We flew to Tampa, Florida one day early (mainly to be sure our luggage would arrive with us and to unwind/relax). We stayed at the Embassy Suites Downtown...Beautiful! Extremely clean, friendly staff. Drinks were complimentary during cocktail hour, as was breakfast in the morning. The omelette was delicious!
We enjoyed a trolley ride(right in front of the hotel), roundtrip to Ybor City as well as using it to drop us at the ship the next day.
Embarkation was smooth and relatively quick with Carnival's friendly staff. This was our fourth cruise. Onboard, it took awhile to get our suitcases, but don't stress.
The ship was ornate, clean and enjoyable! We had no complaints! We had a balcony - required for warm weather cruises and used it to relax.
Our first port was Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, where we planned a trip to snorkel with the stingrays, as well as the barrier reefs. It does seem strange to walk among huge stingrays, but do it! They are so soft and gentle - absolutely amazing.
The second port was Cozumel, Mexico, where we booked a trip through the cruise line to visit the Mayan Ruins at Tulum. After a lengthy ferry ride (to the mainland) and a bus ride, we entered the famous ruins. Our guides were informative and friendly. After a short tour, we were able to walk at our leisure. What history! What beauty!
The third port was Belize. We had pre-booked a tour through "cave-tubing.com" which had been highly recommended and we were not disappointed. Yhony Rosado and his qualified group, including Richard, our guide, were beyond wonderful! Ex. Yhony's guys would not let the girls carry the tubes. One lady broke her shoe and one of the guides gave her their own. Another complained of the sun and was given sunglasses from Richard. Our tour was so much better than that of the cruise ship! We tubed through two caves, not one, and were in much smaller groups! We hooked our feet to each tube and rode in single file vs. the cruise ship's "try to hold onto each other." Our caravans were orderly, and fun. Thanks again to cave-tubing.com for a fun-filled adventure (look them up on-line).
Roatan Island, Honduras was our last port and I'm sorry to say we missed an enjoyable day. My husband wasn't feeling well, so we took the day and just relaxed on the ship. The beaches are on the other side of the island, so an excursion is the way to go. Listening to the dinner conversation, we missed an opportunity to enjoy the island. Beautiful water and beaches....do plan an excursion. The kayaking/beach/snorkel seemed to be the preferred trip.
Our only complaint was the food in the dining room. It was okay, but not up to par of other cruises that we had been on. Up on the Lido Deck, the hamburgers, fries and ice cream were the most popular -yum! Do wear a watch if you go ashore. The times varied 1-2 hrs from the ship's time (which is what you go by). It got very confusing!