Hi! 3 of our family members immensely enjoyed our Caribbean cruise from mar.28-apr.5. We stayed the night before at the Courtyard Marriott airport/port location. Not a fancy place but clean and well maintained. The complimentary pick up from airport and service to the dock was handy and stress fee. It beats renting a car, looking for parking etc. Embarkation was simple. Line up went fast with no hassles. One odd thing though, was the size of some people's suitcases they carried on. The senior couples ahead of us had such huge suitcases, the lady at the scanner didn't think they would fit through. Secondly the elderly lady couldn't lift it on and off the counter. My husband and I did it. They were grateful, but it was rather odd. I don't know why they just didn't checked though and delivered to their room. We were amazed at the numbers of seniors on this trip, considering it is Carnival, and it was spring break for alot of places.
We had a balcony cabin on the seventh deck. Big enough and extremely quiet. Our steward Randy was friendly and helpful. Our 15 year old was out with the owls, so of course he wasn't up with roosters, so it did make it kind of inconvenient for the folks to clean. One day it didn't get cleaned until evening,which was o.k. Randy mentioned that if it happened again just to phone housekeeping and they'd come then. It's hard when sleepy heads won't get out of bed until late.
Some people complain about the food but really! There was tons of variety and most everything I tried was fresh and appropriate temperature. We only ate dinner at the dining room twice but our waiter and the people we dined with were all very nice. They seated us with other families traveling with 1 teenager which was appropriate I thought. They must look at the demographics of the passengers and match accordingly. The buffets were good. My husband enjoyed the prime rib. I really liked the day they had the mexican food at one of the small side places. The guacamole was really fresh and tasted as good as the stuff I make. The place like the Mongolian grill was really good. You filled a bowl with with you wanted for veggies and noodles, then had a choice of meat,poultry or fish. They stir fried it up with your choice of sauce. Fresh and healthy. The deli also had really good sandwiches. The only thing I didn't care for was the anchovy and caper pizza. It was way too salty. But in all honestly, that was the only thing I didn't like. The drinks are pretty expensive, but that's your choice if you wish to indulge or not. 7 or 8 dollars was the average price for a drink like a mojito, pina colada, glass of wine etc. A beer was around 5 and they do add 15 % to that. We were kind of lazy as far as going to entertainment goes. We went to a couple of the comedians, which were very funny. The r-rated one was great. He told everyone at the beginning if they didn't appreciate crude language and material,perhaps the show wasn't for them. However, 4 elderly folks didn't heed this warning until half way though then then walked out. They were near the front too, so they had to walk right by the poor guy to exit. He made light of it, and just said,"didn't I warn everybody?" We also went to the guy who did the old kind of Frank Sinatra music. This was my least favorite entertainer, but he did try hard and he was a good singer. His show just wasn't that enjoyable, though. Vince at the piano bar was the highlight! That man loves his job and he was very entertaining. The casino was a typical casino. If you go there to make money, you're dreaming. Some must take it very seriously though and were betting big stacks of chips. I hate it when people try to tell you how to play at the 21 table. Everybody has their own strategy I think, and trying to play right for the table can only go so far. After you loose 6 or 7 times in a row, just to appease everybody else it gets a big much. Minimum bet is 5.00 so even if you're a little better, you're still out 30 or 40 dollars right off the bat. They should almost have 2 different areas of betting. Tables for the high rollers and those for just us little guys who want to have a little fun. The sports bar was fun, and we watched some ncaa basketball and the competition between other patrons was entertaining.
The ports were the reason we chose this particular cruise and we weren't disappointed. My husband went diving in St.Thomas and enjoyed it. He booked it online thru carnival before we left. It was actually cheaper then what the diving operators charged others that signed up who were staying on island. That was kind of a nice surprise. My son and husband also went zip lining in Antigua which they said was pretty good. Antigua was the least developed island on this itinerary and unless you're a huge water/beach person, there didn't seem to be all that much to do. It was good to of seen it though, but wouldn't make it a priority when booking another cruise. Tortola was our favorite. Very neat and tidy with awesome water and beach. A friend of my son's went to Gourda which was about a 40 minute boat ride. They showed it after on the carnival cam and it looked gorgeous! If we ever go again, I am definitely booking this tour! St.Thomas and San Juan were also very nice. Nassau was O.K. I don't think I'd hurry back there though, either. Disembarkation was a breeze. We were at the airport by 8:15 A.M. which was a total shock! Unfortunately our plane didn't leave until 2.00 p.m. Oh, well we're always worried we're going to be late! If you have teenage kids, this to me is one of the best holidays there is. They can eat when and where they want. Sleep in if they choose. They meet lots of kids from different parts of the continent and they get to see new and exciting places. And most importantly, they can't go too far!(He had to come with us when we went on land) My son said it was the best time of his life. So, if the teenager is happy, so are we!