We had 20 traveling together ages 87-7 with one handicapped. This is the best way to do any vacation with this type of group. We called Carnival and asked what was the flight they would put us on and how much then I called Delta and booked a group price. 18 of us flew from LAX to Tampa. We called Carnival and asked what was the flight they would put us on and how much then I called Delta and booked a group price. 18 of us flew from LAX to Tampa. The other two flew in and met us at the airport. We arranged for Blue one to pick us up and take us to Embassy Suites Downtown. The cost was $10 for adults and $5 for the kids. We called and they were there. We got the Embassy Suites for $114 a night and then ordered Pizza from Pizza hut for dinner. They gave us rooms on the 5th floor that is the only floor that has a gathering area on the floor.
The next morning we had the breakfast which was quite busy but I am sure if you got up early it would have been better. We then called Blue One and they took us around the corner, literally, but we had older people as well and one handicapped plus humidity. That cost us $3.00 per person as worth it. The check in was ok the air-conditioning really helped and the crew was very pleasant. The pictures start right away so keep your group together and try to look good. Take your swim suit and change of clothes in case you suitcase takes a while to find. Never did see everything on the ship but it wasn't to hard to find someone in our group up on deck somewhere. I read that you can rent walkie talkies if you forgot to bring some, but it would never worked with 87 year old people!
Our first night for dinner we were slightly scolded for all not showing up on time. But that was ok by me that way everyone knew the rules! Dinner was the only meal we ate in the dining room and that made it nice for the end of the day for us all to come together and talk about our day. I was not happy that all 20 of us did not sit at the same table but the kid's table was always served first so there were so willing takers.
The first port Grand Cayman we got off the tenders and made a deal with the lady selling trips. We wanted to go to Stingray city and we agreed we would not go over $25 ea adult and $20 for the kids and we got it. We were grouped together with one other family of 20 and it was a great trip. We even went over to another area to snorkel and on the way back he showed us some famous residents' homes. In Cozumel we walked off the ship on the LONG dock and for my parents we put them on a rickshaw(?) bike with trailer. We then made a deal with a taxi driver to take us to a beach resort the cost was $20 adults and kids cheaper that was taxi ride and entrance to resort. Now he gave us info as we drove and told us that there was no crime on the island and we would be very safe. Later we were told by my nephews that they were asked at least a dozen times if they wanted to buy Marijuana. The resort was quiet the snorkeling gear was included, there was restaurant, bar, pool and jet skis for rent. And there were no vendors bothering you on the beach.
The next port was Belize and Dolly had just been thru and churned up the water so the water was not really clear. I suggest booking a tour on line before or from the ship. I do not recommend the city tour unless you want to really see the poverty. Roatan was beautiful and I booked with Victor Boden with our any money ahead of time so as we walked thru the shops we were just able to say Victor Boden and they pointed them out to us. Now we thought he said $20 per person and he would give us a city tour and take us to Mayan Princess resort to use their facilities. But as I went and got the group he then said plus $10 for the resort. We gave in and went and it was very nice. The island is beautiful the was so blue and we would go back there in a heartbeat! The shopping there at the port was good but not really willing to negotiate but the taxi stopped at the top of the mountain where you could see both sides of the island and there was a few vendors there. The wood pieces were beautiful. I heard from a few people that the zip line was better to do in Belize where they use 2 cables lines and in Roatan they only used one and someone had recently been killed along with the guide. You will not see zip line on the Carnivals price sheet.
The ship events were fun and each of my family members seemed to have gotten involved in something at one point or another and won there "ship on a stick" My brother even won the trivia game from his stateroom and he was given a free dinner in the restaurant upstairs. We had 4 diabetics and the menus seemed quite limited, like "diet lemon cake". As far as diabetics they provide us sharps containers in each of our rooms. As for the ones with asthma the smoking up on deck, in the casino, the sports bar, piano bar, Schatzmos and around the pool was tough but I guess we are not in CA anymore! Some took the option of sending their bags on ahead and not seeing them until we arrived back in LAX and it worked. For the rest of us we took the bags off ourselves and we were off the ship by 8:30. If you choose to do that I suggest you order room service so you can have something to eat. And don't pack you ship card that gets you off the ship! I went to Wal-Mart and picked up badges and clips 12 for 2.00 or something really cheap. This was better than around your neck, because you can clip in on your clothes. It helps not getting it demagnetized. We called Blue One once we were all off the ship and the ride was $10 for adults $5. for kids. I suggest if you have a handicapped placard bring it because it will help the van closer to the dock for pickup.
the kids choose not to use the activities but when my kids were small it was the best thing and they always loved it. The teens and pre teens ran all over and found it very funny to push al the buttons on the elevators. There was a family event were everyone wore there robes and we competed teams. It was a fun event to involve all ages my parents were even part of it. The shows were not the best but I guess you have to appeal to everyone. The comedians were funny and I guess one missed his flight so they had a few games instead.