BACKGROUND INFO-MY NAME IS DOUG AND I'M A CRUISEAHOLIC! This is our fifth cruise, and the third cruise, all with Carnival in the last year. This is our first seven day cruise on Carnival. Once again Carnival gave me an excellent airline "interline" rate, that I couldn't resist the offer. I traveled with my wife and six year old daughter.
TRAVEL TO PORT-Flew from PHX-MCO, the day before. We rented a car at airport and dropped it off near the pier the next day, where they shuttle you for free to the pier.
HOTEL-We stayed at the Holiday Inn on the beach at Cocoa Beach. Nothing fancy, but nice location. I'm not a fan of hotels that require to enter room from outside of building, but it did have a nice water play area for our daughter to play in the next morning. On our return from cruise we stayed at La Quinta Inn in Cocoa Beach. What a dump, when they e mailed me about my stay a week later, I told them I was disappointed, and they ended up refunding my money. That was a surprise!
EMBARKATION-What a busy place! Things went as well as can be expected and we were on the ship within an hour upon arrival at the pier.
SHIP-WOW! At 110,000 tons this is as big as it gets with Carnival, The Conquest class ships are the largest afloat at this time. It was beautiful. My daughter was excited that she could use water slide because height restrictions were lowered to 42 inches, as the slide doesn't "empty out" into the pool.
ACTIVITIES-The standard stuff ice carving, hairy chest, survivor competition. Newlywed/not so Newlywed game, BINGO, casino, evening deck party, art auctions, etc.
SERVICE-Was excellent, at dinner, buffets, room service. Everything was service with a smile.
DINNING-Quality of food was good, and there were more options on lido deck including sushi, asian cuisine, and a deli.
STATEROOM-We had outside room Riviera deck. No complaints, lots of room, free sample in the bathroom.
ENTERTAINMENT-Was excellent, Glory dancers did two big shows, Las Vegas, and Broadway style shows. They also had a Magician, and comedian on board who were excellent. Just a step below quality you would see in Las Vegas, New York.
CAMP CARNIVAL-With this being our daughter's third cruise in a year, she has become very comfortable with Camp Carnival, and looks forward to spending as much time that we will allow her to stay (usually no more than three hours a day).
SHORE EXCURSIONS-In Cozumel we went over to Playa Del Carmen and went to the ancient ruins of Tulum, it was very interesting, and I remember years ago of seeing this in the movie, "Against All Odds". It was very hot and humid, and the mosquitos, and flies were all around. After the tour you have free time to explore, most people went down to the beach and jumped in the ocean, so if you do this excursion, you might want to think about wearing your swim suit underneath your clothes, as we didn't but jumped into the water to cool of anyway. In Belize, we took the private island beach break on Banister Island. This was the only day that weather played a factor, and it just poured for an hour on the beach till it stopped. It was overcast all day, so the sun didn't come out to show us the beautiful water. It was still a great time and would do it again. We saw dolphins on the return from the island to our ship. In Costa Maya, we did a beach break at Uvero Beach. we had a good time, however in hindsight, we could have saved money and stayed at the resort right by the pier, which had a big beautiful pool and beach area for an affordable price. In Nassau, we did a tour of Paradise Island. I would rather paid to use the water facilities on the resort for the day if I had planned better.
DISEMBARKATION-This was the worst I ever saw. It took us FIVE hours to get off ship. Once again we left our bags outside our room the night before. They ship had some challenges clearing customs. When they clear you by colors, us being on the bottom deck were cleared last, and we didn't step off ship till 12:00PM.
SUMMARY-This was a great cruise, and I'm already thinking about my next Carnival adventure next spring. I sent an e mail to Carnival regarding the lengthy five hour delay in disembarkation, and they responded that for your inconvenience there would be a welcome aboard gift awaiting upon my next cruise. They got me where they want me, I guess the only way to find out what my gift will be is to book another cruise!