This was our 10th anniversary trip and our first cruise, but my wife and I had studied the reviews and forums a lot. We live near Tulsa, so we drove to Galveston and parked at EZCruise Parking. I prepaid, and the service was great and highly recommended, plus cheaper! We arrived at the terminal around 10:45 AM, and there were already long lines, but not too bad. We were on the Lido for lunch by about 12:15, starting what made for a week of great eating.
Our room was not available until about 1:30 and our luggage arrived at about 2:30. We were on the 1st floor near the aft, in a window room. The room was clean and more spacious that I expected. We had plenty of storage and it turned out to be a good spot with not much noise. We didn't have any noise through the walls, but at times I wondered if the door was made of paper, because you could hear clear the conversations outside. We brought our own cans of pop and bottles of water. We used the mini-bar to put the pop in to keep it cool.
The muster drill is a pain in the rear. We went down at the designated time and there were not many people there. Don't go early, wait until they call you. We were there for over an hour baking, while the already partying others slowly stumbled down for the 20 minutes of instruction and advertisement. Carnival is constantly advertising something, bingo, pictures, $$$$$, etc. OK, let the fun begin.
We dined in the Monet dining hall, and had our own private table. Our server Krispian was fantastic and the food was good too. The dress code is not enforced, supposedly it was business casual on non-formal nights, but there were many in shorts and Ts, didn't bother us. We ate 4 nights in the Monet and 3 times we just went to the Lido buffets.
Jamaica: we did the canopy tour, zip line adventure. Even though it was expensive, it was really cool. We never felt unsafe, bus ride or during the zip lines. The bus driver and the guys leading the excursion were cut ups, but made the trip very fun. We went right through security back at the pier with no problems.
Grand Cayman: this was our new dream home destination. This day was our only big negative experience with Carnival. We booked through Native Way Watersports to go to stingray city, snorkeling, and rum point beach. We were to meet them at 8am. We arrived in the theatre at 6:30 am to get a tender number so we would be on time. We received #1 and were told that they'd call us within 10 minutes. Then they began sending all their Carnival booked excursion folks out the door for the next hour. I asked numerous times, when we would get called only to be told very soon. At 7:45 I went up very frustrated and told her we would be late and they sent us down to board a tender, still not having called #1 yet. When we finally made it on the tender boat, there were other folks with number 4 & 5 on there with us. We were told, do not leave the theatre until called, but they were not checking. There was nothing to prevent us from going straight down without a number. We felt discriminated because we chose to go outside of carnival. On the positive, we made the excursion, and it was the highlight of our trip. The guides on this trip were very educated and it was a small group (20) so we all got to handle the stingrays and a starfish. Rum Point beach is amazingly beautiful. Lunch was provided and very good, we highly recommend this excursion.
Cozumel: We just shopped around, not much exciting. The main stores are in agreement with Carnival and really won't budge. The other more market like stores all have the same stuff, not that desiring to us. Next time we'll do an excursion here also.
We went to nearly every show, all were really good. We played trivia and lots of fun stuff like that. On the evening of the 4th of July, they had a huge Mardi Gras party between the red, white, and blue teams on the ship. This was pretty cool. We went to lots of karaoke, there are some who can and some who can't sing, but it's really fun. We laid out and swam some, but not alot. The gym is nice, went on the tour and worked out once. There is plenty to do on the ship, we were never bored.
Oh the food. I gained 7lbs and am proud of it, well not really. The lido deck is always hopping with a 24hr pizzeria, the grill (dogs, burgers, and great fries), deli, a wok, and 2 full buffets, and all the soft serve ice cream a human can stand. The formal food Gala on Thursday night was beautiful, but the sweets were way too sweet for us.
Disembarkation wasn't bad for us. We did self-assist (recommended) and they called our number first, so we were through customs and in the car by 9am. I don't know how long others were there.
Overall, we would do this again in a heartbeat. The service is amazing, the food was good, entertainment good, and we had blast.