I think our steward could only speak the following two phrases in English: 'Good Morning, Good Morning' and 'Hello, Hello'. This made it very difficult to communicate. We rarely saw him anyway as he was probably so overworked it left no time for developing any sort of relationship with us again, I remember better communication and more social interaction with our stewards on previous Carnival cruises. We noticed that many of the service workers throughout the ship had very limited English speaking skills.
The children's program also did not match our past experiences. There were many unsupervised activities and things that cost extra money. Our daughter chose to spend most of her time with us, as she was mostly not interested in the activities offered. She did, however, meet some friends who she played with, and she did go to the late night party (cost extra) which she enjoyed.
Despite these shortcomings, we had a nice family vacation on the ship. We enjoyed deck & pool time on the 'days at sea', and went on shore at each port.
I'm not sure, however, if we will sail with Carnival again due to the downgrade in quality we experienced.
Barbara and Duane, who hosted the trip, are an American couple who moved to Roatan from Washington state a few years ago. Barbara met us at the dock and walked us a short distance to a contracted driver who drove us to Upachaya in an air conditioned van. Barbara & Duane met us there, fitted us with snorkeling gear, and we boarded a very comfortable pontoon boat. It was just our family, Barbara & Duane and their assistant (a local boy).
We traveled a bit through the Mangroves and on the way out to our snorkel sights saw several giant, bright red star fish from the boat. We went snorkeling in two locations. The first was over a sunken ship wreck which was covered over in amazing coral. There were not very many fish at this location, but the coral was great and the water was so warm and calm. The second location was over the reef where there was a 70 foot drop off into the ocean. That 70 foot drop was completely covered in every imaginable type of coral and there were many different species of fish. This was a spectacular location. The reef was in very good shape not damaged by weather or people, and it went on forever. There were 2 people with Kayaks at the first location, and no one but us at the second location.
We had a light lunch of homemade salads, fresh fruit and chips on the boat while we learned about Roatan, the Mangroves and the reef. We were offered cold beverages including water, soda, rum punch and beer. It was very relaxing and enjoyable! A perfect day in the Caribbean. We returned to their private dock and had the opportunity to support the local community by purchasing some handcrafted jewelry (cash), and said our goodbyes as we boarded the van for our ride back to the cruise ship dock.
We highly recommend this trip! It cost a total of $150 (plus tips - cash) for our family of three for a private snorkeling adventure! What a bargain! Barbara & Duane were great hosts and very accommodating. This private excursion is a very nice alternative to the crowded, more expensive, cruise sponsored tours.