A little about myself. I am a single female from CT and my friend is from OH. This cruise was a 4-fold event. College roommate reunion/ 28th b-day celebrated on the ship and a graduation present to myself. (I received my MBA in Aug). Also it was my first cruise. I have read almost every review for this ship and some things I will mention may be different then what others have said. It is my first cruise so I have nothing else to base my review on but this was my friend's second and she had a great time too.
We both flew into Miami on Sat the 13th and we stayed at the Doubletree Grand and had a great view of the ships in port. Nice hotel for the night that we were there. The pool was great and we were able to watch as another Carnival ship sailed away. Really a great place, close to the port.
Embarkation- We left the hotel around 10:40 and got to the port around 10:55 and dropped our bags with the porters. They were really nice, no one threatened to lose our bags if we don't tip them, just really nice and helpful. Told us our bags were safe and told us where to head to next. We pass though security no problem and head to check in. We are given boarding pass #4. We are shown to an agent right away and all our paperwork is in order in about 5 min. We get our cards and sit down to wait to be called on the ship. We waiting about an hour and were let on the ship and were eating lunch around 12:30. What a spread!! Into our rooms at 1:30 bags are there but our keys do not work. Went to the pursers desk and done in about 15 min.
Cabin and ship- was great we had an ocean view mid-ship main deck. Our steward Charles was great. Seems he was in the room about 3 times a day and kept the ice bucket full all week. Good size room, 3 closets plenty of space for 2. Also had a couch so extra added space. The beds were phenomenal. I have not slept that well in a very long time!! The ship was very clean, there was always someone cleaning and was bright and shinny. Also with over 3 thousand people on board you would never know it.
Dining- We had the Washington dining room table 558 with Gerry and Cyril. Great guys. They took care of everything and were funny and kept us entertained. Our maitre D Enrico from Italy was amazing. I mentioned it was my b-day Monday night and he sent over a bottle of champagne, which was really great cause I love champagne!! Also they brought cake over and sang to me!! The food was awesome! You can get as much of it as you want and there is always a recommendation and they are always good. The shows at dinner were great as well. After dinner we would always have a new towel animal waiting for us!! Very fun!!
Activities/Entertainment- We did participate in karaoke, lots of fun. We did mini golf, swam in the pools, bingo, shopping seminars, shopping, eating, people watching, scavenger hunts, etc. There was always something to do. Chris Jefferson the cruise director was great. He was kind of corny but in a really funny way. Kept us well entertained. The shows were good. Not Broadway but good. The hypnotists and ventriloquist were funny as well as the comedy shows. The singers and dancers were decent.
Shore excursions- We booked most with Carnival. For my first cruise I was more comfortable with this. We actually found out in Belize Cozumel that 1 couple missed the ship in Grand Cayman and had to fly to Belize. Carnival put them up in a hotel.
Grand Cayman- Stingray, Turtle Farm and Hell. This was fun. Got a nice history of the Island and swam with stingrays. Not crowded as other reviews had posted. We had swarms of them around us. Very fun. Make sure you kiss one because it is good luck!!! Did some shopping here as well.
Roatan- We did the Pirates, Birds and Monkeys of the Caribbean. Monkeys climbing on you and you can take pictures with these birds that look like big parrots. I forget the name now. Also there is a beach here so you can spend the entire day here. The main area of the port is a bit poor but I was not scared or upset that Carnival brought us here. This was an Island that has not been spoiled yet. Great time here.
Belize- I had booked with a private tour company cavetubing dot com. The day before, Belize had a tropical wave and the caves flooded and Carnival cancelled all cave tours. We decided to try still with the private company and we were still on. What an experience. It was great the entire trip. They even gave us some cashew wine to try, which is really good. More shopping here and quite safe. A bit more commercial then Roatan but still really pretty.
Cozumel- I figured that this would be my least favorite port but in actuality it was my favorite. The waters are sooo beautiful. We did the Mini Jeep tour and had a wonderful time. Our guides were funny and informative. We drove about 45 min to the beach, snorkeled for 45 and stopped at a Mayan ruin and saw crocodiles. Then we also stopped at a light house and had tortilla chips and salsa. YUM!! The view from the lighthouse was amazing! I think I may comeback for another trip here. Had a blast!! Shopping here was a bit crazy because everyone is trying to get you into their stores. But overall did great!
Overall, this was the best vacation ever. My friend and I are already planning the next!! Only downside to the whole thing was disembarkation. My friend had a 10:55 flight so we got changed to group 2 off the ship. She barley made it because there was some disorganization with the whole process. Took us from 7:45 to about 9:50 to get off the ship. Got to the airport after 10am but she made it still. I would suggest booking a later flight because some other people from our roll call did not get off until after 12:30. Pretty late. But as I said best vacation ever!!!!
I have much more info so email me if you like! Rene194215@sbcglobal.net I will gladly answer questions or give more info!!!!!