This was the first cruise that my wife and i have taken, so bare with me on the this review. I am a photographer by trade and my wife is a registered nurse. I was told by a few friends that for a first time cruiser that Carnival would be the a good choice over RCCL because it is just more fun overall. We live in Montreal so getting away from the cold and kids is always a good time. LOL
Embarkation We arrived at the Port Everglades at about 1:30pm. When you get there make sure that you have all your bags tagged with the stateroom that you are going to be staying in or else it will not get to your room when you want it to. I was told this by friends and it worked out great. There was a little bit of a line that was there but nothing to worry about. We were on board in 20 minutes. The people that check you in at Carnivals section at the port were all great in that the looked like they loved there job. Tip: If you can, get to the terminal after 1:00 pm i was told by a porter that is the best time for fast check in.
Cabin We had inside cabin 1337 on the Riviera deck. This Cabin in located at midship and is great for anyone who might think that they may get seasick. I hardly felt the ship move all trip. We had some friends staying in cabin 6399 on the Upper deck they had a balcony cabin. I read the reviews here about how great a balcony cabin is but i can tell you that it is not worth the extra 300$-400$ dollars.If you can get a balcony at a great price then go for it but save your money if you can't. We were in our cabin to change and to sleep. The cabin had lots of space for two people and our room steward was great. He always had ice for use and always had the room clean. My only complaint was that the shower would drip on the floor of the bathroom if you did not put the curtain inside. I have photo's of the whole ship so you can check them out at the end of this review.The beds are some of the best i have slept on.
Restaurants,Food,bar Service, Open Areas. We were assigned late seating at 8pm in the Golden Olympian dinning room. This is a good time if you don't want to be rush for dinner. I would highly recommend the Golden over the Sliver because our Maitre'D was fantastic. I was told by some staff that he is the best of all Carnivals fleet. That is some strong words!. The food as far as i was concern was just OK. I don't have other cruise lines to compare it to so it was OK for me. In Montreal we have some of the best food in the world so i won't compare it to that. I am not a Buffet type of person so i don't know how the food there was but my wife said it was OK. We did eat one night in Harry's Supper club, and i can tell you this is the best money you can spend on this ship. The food was some of the best that i have had in a long time. If i could i would eat my supper there every night it was that good. Fish and Chips,Origami,and the Jardin cafes were the best places to eat on the ship out side of the main dinning rooms. Bar service was OK. I have had better but for a ship with 3200 passengers it was OK. The ship never felt like it had that many people on board so i guest it was planned out good. On the message boards i here people say that this ship is hard to get around. Well i don't think so if you have any sense of direction. Two decks go from front to back( Promenade,and Lido) that's all you have to remember. We went to the comedy shows and thought that they were good. We also went to the big show and also thought it was good. I was talking to one passenger that i met and he told me that the big show was one of the worse that he has seen an the cruises that he has been on, but i have nothing to compare it to so to me it was good. I did not do any of the other shows like marriage Game,and all the other cruise show stuff. Karl with a K the cruise ship director loves his job and you can tell. He was great in giving info and tips. We had some one on this cruise pass away and i would like to give me condolences to the family that was involved and would keep the person in our prayers.
Islands Weather was not the greatest on this cruise but when you are on vacation any weather is better that the weather back home. The major Complaint that i have with cruising is that the ships don't stay long enough in the ports of call for you to truly enjoy the places that they take you. My farther is a seamen and i know a little something about ships and how long it takes to get from point A to point B. We left FLL at 4:00pm on the Sunday and arrived in Ket west At 8am On monday. Well it does not Take a cruise ship 16 hours to get From Fll To Key West. As a matter a fact It takes 12 Hours to get from Fll to Jamaica our furthest port of call at full speed i was told by a crew member. Key West- They can really leave this port of Call out! Nothing much to see there. Grand Cayman- Very nice a clean place. Seven Mile beach is very nice. See tips below Jamaica - Beautiful country. I would recommend skipping Dunn's river falls and go River tubing instead. You will have a great time. Take a look at my tips section of the review for more info.
Debarkation We did the self assisted way of getting of the ship and was of and at the airport in half an Hour. I would recommend only doing it this way if you have one piece of luggage and a carry on. If you have more luggage then do it the other way that theyhave. My wife had to assist a young lady who got claustrophobic and nearly pass out in the steer well. The steer wells get very crowded so be ware of the this way of getting of the ship! It did not bother us but might some other people. Over all we had a great trip. The ship is big and has plenty of things to do so you can't get board on this ship. I would definitely cruise with Carnival again but i am not married to one cruise line and hope to try out others in the future. Good job Carnival!
Tips: 1- Make sure to travel at least one day before your cruise is schedule to leave. We did two days before and glad we did because it was a hell of a time to get there because of a Rain storm that was traveling up the east coast. These things you can't control so beware! 2-If you decide to get a rental car, make sure that the company you use is at the airport and not of site. Can be a hassle if you want to get to the port on the day of your cruise. At the Fort Lauderdale airport there is a bus that goes right to Port Everglades. 3- Bring allot of 1 dollar bills for tipping various people on your trip. 4- Book your shore excursions on line and not with Carnival you will save a allot of money. Grand Cayman- Island View tours & Taxi Service (345) 328-0356 ask for Tessa email: email@example.com. She is fantastic you will have a great time and you can make your own itinerary. Jamaica - Mc Beam Tours (www.ocho-rios.com) email:(firstname.lastname@example.org.) If you go to Ocho-Rios you have to use this person. She is great and again you can make your own itinerary. We did Shaw park(great tour for the more laid back),River Tubing(A Must),Shopping, Ruins Restaurant(Great Jamaican food) and beach for 30$ dollars a head. The four of us had the whole tour bus to our selves it can't get better than that. You will have to pay the entrance to the places that she brings you but is cheaper that the tours Carnival will charge you with a whole lot of other people. She will wait for you at every stop and is very trust worthy. In Jamaica that is a must in your tour guide. 5-If you have the time eat at the open seating in the Silver dinning room for lunch. The food is prepared for you and is a whole lot better than the buffets. 6-If you would like photo's of the ship email me a email@example.com and i will send you the link to some photo's of the ship.