This was my wife and sons ( 8yrs old ) 1st cruise. We have been on many resorts especially high end ones. I knew there were line ups. We booked the cruise as a time killer as we have a vacation home in Sarasota 1 hour away so it seemed convenient. Since our flight came into Tampa the day before embarking. My wife and parents kept feeding me the Koolaide as my parents have done several cruises and my wife's girlfriends kept on telling her you got to go. Off the bat I knew it wasn't for me. Anyways that's the pretext.
I hate line ups!!! Soon as we get there at the port you are welcome to a line up of a couple hundred yards deep. I was impressed how quick we got on probably 1 hr. We got on and the room was fine with an ocean view on the 1st deck which didn't bother us. The old tube (CRT) TV didn't even bother me. My kid had a laugh as he has never seen one!!!!!!
Overall the staff and crew were amazing. The shows and comedy acts were great especially the big band with section, dancers and singers. The venues where great with nice seating and acoustics. The lounge musical acts were lame and you could notice a huge talent deficiencies in there singing capabilities.
The food in Truffles the main formal dining room was OK. My wife didn't finish 2 meals we attempted there. We opted for the buffet for the rest of the cruise. It was better but not great and doable but formula kid other than cereal and fruit for breakfast hated the food.
Our steward "Bernie" was awesome. Rooms cleaned nicely 2x a day.
The days at sea were boring as can be!
On 2 ports Costa Maya and Roatan we are suppose to be getting off at 8 am. Both times were late aprox 1/2 hr. There were no weather concerns as they were perfect low sea and wind days. The line ups got easily several hundred deep and no one from the crew up dating us on status as people had excursions. Booked outside Carnival. People were getting irate. It took one passenger to go to gangway to ask and put on the heat and it was him that came back to say "Let's Go" to everyone's cheer.
I contracted the flu ontop of this which was hell. This closed environment is a nightmare I am sure with cruiselines in general. It's no place to get sick like this. Found out later that other people we met on the cruise the whole family had it and failed to tell us this when we met and shook hands. Only after they saw my wife at one of the events 2 days later where I wasn't they then told my wife about how they all just got over it. My wife told me this and I was passed along with my wife as I was in bed for about 36 hrs.
The flu finally broke thank god for Tylenol! The last straw for me came on debarkation day as we had to line up at 7 am to clear customs and get off the ship. We finally got off at 11 am. 4 hrs!!!!!!! Never again.
Trust your gut if you don't like line ups cruising won't be for you. I have to blame myself. As I told myself I would never do a cruise but the constant nagging and curiosity of my wife got to me. If you like to eat lots and there were lots of them on the ship with some of the biggest waist lines I have ever seen its for you.