Pre Cruise: We booked the night before the cruise at Gaido's Seaside Inn on Sea Wall Boulevard. Gaido's allows you to park your car for the week free in their lot during your cruise, except during the summer months, if you stay there for the night. We were walking up to the office to check in around midnight when a couple pulled up in a truck and asked if we knew anywhere that had a vacancy. They said they had been driving around for hours looking for a room. We were very glad we had reservations. The room was basic and clean. Privacy was good. The staff was helpful, and the continental breakfast was decent.
Cabins: We had two cabins on Riviera Deck. We were pleased with the size of the window in the Ocean View cabin. It was large enough that I could sit in it with my wife sitting in front of me and I am over six feet tall. Our kids were in the very first inside cabin on the right side of Riviera Deck. There was a noticeable sewer gas smell in the passage way outside their cabin and they complained about occasional loud metallic banging noises during the night.
Excursions: Jamaica: We went to Doctor's Cave Beach. They only take cash, no credit or debit cards. Take the vans and cabs inside the fenced area at the port. Just because a cab driver has a government issued badge does not mean he will not rip you off. Be clear about the fare before you get in the cab. We were there on the local Memorial Day holiday, and it was hard to get cash. I ended up going back to the ship to use the ATM on board and got ripped off on the cab fare. My cab driver also showed me his stash of Marijuana (maybe an ounce) and hinted that I could buy some. Be security conscious in Jamaica. It is a very laid back, fun place. Just be aware of your surroundings. DW and daughter went shopping in some of the local shops and felt safe. At noon, my son and I went back to the ship, grabbed a bite of lunch and went to the Rain Forest Canopy Tour. Insect repellant towelettes and water shoes are helpful for the Rain Forest Canopy Tour. They are very safety oriented. I started to say it is one of the safest things you can do in Jamaica, but then I remembered a couple of people with minor injuries. One person sprained his ankle and one hurt her knee. My guess is they did not slow themselves at the end of the last zip line. They were in other groups, so I do not know how it happened. My son and I felt very safe. Anytime you are in a tree, you are connected to a safety line. When you are riding the zip lines, you are harnessed to two parallel lines with one above the other. I think there were seven zips. The last one is longer than the Carnival Conquest, and you are literally in the tree tops. It was a blast. Cozumel, MX. We booked the Dolphin Swim Adventure at Dolphin Discovery online. The online process involved receiving a form via email which had to be printed out, filled in and faxed to Dolphin Discovery. It was not too cumbersome as we have a fax machine at home. I was concerned about this excursion because the dolphins were pinned up. But I grew up in the days of Flipper, so I was unable to resist the temptation to actually swim with a dolphin. Dolphin Discovery Cozumel is located in Chankanaab National Marine Park. Chankanaab is a beautiful park. The facilities are very modern and stylish. We lounged in the pool until it was time for our dolphin swim. When we walked out to our pen, the dolphins were jumping up out of the water. You walk out into the pen on a ledge of steel mesh on one side of the pen that is about 30 inches below the water line. We were told our dolphin was a typical teenager and was sometimes rebellious. The website states that, "At the end, you will be able to enjoy moments of great spontaneity during your free time together." We found the process to be very structured with little spontaneity. Our dolphin proved to be rebellious and refused to participate in some of the interactions of the Swim Adventure, so they marched us out of her pen into another pen with a different dolphin who proved more cooperative. After the structured interactions we were marched back into the first pen. I wondered why we did not simply do the whole swim with the second dolphin, but the second dolphin had a large scrape on its snout which made it less photogenic in the videos they produced of the Swim Adventure. They showed us the video after the swim, but I declined to purchase it. It was well done especially considering the short amount of time they had to work on it. After the Swim Adventure we went snorkeling in the park. They have a large area cordoned off with a cable and buoys. When I first saw part of it I was disappointed that it was not larger. Then I realized that the dolphins were in pens that were less than 1/100 of this area that I thought was small. Then I was disappointed that I had booked the swim adventure.
Entertainment: The singers, dancers, and magician were disappointing. The comedy routines were pretty good. Mark, the cruise director was great. The Newlywed Show was fantastic.
Pictures: They took very professional pictures and even found time to retouch them before printing them. They are expensive but good.