Background Info: I sailed with my husband and another couple. We've been on the Sensation, Triumph and Ectasy. We have also sailed on NCL, RCCL, Celebrity and Princess cruise lines.
Ship: The ship's dEcor is very upscale and is not as bright with neon colors as the other ships. The atrium was beautiful with the glass elevators with it's lights that change color.
Cabin: Booked an inside guarantee and was upgrade to a 4E. We were right under the aft pool. Did hear lounge chairs moving but not enough noise to hinder my sleep. The bathroom had a nice gift basket stocked with lotion, toothpaste, and razors. It was a good size shower. Our friends had an outside cabin which was larger than ours. It was very spacious.
Dining Room: We had the 6:15 seating in Golden Olympian dining room at our own table. We did not eat at Harry's as we found the food outstanding in the dining room. There was something every night that we could select from. I enjoyed having shrimp cocktail just about every night. The service was great.
Lido Deck: Service was excellent but the lines can be very long during lunch. The Deli line was long as well, but the Reubens were worth the wait. The line at the chocolate buffet on the last sea day was extremely long. I did wait for the chocolate fountain, where I had a chocolate fruit kabob. I did not eat at the chinese food or Fish and Chip station. There was a make your own soup station. My husband went to the stir fry area. It was much like the Fire and Ice restaurant. There were two grills. I did not have any burgers or hot dogs. I did have chicken wings and onion rings. Both were tasty. Breakfast was the usual fare, except there was no slice pineapple, watermelon, or strawberries. The Midnight buffet was mostly desserts. We only went to take pictures did not eat anything. Pizza was just as good as other ships we have been on. We did but chocolate covered strawberries for $1.00 each at the Le Jardin Cafe. Very good. We did not go to the mexican buffet. There was also a sushi bar.
Entertainment: We usually don't go to the Vegas style shows and singing acts, but did go as our friends who never cruised before wanted to go. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised how good they were. We enjoyed the comedian who did the ventriloquist act. Found him to be quite funny. Other comedian was just ok. Went to the piano bar and it was too smokey. If you don't smoke stay away. One night it was pretty empty and went in, but the piano man was bad on this ship. We usually enjoy the piano man on our other cruises. He was really quite boring.
The jumbotron was a nice feature. It had movies at night as well as concerts. During the day it showed the activities that guests had participated on during the cruise.
The cruise director was Todd Wittmer was ok. I remember him from the Sensation.
Ports of Call
Costa Maya: We took the taxi to Mahahual ($3 to get there, $2 to get back) and hung out at Cats Meow. It is the very first bar on the beach side of the street. I got a 45 minute massage for $20 at Charlie Brown's. It was very relaxing Beers were 6 for $10.00 and got free salsa and chips. It was quite relaxing. Had to pay for beach chairs. $10.00 for 2
Limon, Costa Rica: We did the Tortuguero Canal and Zip Line tour with Charlie Soto. We also visited a banana plantation and went shopping at a local market for coffee. We did see a howler monkey on the side of the road. Jorge was our guide and Victor the driver. At no time did we ever feel unsafe. We were suppose to go to the beach, but skipped it. I think Jorge knew of the incident and slowed our tour down so we did not have time to go to the beach. We did see a red cross truck.
Colon, Panama: We went on the Carnival Panama Canal tour. Very long day. I felt more unsafe here then in Costa Rica. Long ride on a disrepaired bus. Roads windy, and drivers were crazy. Boarded the ferry in Panama City. Went through some locks. Then boarded the bus back to the ship. Would not do it again. Now I can say been there done that.
Disembarkation: We carried off our luggage and it went very smoothly.
Overall: Great cruise. I would not go to those ports again. I do prefer ports that have more beaches, but did select this cruise due to the itinerary. Glad I did it, but would not return. I have not sailed Carnival since 2003. I was impressed on the changes that were made. I would not hesitate to cruise this line again.