. This was our 3rd time in Cayman, so we didn't really do much else but wander about town.
Roatan- Booked Island tour and Canopy with Victor Bodden. Excellent tour. Very friendly guides. Ended tour at West end beach. Absolutely stunning. I have been to most of the Eastern and Western Islands, And this beach is as good as it gets. So if you want a day at the beach, Go here. Food was good, $1 beers and stunning scenery.
Belize- Ship cancelled cave tubing tour due to heavy rains the night before. However, I booked through Cave Tubing dot com. They decided after being in contact with park that they would do the tour. It was quite fun. However most of your day is taken up just getting there and back. So for me it is a "been there done that" situation, and would not do it again. You basically spend 2 and a half hours on a bus, over an hour hiking for a 30 min tube ride down a river and through a long cave. Good experience but once is enough.
Costa Maya- We went to Tequila beach. Newer port. They are still working on stuff. The beach was 25.00 for the day. All you can eat and drink. Very relaxing and enjoyable day. Included chairs , tables, umbrellas. Free 2 min. massage. Drinks were not only beer but good mixed drinks. They had nachos, fajitas and quite of a variety of other food to choose from. Had wave runners available to rent. Nice restroom and changing facilities.
Food- To be honest, best cruise food I've ever had. Meals were all Hot and fresh. Service was excellent. We were in the Washington Dining room. From what I had seen of both dining rooms, this was the better. If you are fortunate enough to get Everton and Nessy as your table stuff, your in for a great dining experience. Pizza and burgers were average, hit the spot in a pinch. Breakfast buffet was average as usual. I never have understood why its difficult to get good hot breakfast food. However, food is not the reason that I cruise so as long as I can fill the belly I am happy. But the food at the dining room was exceptional. Kudos to the Valor chef.
Disembarkation- We stayed a day after the cruise, so we hung out on the ship until they gave us the heave ho. Things however seemed to go very smooth for those who needed to get off quickly.
Final Thoughts. Feel free to e mail any questions. I am 46 love to party and spend time with family and friends on board cruise ships. I cruise to be out on the water. This was our 9th cruise, so alot of the things that matter alot to less seasoned cruisers ( food, entertainment, activities, etc..) are not that important to me. As long as we have a nice clean cabin, edible food, decent service, fun and considerate fellow passengers, and ok weather, I am happy. All in all this was a pretty decent and fun cruise. Already looking into next years.