We planned this trip instead of doing a big christmas this year and brought 14 people ranging in age from 5-80 years old. This is my 2nd cruise personally and the first time on Carnival. Our first cruise was with Royal Caribbean. Lets get the bad parts out of the way first. I have never stood in line so long for anything as much as i did to embark and even the buffet lines were insane. I only ate at Emile's once due to the horrible wait time just to get food.. I am not sure what the hold up was and maybe it was just my timing but we stuck to the dining room. The embark process was unreal. From being dropped off to onboard was over 1 hour 30 mins. That seemed excessive to me since it was less than 20 mins on our last cruise. Now with that being said, Everything else was simply great. The staff and service was incredible. Our dining room staff went above and beyond nightly. Victor and Augustino were so friendly and after the very first night, when we went to breakfast the next morning they greeted the entire group of us by name. Every night at dinner my 5 year old cousin was sound asleep before dessert so Victor brought her a plate of no less than a dozen cookies so when she woke up she had a bedtime snack. The food was wonderful and only the lobster was less than great.. but how you do lobster for 2500 people i don't know.
With such an age gap we were really looking forward to the kids programs. With kids aged 5, 10, 12, 15 and 17 they were all in different age groups and they really wanted to spend more time together so we really didn't utilize all the options but everything the kids did do they enjoyed.. except for the older kids who hated the club O2 only because there was really no one there and not much to do.. But when did you please a 15 and 17 year old?
The 30 something women on the cruise (myself included) found ourselves spending a ton of time at the Cabinet bar listening to the Joseph Filipow trio. The guys were amazing and even put up with requests:) ps. Don't ask him to play lynyrd skynyrd:) They do play a mean version of mission impossible.
All in all we had a great time on the ship. Including my BF winning 400 bucks at the casino.
We stopped in the Bahamas for just a half day so no excursions there just walked around the shops. The stop was far to short and we felt just a bit cheated out of a day with only 4 hours on the island.
The Grand Caymans were nice. Most of us just got off and took a taxi to the public beach for $4 bucks a person one way. The excursion cost for beach transport was $29 a person.. wayyyy to much for a ride to the beach.
Some of the group did the snorkel and really enjoyed that.
When we got to Ocho Rios we had pre booked with a tour company called Mark's Tours independently of the cruise ship and boy are we glad we did!! He did the most amazing job!! We did the Dunn's River climb and went tubing down the White river. He gave a great presentation of the country and even took us to Fern Gulley and in to the shops. It was a full 7 hours and it was only 55 per adult and 45 for the kids. No worries about making to the ship on time as he was so trusting and would have done anything to ensure we made it back on time! Cant recommend him enough!! Blew the ships excursion away from everything we heard from other passengers.
PLEASE spend the extra $30 per person and go to Harry's supper club... def deserves the 5 star rating! well worth the money.. the food is so far above the food in the dining room and even that was wonderful!! MUST DO!! If we hadn't had the kids along we very well may have gone every night regardless of the extra charge
My mom who is turning 70 this year and does not like to travel LOVED it and is spoiled now wanting full service at home now! Great Family trip.. Can't wait to do it again!