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The good, the bad and the unattractive......
The embarkment was very smooth. I really like the port of Tampa and I thought Carnival did a great job with the embarkment process. From the outside, the ship looked impressive. I found the inside a bit tacky and overdone with all the grecian vases, but I can overlook that as it's an older ship. The food was excellent and I liked the ice cream was free and the other couple we traveled with loved the free sushi bar.
I have two main complaints: The hottubs were never warm the whole cruise except for the one in the spa. But then you got no sun. We mentioned this to several workers who only shrugged. The pools were also very cold especially the adult pool area. The lido deck pool finally got warm, but was always filled with kids. On every other cruise we've been on, we enjoy the hottubs every evening until late.
My other main complaint would be the evening entertainment. They had a great comedian one night and a very good juggler/comedian another night. The rest of the More
time was very lacking. No decent movies in one of the lounges or on the room tv's. Other than the main theater, the other lounges were either closed or no one was in them. Carnival should consider having "Movies under the stars". Also, the comedian shows were at 8:30 and midnight. Midnight is too late if you have an early excursion. This should be moved up to 10 or 11 and tell parents, children are not permitted.
Just a minor complaint: The poolside waiters were only interested in selling drinks and would never bring you just a coke. The poolside tables were also often dirty and would remain that way for hours. The chair hogs were in full force on seadays. Also the dining room was noisy with the way it's completely open. No romance in that atmosphere. I did enjoy the waiters "show time"! Disembarkment went smoothly. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
In Belize, we chose to book the cave tubing with Major Tom due to reviews from this board. This was very enjoyable, although I was very tired afterwards. You MUST be in decent shape to keep up on the very fast march thru the jungle. My husband compared it to an Army forced march. Be sure to take water shoes because I didn't and ended up renting a pair for $3.00. I did not see them sterilizing them and this worried me because you can catch foot fungus. Thank God I didn't. You can also wear sandals with a back strap, but flip flop type sandals are a no-no. My husband wore his gymshoes, but he said they got heavy. I was worried about getting back to the tender on time. The driver drove like a bat out of hell to get us back in time and thank God the last tender was a little late, because we got back about 10 minutes past the time posted. This made the other couple we were with so nervous that they said they'd never book outside the cruise ship again.
We were supposed to go to Roatan and the itinerary changed to Costa Maya. We were not happy about this since we were planning to do the extreme ziplining in Roatan and had to cancel. So nothing was booked in Costa Maya and instead we shopped a little and then sat poolside and had a drink or two. I did notice that when a cruise ship passenger would leave a shop when just looking, the shop keeper would make a snide remark. This made me uncomfortable and ended my shopping.
We chose to do the Mayan Ruin at Tulum through the cruise ship since it was going to be close, time wise. I will say this was a wonderful excursion for us. The weather was perfect and our guide was very knowledgeable and very proud of his ancestors. If you are into history, this is a fantastic. The excursion started off with a 45 minute boat ride that was very rough and those on the other side of the boat got soaked. I did notice a few sea sick people. The one hour bus ride was a chance to get informed about the Mayans and we had a short bathroom break at a little shop. Anyone with walking limitations, or if it's a hot day, will appreciate the $2.00 round trip shuttle to the Mayan Ruin from the bus stop. WE only had one hour to ourselves after the tour in which we had to walk back to the bus stop, do any eating or shopping within that time frame. The excursion tells you to bring your bathing suit and towel to go down to the beach. There really isn't enough time and we lugged all that around in a back for nothing.
We did not book anything at this port. We visited the Harley shop and had conch fritters at a beachside restaurant then hired a taxi to take us and another couple around the island for two hours. The cost was $20 each. We went past the Governor's Palace (pulled over for pictures only), visited the rum factory where we had plenty of samples of rum and rum cake and then the turtle farm. We also stopped at Hell and mailed off postcards. She dropped us off at Margaritaville afterwards for a light meal and a drink as well as a little entertainment. We did see very large fish when we were at the restaurant. Snorkelers were also in that area.