Sorry if this is long, but I read a lot of reviews to get information and hope to share what I have learned. I read the previous reviews for about a year and usually disregard the really good and really bad ones. I have to say that I was pleasantly pleased with just about everything during this cruise. I traveled with my 17 year old son and we came from PA. It was his first cruise and my second.
Flew in the night before on Spirit Airlines and stayed in Fort Lauderdale. Stayed at the Super 8 and it was all we really needed. Free breakfast and free airport transportation. Had an independent transfer company (MJS) pick us up at the hotel and it took about 20 minutes to get to the Port of Miami. (POM). I would highly recommend this transfer company. $13 each person. The porters take your bags out front and the suggested tip is $1 per bag. We tipped more, but he never looked when slipping it in his pocket. Went through security and upstairs to receive our Sail and Sign cards. They take your photo so that no one else can use your card. The photo is not seen on the card, but comes up on their screen each time it is scanned. We arrived at 11 am and were on board by 11:45. Very easy.
We went to the Lido deck (deck 9) and had lunch at the cafe by the pool. The chicken fingers and fries were good and so were the nachos. Went into the Mediterranean restaurant for desert and found that to be nice also. We went separately so that someone could stay with our carry on bags. My son enjoyed watching the fancy cars drive by.
Nelson was working on our room when we stopped down at 2pm. We put our bags in the closet so we would not be bothered with them any more. We stood on deck and watched Miami sail away when we left at 4pm. FYI: Unsweetened Iced Tea, very strong Lemon aid and coffee is available for free all the time. You are allowed to bring on bottles or cans of pop and we brought a 6 pack with us. If you buy a coke, it is about $2 each so it wont break you if you have to buy a few and don't want to be bothered carrying them on board.
Nelson, was fantastic. He did a great job of cleaning our room and called out to us when we were walking by most mornings. We left a small tip on our pillow daily but until I put a note with his name on it, he did not take it. The last day we tipped him personally. We were on the Main floor in room 2205 and our only complaint was a loud banging. Others in the front of the ship, on all levels also heard this. Heard it when the sea was rougher.
Our dining room waiters were also top notch. Komang, Westerson and Andrei were a great team. I was very impressed with the food in the main dining room. We were in the Atlantic dining room. The crab cakes were the best I have ever had. The melted chocolate cake is yummy and the portions were just right. My son ordered 2 appetizers to help fill him up but there was never a question. I hate to see food wasted and so often portion size is too much. We even tried the unusual items, because we could. Like Escargot. Glad I tried it but will not order it again. The alligator fritters were actually good. The waiters dance one night and sing on the others. It is worth hanging around to see this.
Even though my son was 17, he did not participate in the children s club, however we heard from a guest at dinner that their 15 year old son had a great time. Our intent was to spend time together.
The show was very good. We were very impressed.
I was not overly impressed with the people from Key West as we ran into a few that were just plain RUDE. I was very put off by that but as for the town, it was ok. We booked a parasailing trip with Parawest from home and they offered a great coupon special. It was about a third the price of what the cruise ship was offering. We were very pleased with them. Wanted to try Conch Fritters and stopped at Schooners Wharf Bar and had a waitress with attitude. Would not recommend going there and the fritters tasted like they had rubber bands in them. $13 for fritters and 2 iced teas. :( We did do the City View Trolley tour and enjoyed it. It was not full and the information was good. It is about $10 cheaper than the other tours and was very good.
The Formal dinner was nice and we enjoyed dressing up. Some people came very casual and others went all out. No one made a fuss either way. We enjoyed having our photos taken beforehand. The VROOM show was after dinner and was fantastic. Very highly recommend going to see this. Surprised how many people do not do any of the shows.
We visit Cozumel every year in the summer for a week and have friends here. We LOVE this island. We did some shopping as soon as we disembarked and then headed to the marina to Scuba Dive with our friends at Eagle Ray Divers. The diving is always fantastic even if the water temp was a bit cooler than it is in June. Had dinner at El Moro and as always, it was fantastic.
Bought the coupon book on board at the Fun Shopping event but really not sure why as the coupons were limited for Cozumel and did not think I got my moneys worth. I may pass it on to my friends who cruise and hope they get some use from it.
Be sure to buy all the items you want in the duty free area in Cozumel early as they closed shortly after 9 even though we did not have to be on the ship until 9:30. I had hoped to buy some things.
Fun Day at Sea:
We took the behind the scene tour on our full day at sea. It was $55 each and very worth the price. It takes about 2.5 hours. You see the Galley, Laundry, Engine Control Room, Bridge, Crew areas and a bunch of other places. Our guide Bobby was great. I would recommend this.
Had the Brunch this day and used my prior Carnival guest free drink for a Mudslide which was quite good. Not used to drinking in the afternoon but it was free. Sat by the pool and got some sun. The Super Bowl was being played today but as my home town favorite was not in it, opted to do other things. The DJ at the main pool was a bit loud so we opted to sunbath at the back of the ship where it was quieter. Went to the Comedy show and I was very disappointed as to how disrespectful the people were to the comedian. They were so busy talking and were so loud that he continually had to try to quiet them down. Enjoyed the show but did not enjoy the rude people.
Said farewell to the great wait staff at dinner and went to the Living in America show. Since we met Pam the dance captain at the behind the scenes tour, it was fun to watch her dance.
We were up and at open seating breakfast at 7:45. My son discovered Eggs Benedict and had them every morning. We needed to be out of our room by 8:30 and we were. Decided to do the self assist luggage and that meant we could leave whenever we wanted and did not have to wait till our Zone was called. We were through customs and ready for our ride at 9:30. MJS came in about 10 minutes to pick us up and took us to FLL airport. Our flight back to PA was good but it was hard to go from 82 degrees to 28 degrees in 2.5 hours.
My only suggestion would be that there be a few garbage cans in public areas. I hate just leaving my garbage around for others to pick up. Such a small complaint......
We did a 2 tank boat dive with Eagle Ray. They were fantastic. Great personal service. Leo, Tony and Jaime were the best.
Booked with Parawest before leaving home as we found a great coupon on line. They were great and we had a wonderful time for a very low price.