This was our first cruise experience and if they are all like this, it will be our last. We stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites-Blue Lagoon at the Miami Airport and took a shuttle from there at noon on the day of our sailing. The driver dropped us off practically at the door of our ship. Excellent service. The cost was $10.00 each. The embarkation went very well. It was about 45 minutes and we were on the Lido deck. Our rooms were not ready yet so we lined up with the other cattle for a bite to eat. This was the beginning of 7 days of line ups. This was also our first experience with Rosie's restaurant. The food there was not even up to standards for your regular buffet food. There was very little choice and the line ups were ridiculous. Over the week, we tried the Deli (long line ups and very bland), the Pizza (long line ups because there was never enough pizza ready, although is was not bad), the Asian (long line ups for nothing special)and of course the Washington Dining Room (excellent service and decent tasting food). We did not try the fish and chips because every time we went there, the line up was way too long. Because ship rocked a lot, (our drawers in our cabin opened and closed most nights),there was quite a few people that could not stomach the full dining experience and it was very difficult to find any lite food. There were no cookies or crackers to be found unless you ordered room service (which we did several times). Speaking of room service, everything you order will be cold when you get it so make sure you order fruit etc.
The cruise director (Chris) was the most annoying person and he was there for every show. He constantly tried to sell and his talks were very contrived. The entertainment was very poor. The dancing and singing were like something you would expect from a high school. I would not pay a dime to see any of the comedians we had. The lounges and bars on the ship are all smoking except for one which had karaoke going all week. We had smokers on both sides and below our balcony so quite often their smoke would come into our balcony, chasing us back into our cabin. The line ups to get on and off the ship were incredibly long. Three times out of four ports, we were lined up the stairways to get off the ship. Once it was 25 minutes and a lady passed out due to the heat. Getting back on the ship was not as bad but we did stand in a line up for 45 minutes in Belize, just to get a tender. The disembarkation went very smooth except that we booked a shuttle to the Miami airport through Carnival and they parade you to a Greyhound bus (which was quite comfortable) but the bus driver could not figure out how to fit all the luggage in the storage bins and it took him 40 minutes. I have to say that with the way the cruises were built up, it was a huge let down for us. I expected top quality food, top quality service, and top quality entertainment. The only thing we received that I would consider top quality was the port of calls.
Grand Cayman-We did the snorkeling off the shore and it was fantastic. We had lunch in a restaurant called Ocean Breeze and the food was fantastic.
Roatan-We did the Island tour which was really informative. This island is very poor and we found a lot of people relied on the cruise ship for an income. Expect to get approached many times by the islanders selling their goods.
Belize-We did the Altun Ha-River Tour which I highly recommend. The river tour was by far the most interesting part of this excursion. We saw Dolphins, Monkeys, Bats, and lots of Iguana's. The trip to the Altun Ha ruins was a bit rough but it's in an air conditioned bus.
Cozumel-We did the Ruins of Talum tour. Unfortunately, we were not told until we left the ship that we would have to take a sea taxi to Play Del Carmen in order to take this tour. Had the girl at the Carnival excursion desk told us this, we would have chose another tour. The Ruins of Talum were fantastic but more than half of our tour group got sick on the taxi ride. Not a good start to a 7 hour day in the heat.