So, first let me preface all this by saying that I have sailed Carnival a few times before and yes, have for the most part loved each time. What was different this time was that due to an injury I was in a wheelchair for the most part (could walk about 15 feet only) and was unsure what to expect.
Ft Lauderdale: The day of our cruise we took a hotel sponsored transport to the port. Once we we entered the building, our check in was smooth and all of the staff were exceptionally caring with my condition.
The Cruise Itself: Yes, this was spring break time and in fact we had 3 daughters with us (ages 16-31) who had a blast. We never did hear any noise at night and had it not been for pain issues, my sleep was the best ever. Our room stewardess Felicia was wonderful. Once she found out that I was suffering a back injury and uncomfortable on the bed, she brought in two feather bed type covers as extra padding to sleep on. She consistently asked the family how I was doing if I were not up yet and did her job perfectly.
We loved the cruise but next year will take a cruise where we have perhaps another day or two at sea. There is just so much to see and do that it is always nice to have a few extra days back on the ship to relax.
We loved Key West even though our morning excursion was cancelled due to the weather. However, we shopped then went on a wonderful excursion in Grand Cayman. The family snorkeled on the reef and I stayed back on the excursion boat with my pillowed seat and book. Loved Grand Cayman and would love to explore more there. Jamaica is, well, Jamaica. You have to expect that people are going to be pretty aggressive in trying to sell you things even illegal substances. We were pretty prepped for this by the Carnival cruise director so it didn't faze us too much. We were lucky that even our daughters were great negotiators for the trinkets we bought (tee shirts, hats, key chains) and we went to the public beach (there is a small charge to be admitted) next to the pier. Even with my wheelchair, the beach was wonderful. The girls would have liked a bit more depth in water to goof off in but overall, they loved it. On the beach we were never approached by anyone trying to "sell" us something except for a wonderful little old gentleman who sang songs along the beach. We did hear that some of the excursions were wonderful but we were just a bit concerned about how much walking, would the whole family like it, etc that we decided the beach was fine.
What can I say about dinner every night. We had early seating in Posh and our waiters Alexandro and Angel were exceptional. They were funny, cheerful, caring....what more could you ask for? After the first night they always had our preferred dinner drinks ready if it were coffee, soda, water, etc. We met a wonderful family at the next table with a darling baby and had great company. Again, we were just so happy with the service in the dining room. After dinner, they would always push my wheelchair out to the elevator and allow my husband some "off duty" time.
So, there are a few things that were somewhat difficult. Number one is that the elevator doors were so fast that with a wheelchair, we usually had to ask people to hold one for us. Second, for those patrons who are disabled, I think Carnival could do a bit more with arranging things in the gift shop (I constantly had to ask my husband or girls to bring something down to my level) and other areas so there is room to maneuver.
The staterooms need to have speakers...we never heard what was being said if our stateroom door was shut. We did like the fact that we could open the door between our stateroom balconies (and even had breakfast out there as a family a few times instead of going to the buffet).
Lastly, I think the entertainment could use updating with perhaps more modern dance and performances. I even like hip hop and there was little in the way of that.
Back in Fort Lauderdale: The new system to get off the ship is great. No waiting in long lines, it was smooth as silk. We then rented a car to drive to Tampa for a few days before flying home. Overall, a wonderful vacation. definitely not one I had anticipated with the injury but now that I've had surgery..next year should be even better on our cruise. Looks like we'll be celebrating our 20 year anniversary with our youngest daughter's high school graduation so will have even more family coming.