I am a 32 yr. old female second time cruiser with one 17 month old child (she stayed at home). My husband is a 40 yr. old first timer. This cruise was a gift from my dad. Nine adults ranging from age 25 to 65 took this trip. Half of us from Baton Rouge, and the other from Albuquerque. We had inside cabins all in a row on deck 7. We drove in early and got to the port in Galveston before 11 am. We were on the ship in an hour. You definitely want to do this as the other half of our crew flew in and said the lines to embark got hairy after 12. In my checked luggage (all in their original packaging) I had: two bottles of merlot, a bottle of vodka, two cans of pineapple juice,and a two liter of diet coke. No problems whatsoever! We went straight up to Lido deck 9 to grab some drinks and wait for our rooms to be ready. My hubby,(always the patient one) went to check anyway and they were ready an hour early. We were pleasantly surprised to find our room was really nice! I was worried about the inside cabin, but our single beds were made up as a queen and there was plenty of room for us and all our stuff. That is saying alot b/c I'm pretty high maintenance and my hubby packed more than I did! Our cabin stewardess, Adrianna introduced herself immediately and was awesome the entire trip-room was always immaculate, kept ice in our cooler and bucket, towel animals every night, fixed our drain and our bathroom light before we could even tell her we were having a problem with them.
We gave her $20 cash the first night and she was right there every time we needed something. We had dinner in the formal dining room (Renoir) every night but one (after Cozumel)..more on that later. Our waiter, Gorge, was fantastic and the food was good. The chocolate melting cake is as good as I heard. Lobster, escargot, and beef wellington were among the best all week. Other than that, we ate the buffets for breakfast and lunch. We try to eat healthy and it was easy to do b/c there was always baked or grilled fish and chicken, salad and fruit to choose from. Do not bother trying to sit in the dining room for breakfast.(This is not the same dining room/table we had for dinner.) It is the same stuff you get at the buffet except you have to wait for it, you get smaller portions, and they seat you at tables with people you don't know! Not something I want to do before I have satisfied my coffee addiction. One major thing I would change was our dinner time. It was at 6:15. I usually eat at this time or earlier at home so that is why I chose it. Big mistake! If it's a sea day,you have to go back to your room to get ready at 5 and things are just starting to get really interesting on deck around then. If you were in port that day, you're just getting on the boat and you have to rush to get ready and you miss the sail away parties they have each time. Also, you're done eating by 8 and guess what? NOTHING is open or happening. The clubs don't open until 10. The other half of the ship is going to late seating dinner(8:15). After eating a big meal and sitting around for two hours, everyone kind of lost the liveliness we had at dinner and it was hard to get everyone to come back out and party. Carnival needs to work on this.
I could have done without Jamaica. I suggest you get a pass to a resort and go directly there, go to Margaritaville and party or don't get off the ship. We did an excursion (stingray/snorkel)in Grand Cayman bought through Carnival that was an unorganized ripoff. We should have booked with Captain Marvins but we were paranoid about getting "left". The only place I would worry about that is in Jamaica, not here. In Cozumel we finally got smart and rented a moped. We toured the island all day at our own pace and did what we wanted: ate at obscure local restaurant, stopped at deserted roadside beaches,you name it. $50 bucks and worth more. We turned in the moped and went to Carlos and Charlies. I got drunk as a skunk and danced my ass off. We had a great time. Back on the ship went to sail away bathrobe party. We didn't make dinner that night. Hung out in the aft adult hot tubs. In a nutshell:don't buy the tattoos on the boat. They come off quickly and you can get henna ones in the terminal at Cozumel for 1/3 price. Bring a power strip and extension cord. Leave the clothes pins-still don't get that. Embarkation is a nightmare and all sources of personnel gave out misinformation. Learn all you can on this board BEFORE you even get on the ship. We got screwed carrying our own luggage off to be "quicker" and then they didn't call our floor until almost last. Get a porter as soon as you get off! don't wait in that line in the customs terminal. There is a separate line to get a porter.