EMBARKATION: we arrived at the port 10:30"ish" and were able to get right in line. People were still getting off the boat so we got thru the short line and waited to board. I'd say we were online and eating lunch within an hour. No maps were passed out but I had checked the ship out online and we knew where to go. We were asked not to go to our staterooms until 1:30.
CABIN: we had a 8A on the riviera level which was quite spacious and clean. It had an upper & lower bunk for the kids which we liked ALOT more that two uppers we had last year for spring break. Our room steward was okay but last year we had towel animals everyday and such. The kids missed that and the treat a bit.
FOOD: Platinum early seating for us. Our head waiter was Awan and was fine for us. There were lost of other waiters who seemed to engage and laugh with the families. One upstairs named Bernie was a hoot and had his table dancing oohhhing and awwwwing nightly as he brought desserts. We had one of those last year and it is great for families. Food was good in our opinion and we only had one evening when our meat was a little too done. I'd say dinner were good portions and desserts were delicious. My son LOVED the chocolate cake everyone talks about and had it everyday. My fave was baked Alaska and pina colada cake at lunch one day. We did not feel the need to pay extra for the supper club. We enjoyed the deli daily for lunch, fish and chips were just okay in my opinion, we never made it to the chinese place, and lots of people were having the sushi daily :) Red sail was good for us at breakfast as we had cereal or made to order omelets.
PORTS: Nassau we took a taxi over to check out Atlantis and look around. We then walked over to the public beach a few blocks from there next to the RIU hotel. We did not have much time there so it was not too exciting. ST THOMAS: we had booked a tour for $25 ourselves with Sunny Liston(sunnylistontours.com) and would highly recommend this. He took us and dropped us for two hours of shopping downtown and then we were off for a island tour. He had the best Caribbean music he sang to us and told us about the island. we went to the mountaintop and ended with 2-3 hours at the beach of your choice. We chose Sapherie Beach and our family enjoyed relaxing there. The kids snorkeled and I sunbathed (it was quite enjoyable). They have a small store there with drinks, snacks, souvenirs etc....... we will visit there again. Sunny picked us up and we were off to the boat. We shopped at the port before getting back on the boat. ST Marteen: we had booked the Rhino Rhiders ourselves again thru excursionworld.com $45 per person and this was our best day. We had two boats(sorta like big boat jet skis) and had 9 people on our tour of the waters. We headed out for snorkeling or you could go to the beach. My 15 yr old LOVED this. Carnival offered the exact same excursion for $89 per person and there were like 50 people getting there when we left. I know they did NOT have enough boats for that many people. Taxi was $6 per person there. Did some shopping and then back to the ship.
ENTERTAINMENT: we enjoyed most shows even though we are not huge Vegas show lovers. Our favorites were the illusionist and the comedians. Definitely go to the over 18 late night comedies we laughed and laughed. We really like the Legends show on the last night as well. Our cruise director Wee Jimmy hmmm...... we really did not see much of him at all. He was funny when we saw him onstage but never saw him any where else(besides cabin tv haha) CASINO: we played quite a bit the first night and did well. First night is the night to play as they have lower limits. Of course we ended up peddling our winnings away thru the week. Drink service was great in the casino by a girl named Mila...... we always looked for her. My one bar complaint they will only give you the buckets outside at lido deck. They will refill inside if you have one and you save several dollars per buckets :) Our dinner bar server was Juargita she was a cute blonde who was GREAT as well at dinner and in the clubs in the evening. Look her up and she will treat you good. CLUBS: we never made it to the disco but it always looked hopping as we went by. We enjoyed the live band , piano bar was fun, and karaoke. Some people really do think they can sing.... go figure??
KIDS PROGRAMS: my 15 yr old daughter has enjoyed and met people on both of our cruises we have been lucky. She hung out with the same group of girls all week and it was nice she was excited to go and go and go. My 11 yr old son ...... he preferred the room. Irritated me a bit as there is so much more to do but it was his vacation as well. Maybe next year he will get more involved.
GETTING OFF THE SHIP: do not be in a hurry. I suggest sleep in :) We left our room at 10ish and were the last to be called off so it seems like forever. That is part of it, we were not flying out until Sunday anyways.
OVERALL: we will definitely cruise with Carnival again. Spring break next year for sure but hopefully before as well. Lots of teens during spring break but I did not see any unruly or out of control. My daughter did tell me a teen was drunk and had to be escorted out by security at one of the events. Parents need to keep better tabs on their kids. I saw a couple dads giving their teen drinks of beer. STUPID in my opinion. 2 more things...... we rented a car from Thrifty and someone next to us from Enterprise........ don't do it!! both only have one pickup van and the Enterprise people had been waiting over an hour when we got off. Budget, and Hertz had 5-6 shuttles kept stopping to pick up. We will definitely use one of them next time. Raddison at the port was clean and close. Pool was closed for some reason so that was a bummer. We ate at the famous GRILLS restaurant we had read so much about. We waited forever but our food was good. It was a great hang out place for cocktails and love music. We'll do that again if we go out of PC again. These are just my opinions.... we all make our vacations as much or as little as we want. I hate picky people who can't go with the flow. Our rooms and all the areas were clean. I hated that they don't enforce the no saving chairs rule: they need to re think that.