Embarkation was delayed due to the late arrival of the Legend into port, related to fog. DH walked to Publix while I waiting in line - in the shade, which was very lucky as the day grew hotter. At one point, Carnival employees passed out bottled water and granola bars, which was thoughtful. Our room wasn't ready when we finally boarded but we found a nice lounge chair, a cold beer and relaxed in the sun; very understandable and we were just happy to finally be on deck.
Our cabin was on the lowest deck - 1 - but we like to be down low where it's quiet and very little motion felt. Indeed neither of us felt any rocking of the boat throughout our 7 calm days cruising. It was obvious that the crew had little time to clean the rooms (we had to ask them to convert our twin bed set up to the king bed. The tv looked like it hadn't been dusted in quite a while. But closet space was adequate and the bathroom/shower was fine. We were surprised that there wasn't a refrigerator in our room More
- a first on Carnival. But I left a note requesting an ice bucket and it appeared the next morning (and was refreshed twice each day) to chill the pop we brought aboard as well as the champagne DH won at our CC meet/greet, organized by a lovely gal on our roll call thread. I was shocked to discover that Guest Services do not have any basic toiletries, after I discovered that my bathroom kit was forgotten at home. I was directed to the gift shop (closed) and also told that there would be plenty of shops in port, tomorrow... oops, she meant the next day. I told her I needed to brush my teeth sooner than 1 1/2 days from now. The gift shop opened a bit later and I was able to purchase a toothbrush, men's disposable razors, and deodorant, but not much else. The decor everywhere on board is totally something else and we can never figure out who designs this stuff!
We had late dining (8:15) in Truffles, the main dining room. The early is too early and 8:15 is way too late... but I don't have a better solution - guess we will choose the Anytime Dining option in the future! Dinner seems to take forever and we never got out of there before 9:30-45, at which time there is nothing going on around the ship. Since we like to get up early to visit ports, we don't make it to the late shows. We did go to the comedy show a little late a couple evenings and every comedian we saw was pretty good. There were several musicians at various bar/lounges but none that we enjoyed. The band that played for during Karaoke was good and the live music put a nice spin on it. The one night we fled dinner a bit early 9:10 (skipped dessert) we were able to watch the 'Marriage Game' but that was pretty disappointing as all of the questions asked were the same ones we've heard on previous cruises. The CD was very good but why don't they make up some new questions??
In Cozumel we took a taxi to Chankanaab where we spent the day relaxing on the beach and snorkeling (took our own equipment). The beach is quite spread out and we easily found chairs in a quiet area. Snorkeling was pretty nice walking right in from the beach. On our way out we stopped to learn a little about tequila making and enjoyed a few free samples before purchasing a small bottle to take home. Back on board we had to wait at the desk to 'check' our bottle, which Carnival then delivers to your stateroom the last night onboard. But three inebriated young ladies were ahead of us and the process took forever. Everyone that came up behind us in line took one look and then turned and just went up the stairs to their cabins.... Interesting.
We had booked a Cave Tour trip in Belize through VIV tours after reading great reviews on CC/TripAdvisor and were not disappointed. Although we were very late getting off the ship due to Carnival's excursions taking precedence, we found our connection easily and walked a short distance to meet 'Cardinal', our driver and guide for the trip. Just one other couple were in our group and we had a wonderful day. Cardinal provided a running commentary during the 1.5 hour drive to the site, which was informative and humorous as well, when appropriate. He was a very good driver and we felt safe during every moment of our trip. I had forgotten my water shoes on the ship but there was a vendor who rented 'croc' types for $3. During our short walk to the caves, Cardinal stopped often to point out interesting plants and trees, explaining how their medicinal use as well as practical remedies. During the cave tubing, he continued to teach us about their formation as well as point out various highlights, while we observed other groups simply floating along quietly, tied together in small herds. During the ride back to the ship, we were very worried that we would not make it in time, but Cardinal reassured us that the ship always left an hour later at this port. He was right - at least this time!
At Roatan we decided to just relax at the beach next to the pier. We chose to walk rather than ride the ski-lift shuttle. The beach was very crowded but the chairs were free and the water clean. Saw more fish when we swam past pier but not exceptional.
Grand Cayman is absolutely beautiful. We decided to walk to the 7-Mile Beach area, and then continued to walk quite a ways along the water's edge. A couple of spots were tricky as I didn't have on water shoes and we had to negotiate some rocks, walking in the water. But it was a gorgeous view and we stopped to snorkel at various points, which was nice but not terrific. Next time we will look for a boat to go a bit further out. At the far end of our walk we found a beach-side bar/restaurant. Split a bucket of beer (5 cans for $20 USD) and relaxed in the shade for a bit. Our walk back took a bit longer than we'd anticipated and we nearly missed the ship, catching the last tender just as it was about to pull away. Stranded in Grand Cayman? Not a bad idea...!
Overall, we had a wonderful relaxing vacation. The food was ok but nothing exceptional or memorable. Portions seemed smaller but very reasonable to us. Desserts were not very good at all. We had breakfast once in the dining room, and it was ok, but prefer the fresh omelets at the buffet. One morning I waited i line and was disappointed to be told that there were no waffles but the other buffet had them. There were listed on the menu at the start of the line, and I was not about to start all over in a different line... Coffee machines were interesting: At one end the coffee was decent but at the other beverage counter it is made one cup at a time in the machine. However this coffee was horrible! The pizza tasted better than previous cruises, but the soft serve was lacking flavor. On our last day we decided to enjoy a light brunch in the dining room. As a repeat customer, DH had received a voucher for a free cocktail (apparently Carnival thought I was a first time cruiser according to the employee at check-in). We finished our food and had still not been able to order, despite our waiter looking for someone from the bar to help us. After finally ordering, it took quite some time for the drink to arrive and it was completely melted. Didn't inspire us to order any more frozen drinks. We would have complained but it didn't want to wait for a replacement.
The Green Thunder was great! We enjoyed the usually quiet times sitting out on the Serenity deck. Other times we easily found lounge chairs at various locations. There were not many children on this cruise and a nice variety of primarily 35-75 year olds. Overall we enjoyed our mid-winter escape! Less