This was our 5th Cruise with Carnival and 6th overall. My wife(55) and I(54)arrived in Fort Lauderdale a day early on November 14th. Never know what the weather is going to be like in Michigan in November. We stayed at the Comfort Inn Suites/Airport. They had a shuttle that picked us up at the airport and took us to the hotel. Hotel was clean and had a free breakfast which was okay.
Embarkation: We took a taxi from the hotel to the Port and it took about 15 minutes to get there and unload our luggage. We went right through security, upstairs and had our documents by 11:00am. We sat for about 1/2 an hour and they started to board us. We were on the ship a little before noon. We went up to the LIDO grill and had lunch then explored the ship. We obtained access to our room about 1:00pm and dropped off our carry-on items. Luggage arrived around 2:30pm. Went to muster drill about 3:45pm. Went back to room to get rid of life jackets and went back up on deck for sail away.
Dining: Only problem we experienced was they had us booked for late dinner and that doesn't work for my wife as she is a diabetic. They changed us to the 5:45pm dinner time. We were at table 346 and Joseph was our waiter and Sirenta was his assistant. We ate every night in the Dining Room except one. The second formal night we ate on the LIDO deck as we didn't want to have to get dressed up. We ate breakfast and lunch most days in the Bacchus Dining Room. We liked being waited on and not having to stand in line. We did eat in Horatio's several times for breakfast and lunch, but found we liked the Dining Room better. Service in both dining areas was very good. Entertainment: We checked our Capers every day to find out what was going on for the day. Used a highlighter to mark the things we wanted to see and do everyday. You can do as much as you want or as little as you want every day. We enjoyed the contests on LIDO deck by the pool as it is amazes me how people will let themselves go when they are away from home. We really enjoyed the shows at night and the Beatles tribute was great.
Service: We had very good service in the dining room and our cabin was always clean and always had the ice bucket filled for us. Service around the ship was very good, too. Found that most of the staff had a smile and a hello for you when we were walking around the ship. Of course it helps if you're pleasant to them, too.
Shore Excursions: We booked our Panama Canal tour and our Costa Rica tour through the ship. In Panama we took a tour of the canal and it was well worth the money we paid. We took a bus to Panama City on the Pacific Coast and boarded a small ferry that took us through 2 of the locks. It was very interesting watching them raise and lower the large ocean vessels through the locks. They showed us where they are building the new locks so that the big ocean liners and cargo ships can go through the locks instead of going around South America then back up to Central America. In Costa Rica we took a River and Banana Plantation tour. We saw monkeys, three toe and two toe sloths, AntEaters, many, many different species of birds and crocodiles. It was a very interesting trip. We went through a banana plantation then they took us to a banana plant where they prepare the bananas for transport to US. It was quite interesting. We'd been to Belize before so we took a tender to shore and shopped and then went back to the ship and had the pool and hot tub pretty much to ourselves. Really quiet back on the ship.
Disembarkation: We had a 1:30pm flight out of Fort Lauderdale back to Michigan. Our number was called and we were off the ship by 9:30am and took taxi to airport and arrived about 10:00am. Plenty of time to catch our flight. We are already booked for an April cruise on the Carnival Liberty for an Eastern Caribbean 8 night cruise.