This was our third cruise, second Carnival. Our group consisted of my husband, our 21 & 18 year old sons, another couple and their 18 year old son. We chose this cruise specifically for it's itinerary of six islands in seven days.
We arrived in San Juan on Saturday before sailing on Sunday. We stayed at the Embassy Suites hotel which was a short 5 minute taxi ride from the airport. It was a very nice hotel that included breakfast and two blocks from the beach. We arrived at the San Juan ship terminal about 12:30 and were completely checked in and on board within one hour! Our bags were already in our cabin. Since there were no days at sea, we chose the Riviera Deck, which is the lowest deck. We didn't realize it at the time, but this was a great idea for reboarding after excursion trips. Just a few steps and we were back in our cabins to change clothes and quickly leave again. Our three cabins were all ocean view and were large enough even for the three messy guys. The bathroom has a large medicine chest that held practically all my stuff. The two things we didn't like about the bathroom was the shampoo they provided, which was one part shampoo and five parts water, and the blow dryer. It was pretty weak and took quite a while to dry my hair. There was not a refrigerator in the cabin but other than those few things, we were very satisfied with it.
The mandatory muster drill was typical: long, boring and hot! We received disturbing news while waiting to set sail that a crew member had passed away suddenly and we would not be able to leave until the authorities could conduct an investigation. During the night a letter was placed under our door from the Captain letting us know how sorry he was for the delay but also asked for thoughts and prayers for the crew members and the family of the deceased. We arrived in St. Thomas on time.
Dining was a little disappointing but only because of the slowness of it. Our table was in the very back of the Pacific Dining room (late seating). Our waiters seemed to be have quite a few tables to cover and the distance from the kitchen really slowed them down. The food choices were good and my only complaint here was with the iced tea. There was no ice and the tea wasn't very good. By the end of the week, they had finally figured out we were watering down the tea and would do it for us. We had to ask for glasses of ice almost every night. Perhaps this is a southern thing, but we like ice in our iced tea. The days we didn't have early excursions, we ate breakfast in the dining room. It was also extremely slow! We ordered room service the days we had early excursions which consisted of choices of cereal, pastries, yogurt, fruit, coffee, juice etc. We didn't eat breakfast on the Lido deck but did eat lunch there every day. There are six different buffet type choices, including Chinese that we thought was very good. Also, burgers/hot dogs and pizza in the back of the Lido deck were available. A couple of days the crew members didn't keep up with cleaning the tables and people had to wander around quite a bit to find a clean table. I also spotted dirt in the corners as well as dust on the banisters and ledges.
Entertainment was spotty. One night the entertainers didn't even make it onboard! We had already seen one of the skits done by the dancers on another ship. I hate to say it, but I dozed thru one of the shows.
Disembarkment was amazingly simple! They hand out numbers at the informational meeting on the last night and you get off when your number is called. We were number 25 and it took until about 10:30 for them to call it. If you have an early flight, you can request a lower number.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give our experience an 11. We had a wonderful time, did much research for the excursions and remembered that not everything is always perfect....not even on a cruise.