We are a family of 4, DH (43) DD (10), MIL (84), and myself. We flew into Ft Lauderdale the day before and stayed with a friend who lives in Ft. Lauderdale. We got up the next morning and were very excited to start our wonderful cruise. Embarkation: The day was beautiful, and after a quick breakfast, we left for the port of Miami. Got down there at about 11:15 and after many winding lines (which did move quickly) were on board by 12:00. Went up to see our room - and of course they said rooms would not be ready till 2:00. We found a spot on deck 10 (this was our room floor) got the Drink of the day and the PARTY has started. First impressions were that the ship has seen some wear and tear. I was aware that they had gone into dry dock in Fall of 2005 - but someone was always painting, cleaning, etc so she is in pretty good shape.
Our first night at dinner set the mood for the whole week in the dining room - NOT GOOD! The service was so slow and very frustrating. It was a real disappointment because last year our dining room staff was exceptional - and this year was the opposite. Other tables would have water, bread, menus and were ordering before we even SAW our waiter. By the 3rd day we complained to the Maitre D and never went back. Had the tips removed from Sail and sign. Anyway - other than that everything was awesome! Port days out by the sea were a blast, the ship board survivor, hairy chest contest, etc were all fun to watch.
Ports of call: First stop was San Juan. Like others have said they really need to change this to possibly Key West or something. Got in at 5:00 - walked around the town and back on board by 7:00. The late night sail away party is not to be missed. It is a real blast. St. Thomas: Spent the day at Megan's bay. Very beautiful day, my daughter got her hair braided. St. Marten: Our favorite port. We went to Divi Little Bay. Rented Jet ski's and spent an awesome day there. This is a spot not to be missed. Great beach for little kids. The ocean waves come up and the kids have a blast playing in the soft sand.
The slide was closed the first two days: first day due to high winds, the second day they has to repair something. It was open after that and it was a blast. DD went down like 100 times!
Food: Since we had the dining room problem we ate at the buffet 4 nights. It was good – not exceptional. DD ate pizza and ice cream every day. Everything we tried at the NY deli was fantastic. Never tried the Hong Kong noodle or the back Lido deck for hamburgers. Entertainment: Went to a few shows. All were very good. I missed the magic show (had a good run in the casino going) but they say that was the best show of the week.
Embarkation: Our color was the first to be called – but noticed everyone just started going even if there colors were not called. 45 min from start to finish. Our flight home was out of Ft Lauderdale and that is when the nightmare began. We flew home on Jet Blue – and if you haven’t heard about their problems in the last week I won’t get into it. Let’s just say we were at the airport at 10:00 am and didn’t get home until 3:30 the next day. UGH!! Overall excellent cruise and I would love to cruise carnival again.