This was my first B2B cruise; did the 8N followed by the 6N(my 30th and 31st cruises)
Embarkation: I arrived at Miami airport where Carnival has a check-in counter in the baggage claim area. They tell you to collect your baggage prior to check-in; however, unless you are taking a Carnival transfer to the port, check in first and then collect your bags to avoid the crowds that gather following baggage pick-up. Once you check in, once you get to the port terminal all you have to do is show your room key and you will go right through. Very simple and painless.
Cabins: Booked an inside cabin, no issue except it was on deck #2 in the rear and you could hear the engine noise every time we docked; also the walls seemed very thin as I could hear my neighbors every so often late at night and early in the morning; otherwise I was a happy camper.
Dining/Food: I selected “anytime dining;” initially anytime dinning was a total disaster - waiting time just to get into the dining room was 30 minutes, so what was the point. However, it seemed that the masses wanted to eat between 6:30-7:00pm, so I made a few adjustments, worked with the Hostesses, and it eventually worked out smoothly. Dining room fare was fine - nothing superb except for the yummy Lamb Chops. I am not a big breakfast person so I often stopped at deck 5 mid ship/Ocean Plaza where a small continental breakfast buffet + scrambled eggs was set-up. Very nice place to relax - no crowds plus you can eat outside on the deck and enjoy the breeze. For lunch, the choices are endless, from Indian, Pizza, BBQ, and Mexican - I could go on and on; more than enough to satisfy even the most finicky eaters. Lunch time seemed to be my favorite.
Public Rooms: The ship features simple neutral colors unlike other Carnival ships; the 4th and 5th decks serve as the main hub of activity, i.e., shops, casino, lounges, photo, and library. A HUGE TV screen is on deck #10 overlooking the pool. This screen displayed various scenes of concerts during the day, but evening showings included movies with popcorn if you could eat another bite. The casino, though not smoke free, was acceptable, and the Texas Hold’em tables were usually busy.
Entertainment: You will find music playing at several locations throughout the ship. There is a piano bar, variety music in the lounges, disco and Atrium, and Karaoke is featured nightly at various times and locations. The Atrium features music (different bands on the ship rotate). The disco played a good selection but was empty on most evenings until late. My wife loved the band (#Rhythmnation) that played at Ocean Plaza deck 5 - only issue was that the area on deck 5 was quite small to hold the massive crowd and big sound from the band.
Ports/Excursions: Fun ports and numerous excursions, all on my own plus got fellow CC members to join.
Activities: Trivia - offered every 30 minutes on sea days; bean bag toss tournaments, team volleyball, soccer and hoops are also offered on sea days; while ping pong and foosball tournaments are only on port days. The rope course was very simple and putt putt was fair; bingo is promoted at different times; and you can always attend the art auction and drink free champagne or window shop in the mall/shops area.
Disembarkation: Started off as a disaster as the lines were held up for 30 minutes due to overcrowding in customs/baggage claim; however, once it started to move, we were off the ship and outside waiting for transposition in less than 10 minutes.
Overall: Nice ship, standard Caribbean itinerary, great service, wonderful staff - what more can be said. Carnival seems to be working hard trying to come up with new and innovative ideas. For the 8N cruise, there were very few kids and average age would be 50-70, while the 6N cruise had over 600 kids and a much rowdier and younger crowd. The cruise staff was superb and did everything possible to keep passengers happy. Cannot wait for another B2B cruise.