This was our first cruise (myself, DH, and DD age 16) and we do not travel much so lots of new experiences. Got to Tampa the day before the cruise. Stayed @ Embassy Suites Downtown. The room was fantastic with a separate sitting room that could be closed off with a door. Lots of entertainment within walking distance. This hotel is located very conveniently near the pier.
Embarkation: We got there around 11:15. Very smooth process, no problems. We thought the ship was great. Clean, nice decor. Took a couple of days to really know our way around but soon it seemed like home.
Ports: Grand Cayman: All Stingray City tours were cancelled by the Port Authority in Grand Cayman due to rough conditions on that side of the island so we just got a cab to Seven Mile beach and rented snorkel gear and snorkeled from the beach. The snorkeling was not great, but we made the best of the situation.
Cozumel: DH went with the deep sea fishing booked through cruiseline. He had a good time with 5 other people except the seas were a bit rough. DD and I went clear kayaking and snorkeling, also booked through cruiseline and had a great time!
Belize: We booked with Major Tom, even though I am a total worrywart. Major Tom met us at the pier. We had a great time with George and Mike, our guides. One thing I will mention here. If you do an independent excursion to Belize, get to the Follies lounge EARLY to get a number for a tender. We didn't get there till 8am because we weren't sure what we were supposed to do. At all the other ports, clear information was always given beforehand. Anyway, we didn't get a tender till after 10am so I was completely falling apart thinking we would never get back to the ship in time. As I said above, Major Tom was at the pier and we got going soon after arriving. The cave tubing tour was lots of fun. No time for lunch or shopping since we got a late start. I heard from quite a few that went with the cruise tour that they had a terrible time. Roatan: Again, many excursions were cancelled due to weather so we had to make alternate arrangements. We did the Pirates, Birds, and Monkeys Gumbalimba Park tour. We got to take a bus ride over to the park and see some of the island. Did some shopping afterwards near the pier.
On the ship, food was good on Lido deck and great in Truffles Dining. Service was excellent. Our dining room wait staff was Ringgo, Claudia and Filip. They did a fabulous job of making our dinners memorable.
We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and thought the Carnival staff were hard working and professional overall. Our cabin was very comfortable and was kept spotless by the staff. We had a balcony which we really enjoyed. The beds were comfortable. Some of the shows were very good, some just mediocre. We had a really good time, even though not everything went as planned with shore excursions...weather has a mind of it's own....but even when the weather wasn't absolutely perfect, it was always good enough for us to have a great time.