To begin we flew into Ft. Lauderdale Thanksgiving day and spent a couple days with my sister and her husband before boarding on Saturday. Traveling in our party was myself, my boyfriend and my mother, and then in another cabin my sister and her husband. We arrived early in Ft. Lauderdale at about 10 am and basically we went ahead and parked in the garage. We went down to give our luggage to the porters around 10:30 and boarded the ship slightly after 12 (we were zone 3). Odd thing I found most often was for instance the first gentleman took my fun pass said he had to keep it, then the next two reps asked for it??? Also they told us to put away materials after like the 3rd person but after going up the gangway the girl on deck again asked us for the items we were told we would no longer need. They just seemed disorganized of what was required, etc.
When boarding the ship it is absolutely beautiful, pink circles and all. I truly thought the ship design was magnificent. Mostly the Spectacular Spectacular is very nicely done. We went and found our cabin this being our first balcony it was really nice. We were pretty much on our balcony during sailaway and watching the other ships go out. Also the muster drill was painless. Other areas I thought were nicely done were the El Mojito and the Piano bar were both really neat. There is a fairly good sized casino which we spent a little bit of time in.
We went to see a couple comedians (late night) and watched the Beat and Vroom. Vroom was definitely the better show of the two I am glad we did decide to go see that one.
We did the water slide one day along with the pool and hot tubs located there and had a nice time. That pool really had no people back there nor did the hot tub. Tried the fitness center one morning, never could get a free treadmill so we just walked around the ship instead. Also did miniature golf one afternoon which was fun, tried another evening and it was way too windy up there.
Dining - we were in the Gold Pearl second seating. Ken the Maitre'd is absolutely fantastic. His singing each evening was very good and we totally enjoyed the floor shows. Thought dinner choices were not as good or selections limited in comparison to a few years ago, however I found something great to eat each evening. Only thing I thought odd was they didn't allow us to change anything about a dish - for instance I have never had beef stroganoff with beets and pickles on top - I asked if those could be left off and was told no - so I ordered something else. The bar staff was wonderful, my mother and brother in law had soda cards, every evening she had their sodas as soon as they got seated for dinner.
Now other dining choices seemed a bit odd for instance the rotisserie was open from 12:00-1:30 for lunch, very limited and now I can understand why many people didn't know it was there. However for seating at breakfast was easy to go up on deck above the lido and there was tons of seating and you didn't have to fight through the crowds. We did breakfast 3 mornings in the dining room and the rest at the buffet. Late night choices limited except for pizza, the deli grill was open generally to 11 sometimes 12 they did have excellent sandwiches. My only thought there was they should have had 2 people working it not just one.
We did the Pinnacle one evening while it was enjoyable I would have to say the food wasn't any better than what was served in the dining room and the $60 fee is too much for what we got. At the time there was a total of 16 people dining there that evening we had a reservation at 8.
Stops were nice, we didn't do anything in San Juan, did some shopping in St. Thomas. Altos de Chavon in the Dominican Republic was really beautiful, best pictures I think I got of any island we were on. Nassau we did snorkeling, water was just a bit too rough, wasn't really to my liking.
Disembarkation - we got up and had breakfast in the dining room, left in the cabin the items we were carrying off. Then retrieved them and headed to the Spectacular Spectacular to await them calling our number. They called up to 17 and then mass called every number after that - our group had 23 and 25. A staff member came in and told us they were mass calling out the rest if we wanted to begin to head toward the line which we did. We ended up off the ship by 11 and headed over to the Ft. Lauderdale airport where we had a 3 pm flight.
Overall I had a wonderful trip, encountered no problems and I would sail with Carnival again.