Background Info: This is my third Carnival cruise and I have never cruised on a different line. I am 25 and traveled with my boyfriend (30), parents (52), brother (22), and brother's friend (22).
Embarkation: relatively painless in my opinion. The line was consistently moving and there were always people pointing you in the right direction...they even spotted some line cutters and threw them to the back of the line.
Decor: Liked the Americana theme. Thought it was appropriate, and although a bit gaudy and casino like it was still very endearing.
Food: We ate in the Lincoln Dining Room. I was always happy with my food there. Rosie's is good for what it is. I really liked the deli and the pizza counter. The low fat frozen yogurt machines were a nice surprise as well. One thing I was disappointed with was the Sushi bar. I was super excited to have a sushi bar on board but they only had about three options a day and they were only opened about three hours a More
day, which of course conflicted with dinner.
Entertainment: We went to almost all the shows. My favorite was the 80's show, it was by far the best. Loved the comedian Jim Brick. I don't know if it was just our boat, but Karaoke was like the thing to do every night. It was great for a good laugh and the Eagles lounge (where it is held) is a really comfortable place to hang out.
Ports: Grand Cayman - We did not book an excursion for this port. My family and I have been to this island before and we did the Stingray City tour, which is a lot of fun. This time we decided to take it easy so we just took a taxi to Seven Mile Beach. Finding a taxi was not hard and cost about $5 a person. I had heard this beach was very touristy, but it wasn't nearly as crowded as I had thought it would be. My boyfriend and I rented two lounge chairs and an umbrella for $20. We also rented a kayak for an hour, also for $20. They had plenty of things to rent there; wave runners, sail boats, snorkel stuff, etc. I would definitely recommend going here if you don't have excursions planned; it's a lot of fun and a really beautiful beach.
Roatan Island - In Roatan we booked a tour guide with Bodden Tours (boddentours.com). It cost $25 per person and we got our own tour guide and air conditioned van. Our driver Juan Carlos was very knowledgeable and he taught us a lot about the island. We, minus my parents, went zip lining at Palmetto Canopy Tours and had a ton of fun, even though it was extremely exhausting. Then we went snorkeling at Half Moon Cay...gorgeous reef. I would highly recommend booking with Bodden tours, they are relatively inexpensive (compared to Carnival excursions) and extremely professional.
Belize - I couldn't resist the cave tubing excursion in Belize. We booked with cave-tubing.com. Much cheaper than Carnival and they take you through an extra cave. They also hook you together and drag you down the whole river. The Carnival folks are left to fend for themselves and frequently get lost from their parties. Our guides from cave-tubing.com were great too. They were funny and knowledgeable, which made for a really great time.
Costa Maya - We took a tour of the Mayan Ruins at Chacchoben. We booked this tour with TheNativeChoice.com. Our tour guide, Ivan, was awesome. His knowledge of the site and the Mayan culture was impressive. He was raised in a small Mayan village, so his stories about growing up Mayan were really remarkable and extraordinary. My whole party enjoyed this tour, some even saying it was their favorite of the week. I would highly recommend this tour, maybe not for little kids though because it is very much like a history lesson.
Debarkation: Simple. We did the self walk off thing and it was no problem at all. We were off the boat much earlier than expected.
In the end we were really sad to leave the ship. Everyone had a really great time and an unforgettable experience. I hope this review was helpful. I know that thanks to reading other member reviews in the months before leaving we got a lot of ideas and were really able to get the most out of this vacation. Less