My wife and I sailed on our first cruise/honeymoon cruise on 3/26/06. Sorry it has taken me a long time to write the review, but I just never thought about it.
Booked through online only travel agent and included cruise air. Total cost was around $2,400.00 (airfare was not cheap either booked separately or through cruise line.) We were in a cabin 6432. It was one of the special L-Shaped Cabins that had a queen bed and huge balcony.
We left Raleigh around 7:30 and connected in Wash. DC - Reagan Airport to Ft. Lauderdale. Once in FLL we got our bags and found the Carnival rep. She made us wait forever. We arrived in FLL around 11:00 and were made to wait until 2:30 to leave for the ship. We were not happy and the lady that worked for Carnival must have been recruited from the DMV. She had no personality and was very rude. I asked her several times that if it was going to be awhile more that we needed to go get some food and come back. She just kept telling us that if we left for some food and the bus was ready, they would not wait. So we finished off what snacks we had.
We did not make it onto the ship until 4:00PM. We went to our stateroom and ran upstairs to get the scraps that were left over in the buffet as we were getting told to go to the muster drill instead. We shoveled some food and made it to the muster. From then on it was a awesome trip!
Day 2 - At Sea - It was a nice relaxing day, especially after the wedding and the traveling the day before. Unless it is Key West or something, I will try to get a cruise that give us a sea day the first day. We explored the ship and just kind of hung out and recuperated. It was Spring Break and we could forget about getting a lounge chair on the deck, so we usually sunned on our balcony (had 1 table, 1 lounge chair, and 1 regular chair.)
Day 3 - Costa Maya - We docked and walked into the port area. We went to the shuttle bus area and bought a ticket into the fishing village to meet up with David and Ivan at the Cat's Meow. Had some great Chips and Salsa with a Coke Light for a few bucks while waiting. We did the Mayan Ruins tour with David and Ivan and it was worth every penny. I would recommend them anytime and we are thinking of booking again for March when we go. Did some shopping in the pier area before going back to the ship. Had a great time watching all those drunk people trying to run down the pier to get to the ship before we left. :)
Day 4 - Sea Day - Just enjoyed being on the ocean. Had to keep the wife out of the Casino. I had this thing were I at least wanted to leave with some money as a winner. Well I would win and she would take it and loose it.Ugh!
Day 5 - Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - Booked another private tour. Had to tender off the ship and felt like a cattle herd. Mooo! or should I have said MOOOOVEEEEEE! It took awhile and you were out of luck if you needed the restroom or anything else. We should have had more tenders going. There were 8-9 Large cruise ships there at once and the big tenders were splitting the time. We had to wait awhile, but finally met up with our excursion operator. We did a tour of the island that went to the Turtle Farm (great place,) Hell (Why was it so hot there,) Tortuga Rum Factory (Lots of people with canes beating you down to get free cake,) and StingRay Sandbar. The Stingray Sandbar was great, although very very crowded. The rays were so full that our guide had to actually just grab one to show us as they could have cared less about our food. Traffic was horrible on the way back and I just closed my eyes when we were driving down back streets, alleys, parking lots, and through drive ways to get us back to the tendering line in time. The line to get back on the ship took well over an hour and half. We saw some kid try to run across the street and got hit by a car. He was flung up over the roof. Police were there quickly and the ambulance had a very hard time getting there in traffic. We found out that he was from our ship and was going to be ok. They had to get his parents off and their luggage as we were coming back into the ship.
Day - 6 - Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Docked. Only two ships there and it was nice, just us and a German Aida ship. It looked like most of them stayed on the ship as their pool deck was quite full. We booked a private tour through Pete Taylor and it was great. We went to Dunn's River Falls first, then did a tour through the Fern Gully Rain Forest and then up a mountain that was parallel with the Blue Mountain. This was great as we got to go see a small school and the children sang to us ( big plus as my wife is a K-Teacher.) We finished it off with a trip to the Wasai Pottery Factory, a hour or so trip for some shopping, and then back to the ship. It was pure chaos getting onto the ship. A large mass of people trying to get on again.
Day 7 - Another lovely day at sea just relaxing and eating.
Day 8 - Return to Miami. It was fairly easy to get off the ship, just had to wait in the lounge for awhile. We were in the early off group to get to our flight in time.
The ship itself was great, only a few issues. The kids down the hall were on our nerves every time we went out. There parents did not care, they were in their balcony room getting drunk across the hall. Had to grab one kid as he started to run into my wife because they were playing football in the hallway. Our tablemates (4 person table) were party hardy frat boy and sorit girl. They were drunk most of the time and they took turns with only one of them showing up a few nights. We always ate at the dinning room for dinner and it was a great experience. Received a few meals that were not to my liking and they brought other things out without me asking. Great waiter!
We are cruising again this March, but on the RCL Splendour of the Seas. Carnival is nice, but I want to try something that is less flashy. The traffic flow of the Victory was horrible around the centrum. It was very hard to get in and out of the shops. The decor was ok, not the best, but not the worst of Carnival from the pics I have seen. They need to get rid of Farkus and get a new designer.