Ok, we just got back on Saturday 2/2/08 from Carnival's Cruise to PR, St. Thomas and St. Maarten and we had a great time. This trip was a present to my husband for his birthday and it was well worth it. This was our fifth cruise however our first with Carnival. I was a little skeptical since the reviews from other members seemed to be mixed. However, I am happy to report that I disagreed on most of their comments.
I have to agree though that embarkation was fairly easy and the staff was very friendly and informative. Since we were travelling without our children we decided to take an inside cabin and we were surprised to how much room there was. I must say that this cabin was much larger than ones we have seen in the past on other ships. Our cabin steward, Oliver, was always on point with a smile and quick service. It seemed like you just stepped out of your room and the bed was made and the room was freshened up.
We didn't take advantage of the excursions offered by Carnival but there were plenty. In PR we decided to take in the sights of Old San Juan and have an authentic Puerto Rican dinner (Puerto Rican Cafe). In St. Thomas we wanted to go Jet Skiing in Megan's Bay (beautiful) however they did not offer this service there. I was compensated by purchasing a beautiful pair of earrings on the main drag (I'm talking diamonds here ladies). I must admit that St. Maarten was my all time favorite. I contacted a website by the name of shoretrips.com and booked a private horseback ride followed by a beach chair on the French side of the island and it was great. Jessica was our guide and she was very sweet and informative. She took us through the nature preserve then onto the beach. I rode Casanova and he knew who the boss was (it was him). He liked to eat the grass and leaves even though their not suppose to but yet was very gentle to ride. The beach was unbelievable and the beach chair the supplied on Bikini Beach was in the perfect place. There are plenty of little restaurants and vendors none of which were very pushy. They truly take things in stride and nothing is done in a hurry. My husband went to get us a cocktail in one of the restaurants and disappeared for like 20 minutes. Evidently the bar was a little backed up and to compensate his time they ended up giving him like several complementary shots! Needless to say he probably didn't need the cocktails after that but it was all in fun.
Now this is where a lot of previous reviews and I differ, the food. When we got on board I was a little nervous since everyone said that the food was bland and uninteresting. If only, my husband and I thought the food was very good although the deserts where only ok. The crème Brule and the bread pudding were delicious but everything else needs work. Don't worry the unlimited amount of ice cream more than made it up to us.
Entertainment - this is another place I thing Carnival needs to work on. There was a lot of things going on in the day time but I found that there was not too much during the evenings. Since we had the late seating at dinner (8:00pm) we had not choice but to go to the 10:30pm show (which were very good I must say). The problem was that we felt that it lacked anything other than drinking in one of the many bars. My husband and I do not drink a lot so we would end up either watching Karaoke or back in our stateroom watching television which would make us kind of tired. The shows were great and so where the comedians. They offered parties at 11:45pm but again there was a laps in time with nothing to do and we found ourselves falling asleep due to the day's events. All I'm saying is that on other cruises sometimes they offer an "adult" Simon says or make a deal or something like that to fill in the gaps and keep the people moving.
All in all this trip was great and I would definitely travel with Carnival again. Take the trip and let us know how you liked it.