This was our first cruise so we didn't know what to expect. What a wonderful experience. We were totally spoilt and looked after the whole time. We chose a balcony cabin which was great as we could watch as we came into port each morning. Our stateroom was spotlessly clean and comfortable. Carmello who looked after us kept our room spotless and was on the end of the telephone if we needed him. Food was good quality and plentiful, you really can eat 24 hours a day if you want to. Service in the Washington restaurant was very good and we were entertained by the waiters nightly. There was plenty of entertainment from lively band music in the casino bar, party music out on deck or something quieter if you just want to relax. There were plenty of sunbeds on deck so no fighting to find a place to lay and relax. The family pool area was quite noisy but there is an adult pool area which is quieter and the serenity area for adult only sunbathing, though this can get full quite quickly. Although there was smoking on board we were not bothered by it, it's only in specific places and the only place we noticed it was the casino and casino bar area. We were on the upper deck and expected noise as we were above the recreation deck but we didn't hear any. We would definitely travel with Carnival again.
St. Lucia is very beautiful. The tour guide gave us lots of information on the areas we were visiting. We stopped for refreshments at a house with lovely gardens and views over Castries. We also stopped at a gift shop which gave batik demonstrations. The only criticism is that the minibus was very small (mainly because of the hairpin bends) and I couldn't sit with my husband during the trip. It was also not very comfortable due to the size.
If you are going to tour the island independently I would suggest asking the price first if taking a taxi. The prices seem to be per person and our trip to Pigeon Island cost us a return taxi fare of US$80, with the US$20 for the sunbeds and parasol it worked out a very expensive morning at the beach. There are also many people selling things on the beach which was quite annoying.
St. Maarten is a lovely place. We started by exploring the shops which are only a 15 minute walk from the port. Lots of shops and lots of choice. We then went for lunch at the Hard Rock Café which is just at the back of the beach. The beach itself is right by the port and the shops. It was the only port we went to that had a beach close by so no taxi was needed. It's a lovely beach, clear blue water and lovely sand. Sunbeds are available but we didn't use them. There are plenty of bars and places to eat at the back of the beach and nobody bothered us while we were there. We would definitely go back to St. Maarten and would like to tour more of the island. The weather wasn't great when we were there so we didn't want to go too far but everything was close to the port so we didn't feel that we had lost out by not going further.
St. Thomas is a lovely place. There are taxis waiting at the port and the prices were very reasonable. It cost US$8 per person for a shared taxi to Magners Beach which was wonderful. Clear blue water and powdery sand, this is a very long beach and wasn't crowded at all. There was a charge of US$4 per person to use the beach but this was well worth it. There are showers and washrooms at the back of the beach which were very clean. There are also places to drink and eat. We weren't bothered by anybody trying to sell things and had a really relaxing time there. Sunbeds, chairs and parasols are available at a reasonable price but there is also shade at the back of the beach, under the trees, if you don't want to hire a parasol. We had a lovely time in St. Thomas and would definitely return.