We started off flying in to Ft. Lauderdale 2 days early (11-28). Had a great time, went to dinner on Friday night, stayed at the Ft. Lauderdale Grande Hotel, overlooking the Cruise Port. We saw about 8 ships on Saturday morning, what a beautiful sight. Took the Water Taxi 2 hour tour to see some of the homes with yachts, what a great tour, really worth the 13 dollars, because you can get off at any of the stops and get back on with that same ticket. This was good until midnight. Then that night, we went on a tour through Miami, including South Beach, we finished the night at Bayside with dinner and after dinner drinks. Great place for shopping, dining and partying. Now on to the Cruise.
Sunday morning the bus took us to the cruise terminal, what a mess trying to get the bus into the terminal to park to unload. We knew it would be busy so we had our patient hats on. They finally let us off the bus after about 40 minutes of sitting in one place. When we got off the bus and had the porters take our luggage, we had to get in a line outside and AROUND the building. It was unreal (but we had our patience hats on). After about 40 minutes moving in the line, we finally made it into the building. We then went through a security check point, only to be directed through more doors, where there was another line to get your sign and sail cards. This took about another 40 minutes because they were having computer problems. Got sign and sail cards, took pictures before boarding, walked up a steep ramp to the ship. If you like colors in lights that change, then the Atrium was beautiful. After reading lavalboy's review on the ship, I was prepared on what to expect on the ship. The ship was beautiful. We went up to the Lido deck for lunch. By the way, we arrived at the pier at 11:30 a.m. got to the Lido deck at 2:30 p.m., remember, we had our patience hats on. Our luggage arrived even before our muster station drill, our Cruise Director Todd Wittmer said it was 7,000 pieces of luggage put on the ship. So that was an excellent job delivering all that luggage that soon. Muster station drill lasted about 20 minutes, 10 of it important relating to the lifejackets, the rest I have no idea what they were saying with a lot of people talking around us. Drill now over, it is cruise time. We had so much fun, laughing and drinking on the Lido deck, we had not even realized we were moving. Later we went to dinner, met the Maitre'D the first night, didn't see him again until the last night, that's how we tipped him too. Our waiter IMade from Indonesia was a hard worker with not much humor, being a returner on Carnival Cruise Ships, we are used to having waiters who like to have fun. His assistant Jose from the Honduras was more of what we liked, funny and dancing when there was no music.
Monday, out to sea, great fun, they had mini golf tourney (we always have our own tourney with our group for four days of 18 holes each day. Finally I finished close to the money, 2nd place), ping pong tourney, bean bag toss, and fun deck games. We had late seating for dinner so we enjoyed being able to do things until late. The big screen on the lido deck was great, late night movies. Only bad thing was the popcorn machine was broke. Weather was mostly overcast all week, cool at night and windy.
TUESDAY- we were in Key West, nice small town, did a little shopping, just really toured the town. Had a good time. Back to our favorite Lido deck onboard. It was Captain's night, lots of sharp dressers, including our group. Lobster was a little bland, though I did manage to eat 5 :-)
WEDNESDAY- Grand Cayman. Tendered over to the island, we had to get numbers to get off the ship. Had to be back on the ship by 3:30, time really went by in Cayman, maybe that was a good sign, we shopped on this expensive island for just a short time. We spent the rest of the time partying in Margaritaville, much more fun than shopping. Back to the ship they were still having computer problems, so everyone had to get new sign and sail cards because you would use your card and someone else's name came up (no problem, that meant the bill went to someone else). Wednesday was also talent night for fellow cruisers. Had some great singers, including one from our group, the only male. Todd said in his 10 years as a Cruise Director, this was the best talent he had ever seen, and he really meant it. They really were good. Oh, before I forget, we always, take our own tours of the islands. In Grand Cayman lots of ship tours were cancelled due to the high winds.
THURSDAY- Ocho Rio Jamaica Great time in Jamaica, climbed the Dunn's River Fall, hit the beach, and did some shopping. Once again you had to do everything fast, because you had to be back to the ship by 3:15. About an hour into the water, we were up on the 12th deck having day 3 of our mini golf tourney, with high winds, the ship took a hard left turn throwing us around. Our friends on the Lido deck said the pool water was tossed on the deck with chairs and tables that weren't bolt down all thrown to the left side of the ship, flooding that side of the ship tossing drinks and food. Apparently someone had tied a stuffed monkey to their balcony all week, with the high winds, it blew the monkey off the balcony and into the water, and someone stated that someone went overboard, word got back to the Captain, and he immediately made the turn to go search. It was a hard turn, but you could appreciate Captain D'Aita's concern for what he thought was man overboard. A helicopter was circling our ship in 10 minutes, and another cruise ship was very close to us. So safety was of utmost concern with the crew. We did figure 8's in the water for about 1 hour not moving from this spot until every passenger had to check in on the 3rd deck with their sign and sail card. My kudos to the Captain and crew. We got everyone checked out O.K. and we were on our way. Keep your stuffed animals in your cabins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
FRIDAY- Last day out to sea. Time to pack our bags (Damn). We had our last day of mini golf, the finals, I lost by 2 strokes (Damn). We went to the late night comedy on the last night, forget the guys name, but he was pretty funny. Went to the 5th floor, casino deck to say goodbye to our waiter on that deck, Vilem, he was about 6'6 and a former basketball player in Europe until he suffered a knee injury. This guy was the most entertaining guy on the ship, what fun he was. He will be missed. We enjoyed the cruise, enjoyed the ship and enjoyed the food. Never felt the 3,000 passengers after boarding. Plenty of deck chairs on Lido, lines weren't really long for buffet on Lido, and everyone seemed to be having fun all week. Remember to put your patience hat on and enjoy your week. Great time, and we are already planning our next Carnival Cruise. If you didn't enjoy this, Cruising just may not be for you. And this was our 13th cruise. Any questions, please feel free to e-mail me. Happy Cruising.