This was our first time on a cruise. We traveled with a group of six couples. Overall we had a fantastic time and will definitely be going on more cruises in the future.
We opted for "Cruise Air". That was a mistake. Our flight there was about as indirect as you could get. Our first flight left at 11:30 pm on Saturday and we flew all night. The airport transfers were a bit confusing as well. For some reason, a group of twelve was overwhelming to them and we had to go on separate shuttles.
Boarding the ship was incredibly painless. It helped that we are Canadian and didn't have to go in the standard line up.
The ship was fantastic. We had a balcony room which was perfectly clean and quiet. One couple in our group had a problem with cigarette smoke in their cabin, but to our surprise Carnival completely removed the smell within minutes of our arrival. The only thing for me that was a bit negative the ship's dEcor - it was a little gaudy in my opinion. That being said, the ship's dEcor did not affect our enjoyment in the least.
We had the late seating time for dinner. We loved that, and ate in the dining room every night. Our waiters (G and Seraj) were unbelievably fantastic! Each night after dinner Seraj did a magic show for us that was better than the actual magician that came on board. The food and service was fantastic. Our only complaint with the late seating was that it conflicted with Karaoke, and we were looking forward to that. Oh well.
We had a really good time on the ship. There were a couple of things that were a little frustrating. - Every time we went for an activity in the main theater the bingo game was running late, so we had to sit through 10 to 15 minutes of bingo before our activity began. - Deck chairs were near impossible to get. They had huge stacks of them at the rear of the ship, but there was no where to set them up. We ended up hauling those chairs to an open space any time we wanted to use them. It is also really irritating that people insist on saving those chairs all day, and they never seem to use them.
Our first stop was Montego Bay Jamaica. We opted for the Sandals resort excursion. I wouldn't recommend that. Most of the activities were booked up by those actually staying at the resort, and again no chairs. The time also went so quickly. We had a much better time at the craft market and making friends with a local taxi driver who took us around.
Next was Grand Cayman. This is a good spot to book an excursion with the cruise line. We booked one for first thing in the morning, so it was fairly painless tendering ashore. It was still a challenge to navigate through the crowds on the boat trying to get off. You literally had to push and shove to get through the crowds that weren't supposed to be there.
Cozumel was the last stop. We booked an excursion to the ruins in Tulum. This was a complete night mare! We had to be tendered off the boat, and they were trying to get us off first. The hallways were completely packed and we again had to push and shove to get through. There were quite a few people who did not make it on the tour - thankfully all our group did! The other frustration was that we were packed into these hallways and people couldn't wait until they got outside to start smoking. It just isn't very considerate in such close quarters.
We went to the main show, but left after a few minutes. Not our thing at all. The Motown singer was great, and some of the bands in the smaller venues were really good as well.
Disembarking the ship was also very painless. It went smoother than any of the tendered stops that's for sure. We made it back to the airport with no issues, but the "Cruise Air" flight home was even worse. They had our group separated through the planes. We managed to switch things around on the plane, but it was a mess. The flight home really ended things on a sour note.
In the future I wouldn't choose "Cruise Air", but aside from that I give the trip two thumbs up!