We flew in the day before and stayed at the Wyndham Hotel at the Miami Airport. Check out time at the hotel was 11am, then we got a taxi to the cruise ship, $25. Embarkation was extremely fast. We were on board before 1230p and could eat up on Lido then, but our rooms were blocked off. The hallway doors were locked until 130p. We toured the ship and did some people watching. At least two huge family reunions were on board with us.
At 130p we went to our room 9212, Don expected it to be smaller than what it was, considering the past two Carnival ships we were on we had Balcony rooms. There were three closets, a small chest w/ three drawers, and two night tables with a door to hide away belongings. A nice size TV- with an extension cord behind it that had the TV and the safe plugged in. Also, there is a plug in on the desk with an international plug and one 110 plug.
Muster drill went smoothly, nice calm day of weather. Then it was off to the Cruise Critic meet and greet :) A nice group- we saw at least four couples routinely throughout the week. It was nice to see familiar faces.
Food: In the Washington Dining room, Rohan and Evighenny, were taking care of us for dinner. Wonderful service, and Rohan took time after dessert was finished to stop and talk with us each night. He told us of his room on board, and how during his free time he sleeps mostly. He has been with Carnival for 14 years. Rosie's Restaurant had a wonderful assortment of food at breakfast. The last buffet line seemed to have more available. We didn't eat lunches. We tried the sushi bar on the last night, there were a few nights it wasn't open on our way to or from the early sitting. Don ate at the pizza place a couple of times and said it was decent, not like back home though.
Staff: Waitstaff on Lido was great. Methavee in Rosie's made sure our plates and trays were cleaned up promptly. We saw Evighenny every morning during breakfast. The photographers were very good. Carlos took the best poses, in my opinion. Out of all the photos we took each night, his photos were the ones we left to buy at the end. Photos were $23 for 8x10 and 11x14. The gift shops were friendly and helpful, and do offer the best guarantee anywhere in the Caribbean.
Entertainment was fabulous! Cruise Director Chris Jefferson, of England, was so much fun. Comedians every night in port, sea days were dance reviews. The Paris Hot bar on Promenade was a hot place after the Theater shows ended, the band had a different theme every night. When the cigarette smoke got to be too much we would leave and go into a neighboring place. The water slide was fun, a nice surprise at the bottom as I did not remember it was salt water. Yikes. The whirlpool by the slide didn't seem to get hot enough for any of the guests we joined. The pressure was fine though. Too bad these are not available for use later into the night.
Excursions: We bought two seats on the Rio Wallace & Altun Ha Mayan Temples tour in Belize. It was a lot of fun. Lots of pictures. I do mean lots. The camera was being a pain, but it lasted until the very end of the tour. A two hour boat ride up the river Wallace. We got to see herons, howler monkeys, iguanas, bats, manatees, and other wildlife. Then we stopped for lunch and ate the best red beans and rice with seasoned chicken we've ever tasted. At Altun Ha, we were approached by the local children that for a dollar we could take a photo &/or hold their animal that they held. I held a small crocodile and my husband wanted to hold the parrot, until he saw how sharp the claws were. We climbed up one of the temples- amazing photos on top of this. Climbing back down, I got a strong, massive, agonizing thigh cramp that the residual pain lasted two days. Drink lots and lots of water and wear comfortable walking shoes. Grand Cayman and Cozumel seemed to be geared for the shopping tourist. If we should go back again, I will do an excursion to see more of the islands. Roatan, Honduras is a very poor country. Carnival is doing a great thing by making this a port-of-call. Beware of the cab drivers hounding you though as you walk out of the port. There are plenty of little shops to the right of the port, that are mostly people in shacks in front of their homes selling trinkets, t-shirts were $3. Hand Carved pieces are the most delicate in detail I've seen. A lot of places only accept cash, and US cash will go a long way in this country, as well as Belize.
The only down part of our ship was our cabin. The bed was very hard, whereas they've been extremely comfortable before (other Cruise Critics on board said theirs were soft and they wanted to take the bed home....) and for some reason our cabin did not have soap at the sink. There was some in the shower though...easy fix. Our cabin steward kept the room tidy, however the waste basket kept ending back under the desk when I would leave it out for easy access for me...again, easy fix. It's just me being picky.
I'm going to assume Camp Carnival did I fantastic job. During our week, we saw maybe five children under the age of 10 and a handful of teenagers. During debarkation we saw many more children with their parents.
Now, I'm looking for my next cruise.