Me (27) and my husband (29) took this cruise and had the best time. It was our 2nd cruise, our 1st was on Carnival Fantasy in 2003 and I don't remember that cruise being near as fun as this one.
We drove from OKC to Galveston a day early and stayed at Coastal Dreams B&B. It was great, quiet, and had a pool. Wonderful way to start the vacation!
Arrived at the cruise terminal about 10:30 Sunday and was on board by 12. Not too painful of a process, lines weren't long but we were waiting for everyone to get off the ship before we could get on. We headed up to the Lido deck for the buffet and took the cruise tour with Hennie. He was great.
Our last cruise we had an interior room, but we sprung for a window this time around. Money well spent! It was great and the room was much bigger than expected. Our room steward was Agus, and we gave him a $20 bill as soon as we saw him and told him to take good care of us. He emptied out the fridge so we could put our drinks in there. We brought aboard 2 12 packs of soda (the half size cans), 2 bottles of wine, and a case of red bull. No problem. He kept our room in perfect shape and we always had a towel animal every night.
We were disappointed to find that our dinner time was not what we requested. We had wanted the 6:15 because we get hungry early but we were switched to the 8:15. We went to the maitre d to have it switched but found out we were sitting at a table with 3 other twenty-something couples, and decided to keep our time. BEST DECISION! We had so much fun with our table mates and I have not laughed that hard in years. Carnival has (on both cruises) managed to match us up perfectly with our tablemates and it made going to dinner exciting every night. Our waiter was Eka and he was so hilarious. We had fun dancing with him every night!
The first 2 days were at sea and were a lot of fun. We spent a day by the pool with one of the couples from dinner, watched all the pool activities, went down the slide a bunch. Didn't really seem to have a hard time getting a lounge chair, but the ones by the pool were always reserved or taken. It didn't bother us too much because I can only take so long of just laying down. There was too much fun stuff going on! (I can see why people say they need a vacation from their vacation, it's just non stop action!). But we loved every minute. The hairy chest contest was hilarious! We played Water Wars which was a lot of fun. My husband entered the ping pong tournament (and lost). Formal night was a blast and the shows were great. I wasn't a fan of the Vegas style dancing shows but the juggler was awesome and not to be missed!! The ventriloquist was great too! The magician was fascinating...we don't know how she did it. We missed the comedian but heard he was just OK. Be sure to get there early and sit in front. You will have to sit through Bingo...we played 3 times and lost every time. They always seem to have it before the main show.
The food was good but I often switched out my entrees to try other things. We read so much about the Chocolate Melting Cake, but found it to be too much syrup, not enough cake. The best dessert I have ever had in my life was the Bitter Blanc. Even thinking about it makes my mouth water. They should have it on the menu every night!
DO NOT MISS the Newlywed/Not So Newlywed game!!! I think in our capers it said the Marriage Game or something like that which confused us. But it was literally the most hilarious show and I was hysterical from it. The rated R version was not even close to being as funny. Wee Jimmy is AWESOME and made every show even more funny with his jokes and scottish accent. My husband and I both have said next time we cruise, we want to cruise on the ship that he's on. We became friends with him and took a pic with him too. He was so funny!
Do not miss Mardi Gras night!!! Cheer for your team! This was by far the best night in my opinion. Each team meets at different parts of the ship and learns dances, and chants, and it's a big competition. All the teams end up on the Lido to do a "dance-off" and the world's longest congo line! Beads are being thrown everywhere and the band is awesome. I can't remember the name of the band, but the lady sings and plays drums. She is AWESOME. See them whenever you can. This night kept us up late and I never wanted it to end, it was a huge ship party.
Jamaica: We shared a cab to Sunset Beach Resort. This place was beautiful. Free use of kayaks, water toys, snorkels, lounge chairs, and water park all for $40 per person. Food was included, as well as drinks. The water park had a lazy river, 2 big slides, inner tubes, and it was a lot of fun. Our only hiccup was leaving this place to go shopping downtown with the people we shared a cab with. I wouldn't recommend this, as we were offered drugs several times and were extremely pressured by the locals to buy their trinkets. We were taken back to the terminal with plenty of time and I decided to just buy things at the terminal. The prices were much cheaper than at the resort and they had all the same stuff that the locals had at their shops. Overall, a great day at the resort. If we go back, we will go back to the resort and stay all day.
Grand Cayman: Tendered in with no problem at all. We booked an excursion with Captain Marvin's for the stingray city tour. My husband wanted the experience, and I thought I did too, but I chickened out once we were there. I am not much on snorkeling and swimming with fish but I did try it. Stingray City was amazing to see, but they really did climb up on you which would have freaked me out. My husband loved it and I got a lot of pictures! We had a little time left to walk around the island but everything was so expensive and we really aren't big shoppers. Got on the tender, and back to the ship with no problems.
Cozumel: We talked the night before at dinner with our tablemates and it turned out none of them had plans for this day. So we all rented scooters and drove around the whole island. It was beautiful! We stopped at the Bob Marley Bar and had chicken tacos. A definite highlight! It was delicious. We also stopped at the Pee Pee station which was funny. Just a great day. Did a little bit of shopping with our tablemates, but I am not much on commercial souvenirs. I opted to buy a few things at the Bob Marley Bar that seemed more authentic. You can really bargain too. Overall, a wonderful day.
Last fun day at sea was spent laying on the deck, sad about having to leave. I was not ready for it all to end. The Carnival Legends show was great, be sure not to miss it. Also, do not miss the debarkation speech by Wee Jimmy, it was hilarious! We smoked our cuban cigar in Alfred's Bar which we didn't know was there until the last day. That is a neat place.
Debarkation was kind of a disaster but I tried not to think about it too much after such a wonderful week. Not sure how they could improve it, really. Our deck was called first but we weren't ready so we took our time hoping that the masses would be off by the time we were ready. Nope! We left the room to a massacre of people in the hallways. We finally managed to catch an elevator but then couldn't get off because it was so packed. People don't listen of course and other floors that weren't called, were trying to get off. I gave Wee Jimmy a big hug and told him how much fun we had and we were off. Then it was another hour or so through security and customs. We would have gotten a porter if we knew we had to have cash. We were out at this point (lost it all in the casino) but I would have gladly gone to the ATM to bypass the line. We were in the car and on the road by 9:30. Not bad timing really, but the people were so pushy!
We are so excited to cruise again and can't wait. We had such a great time, and have 3 new sets of friends. Carnival is great and such a bargain for the money!!