We began the trip with a sour note by staying at the Days Inn at Oakland Park. They advertise free shuttle to and from the airport and Port Everglades. It took 45 minutes to get the shuttle at the airport. Once we arrived at the hotel, we asked about scheduling the shuttle to Port Everglades. We were told that only one shuttle time was available and that was at 1:00 p.m. That was too late for our cruise leave time so we ended up having to take a taxi. I found out the next morning that they did have a noon shuttle but it was already booked.
Embarkation went very well with the amount of people that they check in. Our room location was fantastic. We were on the Lido deck. It was close to everything and we never had a problem with noise. Everything was within short walking distance.
The biggest problem that we had with the cruise was the late seating dining. With a six and an eight year old, we requested a 6 o'clock dining seating. However, we were bumped to 8:15. I understand that not everyone can eat early, but how many 6 and 8 year olds do you know that can wait till 8:15 to eat. I realize that the buffet was open early, but part of the enjoyment of cruising is the elegant dining. After 3 nights of fighting with tired kids we gave up on eating as a family and sent the kids to Camp Carnival for the evening meals. It seems to me that if everyone wants to eat early, the cruise line may want to consider adjusting the meal schedule from 6 and 8 to 5 and 7. Just a thought.
Camp Carnival was a life saver. The kids really enjoyed all of the activities that they were able to attend. It was nice to have a few hours of adult time each day. It made life a little less hectic.
With the late dining seating came a late show seating. Again, 10:30 was really late for the kids to sit through a show. However, they were troopers and sat through both the New Orleans Tribute show and The Beatles Tribute show. They absolutely loved the New Orleans tribute. It was fantastic. We also enjoyed The Beatles tribute although we had to explain to the boys who The Beatles were. Unfortunately we were unable to go to the hypnotist show on the last night. We couldn't sleep in the next morning so we didn't want to keep the boys up late. I heard it was really good.
The ports of call were all good. We had been to Key West before so we didn't really spend much time there. We did go to the Pirate Museum. It was fun. We went snorkeling on Grand Cayman at Eden Rock. Since we had our own snorkeling equipment we did not purchase the cruise line excursion. The fee was basically to rent equipment. There is not much beach but the snorkeling was good. Our favorite excursion was on Ocho Rios. We took the river tubing tour. It was fantastic. The entire family loved it.
All in all it was a fun trip.