And, what a difference 11 years makes. We have been on three previous cruises, and all some time ago. We hadn't cruised in so many years because we had gotten a norovirus on the last two cruises we were on and it really soured it for us. We came prepared with hand sanitizers this time. We saw many changes that we liked. The ship was so much larger and had so many more activities than earlier cruises. And, it was SOOO clean. We sailed before Swine flu hit the news, and the crew was constantly cleaning and polishing every surface. Two small things we noticed different were the room showers which have a dual dispenser that provides you with body soap, and shampoo. I remember forgetting shampoo on an earlier cruise and paying some exorbitant price for it at our first port of call. Now, it isn't even necessary to bring your own. The second interesting thing is that a tissue dispenser is now mounted above the bathroom knob in every public bathroom. You pull out the tissue and use it to open the bathroom door, and there is a trash can right outside the bathroom to drop it in. This is a great way to avoid germs.
We were in room 9230, a balcony room just two floors below the spa and gym. Also, just a stroll down the corridor and you are outside where the pool and large screen are located. Walk a bit farther and you hit the buffets. It was a great location and I would recommend it. This is the first time we have had a balcony and it was wonderful for the view. We particularly enjoyed it when we were in port as we were on the city side of the ship in both Montego Bay and Cozumel. It was so much fun watching the activity off the balcony at disembarkation. In Montego Bay a marching band came and played and marched. Very Cool! In Cozumel we watched the stragglers barely make the ship as they came staggering down the dock... I believe some had been drinking pretty heavily! Maybe, too many margaritas in Margaritaville! The balcony was not much use while the ship was moving as it was very noisy from the ship moving through the waves, and also windy! Not any place you'd want to sit and read. But the big glass windows still provided a lot of light and a view of the ocean. The bed was right by the window, so you could keep the curtains pulled and see the stars at night. For me, one of the highlights of our trip was the full moon reflecting on the ocean at night. It was just beautiful. The moon was huge over the ocean. It was just pure chance that our cruise was during a full moon, but in the future I many check the calendar to make sure to go at that time again.
The service and food aboard ship was A+. The room steward and waiters were just great. We were lucky in that we had wonderful table mates at a table for eight. And, the table was in the very back of the ship next to the windows. So, we had wonderful ocean views as we ate. The food was great. Go to high tea in the afternoon on days you are at sea. Seems like it was in Alfreds Bar. See the Carnival Newspaper. They had the best desserts and goodies on board. They come around with a tea trolley and you pick your flavor or type of tea bag, and they give you the hot water and as many scrumptious looking treats as you desire. They had lemon curd and crumpets along with cheesecake and more. Also, another fun dining experience is on Saturday at noon. They have a chocolate buffet at one of the buffet stations. And, there is a lot more than chocolate. Lots of cheesecakes, cookies, and etc. They had homemade Marshmallows, and JuJubes. Both were quite different from anything that I had ever eaten before.
I am sure we will be taking another cruise within the year. We had a wonderful time.