Background; 6 guests ranging from 62-29 yrs of age. 3 guests were VIP status with Carnival with over 12 cruises on that line. Average for the group was 10 cruise trips.
We arrived via Orlando and rented a car to transfer to Cocoa Beach. My son lives there so he arranged for overnight housing. You are not charged a drop off fee at the port for cars rented at the Orlando airport. So, if more than two people are traveling, it is more economical to rent a vehicle. The morning of the cruise we dropped bags at the terminal then picked up all six members of the party. We dropped the vehicle at the Budget location at the port and took the Budget transfer to the cruise terminal. Total cost of the car was $105. Check in is very smooth at Port Canaveral and takes less than 15 minutes.
Two rooms were inside cabins deck level 7, with one outside (window) on deck 2. Rooms were adequate for adult passengers. The outside cabin was somewhat unusual in that it had 2 bathrooms. The room would be excellent if traveling with children.
Highly recommend the 7 day spa package. It gives VIP access to a private locker room, whirlpool and sauna area. Well worth the $150 per person.
Casino: Worst casino I have seen to date. The area is cramped and has very poor ventilation. Staff were great but the layout left much to be desired.
Bars: Wide assortment, did not like the sports bar since it is collocated with the casino.
Entertainment: Music/shows were the norm. Hey its not Broadway or Vegas. The highlight is the comedy club. Four comics over the week with both family and adult shows.
Food: Lido deck was average, I don't use this facility much but it was as expected. Main dining was good, a little cramped but wait staff were excellent. Overall food was good, best steak and lobster dinner to date. Best part was our waiter (Jeorge). On the last night he arranged for a traditional dinner from his home country that was outstanding. The people at the adjoining tables were envious. We did not use the speciality dining areas but understood they were average.
Shore activities: We love to snorkel and scuba dive. So the stops are all good for this activity.
Cozumel: Booked scuba through carnival. Good trip but not the best reef quality, shopping in downtown.Best find was a Kosher restaurant called Jerusulam, traditional food and high quality.
Belieze: Booked the Seargants Cay snorkel and beach trip. Very good snorkeling with about 2 hours of beach at their private location. Food/drink was available ($10) average.
Roatan: Best port of all. Booked a snorkel/scuba trip with Subway Watersports via my travel agent. The service picked us up at the terminal and transported to their private beach/resort area. Resort is the Turquoise Bay resort. The staff was outstanding, and since it was a private part only our family was on this trip. They arranged for all equipment/storage of our belongings and just anything we needed. 2 dive masters and a captain took us to the best locations we have ever seen. Following the diving we had lunch at the resort ($10) with excellent local foods. HIGHLY recommend this trip.
Costa Maya: Scuba was average, booked through the ship. Shopping area is limited to the traditional shops located at cruise ports. Traveling into town is highly discouraged by ship security. Should have stayed on ship and spent the day at the spa.
Disembarkation: We arranged for baggage transfer to our airline at orlando through the ships baggage service. It is $20 per person for two bags each. We were flying Southwest so there were no additional fees. Highly recommend this service, takes a lot of the hassle out of disembarkation. Two of our part exited at 0900 with the self asset crowd and caught the shuttle to the Budget office. Picked up the van and returned to the port (about 30 minutes total) and picked up the remaining members of the party. Since we had checked bags on board we had plenty of room in the mini van. Cost of the van was $125 no drop off fee at Orlando airport.
When you compare this to the $35 per person charge for shuttle service to Orlando there is no comparison. It would have cost us $150 for the shuttle! Plus we were able to make the drive in 45 minutes and have a nice lunch near the airport. Drop off of the van takes less than 15 minutes, Budget is located in the garage at terminal 2.
Overall impression: The ship is large, over 3500 guests. Compared to smaller ships I do not see the upside to cruising on a big ship. Therefore, we will be avoiding this size ship and looking for smaller (Holland or Princess) line ships in the future
Seas were pretty rough for the last two days. This is a large ship and you can still feel the movement throughout the ship.