This was the second cruise I've taken with my mom. I've been on five cruises (4 w/Carnival; 1w/RC). This was my mom's third. I'm 32 and she's 52. I hadn't taken a cruise in two years, so I was really itching to go on another one and asked my mom if she was game. Our cruise was a six day 6/28-7/4.
We left out of Ft. Lauderdale which was storming when we arrived the day before. I really didn't care about the rain in Ft. Lauderdale I was just hoping it wouldn't follow us on our cruise. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Air Sea Port. They had free shuttle service from the airport and also to the cruise port. It was a nice hotel with VERY comfortable beds. I loved their mattress and pillows. They also provided a hot continental breakfast.
Sunday: Day of the cruise we woke up and had some breakfast. Arrived at the port around 11a. It was pretty chaotic because there were still people disembarking from the previous cruise. Once we left our bags with the porter it really wasn't that bad. We were zone 3 and we were on the ship within 45 minutes of arriving. We headed straight to the fish and chips station where there was no line. After we ate, we just explored the ship since we couldn't go to our room. The ship is very nice. I've read previous reviews where people thought it was tacky. I didn't see tacky I thought it was a lovely cruise ship. This is the largest one I've been on. The grand buffet was huge! At around 130p they allowed us to go to our cabins. We were in cabin 7204 on the Empress deck. This is a room that has an obstructed view of the ocean. I must tell you that this cabin is located at the very front of the ship. I would not do this again because there were a couple of nights the ship rocked and you could really feel it up there. The size of the room was enough for us. These beds were also very comfortable. Since our luggage hadn't arrived, we just unloaded our carry ons and went to take care of our sail and sign accounts. As we went through the muster drill it started raining again, so we didn't participate in the sail away party. My mother had a hard time remembering which deck everything was located, so I had to answer the same questions over and over again. I'm sure some of you can relate to that. Our luggage finally arrived later in the evening and we unpacked. We had the late dining, so we had time to relax before dinner. Went to the dining room that night and met our dinner mates. They were all nice. I went to the casino that night and played a little blackjack. Didn't win anything. Checked out a little bit of the movie they were playing on the big screen on the lido deck then retired to bed.
Monday: Got up and had some breakfast on the lido deck. Everything was very good. Our first stop was Key West. This is a cute little place. We didn't do any excursions just walked around. I did have a piece of key lime pie because you can't go to Key West and not try the pie. It was very delicious! Like I said, we didn't do much just walked and shopped.
Tuesday: Our first day at sea. This was very relaxing. I found a nice shaded area on the spa deck. I read a little while sipping on a drink of the day. Played a little bingo and enjoyed the day.
Wednesday: Arrived in Grand Cayman. This was my second time here and my mom's first. This is a very pretty island. Seems to be pretty Americanized. We took a cab to the beach and hung out for a few hours. We didn't eat anything because in my opinion the prices were ridiculous. I could just wait and eat back on the ship since I've already paid for it. After our beach time, we took a cab back to the town near the pier and just walked around about bought a few things and headed back to the ship. You get tendered to the island in Grand Cayman. It really wasn't that bad going or coming for us. Carnival Inspiration and Liberty of the Seas were also in port the same day.
Thursday: This stop was Ocho Rios. My mom really didn't want to do much because she had heard bad things, so we just did a little shopping in town and headed back to the ship. I've climbed the falls before, so I didn't feel like I was missing out on much. I also decided to treat myself to the spa this day since they had inport specials. It was really nice and I felt so relaxed. I also appreciated the fact that she didn't try to shove a sales pitch down my throat.
Friday: Our last sea day. Again a nice relaxing day. I loved the fact that I was on my own schedule and I could do what I want when I wanted. I couldn't believe our trip had already come to an end. It went by so quickly.
Summary: This was a very nice and relaxing cruise. My mom thought it was a little too long for her, but she still had a good time. I think she will stick to the 4 day itineraries. I loved it. We ended up with beautiful sunny weather the entire cruise. Everyone was very nice. I do want to say our room steward Marlon (from Costa Rica) was wonderful. Everytime we came back to our room it was always cleaned. Our beds were always turned down with a lovely towel animal. Our dining staff (Kenroy & I can't remember his asst) were excellent as well. In all the cruises I've been on, I've never experienced such fast service! There were some tables who were just getting their entrees by the time we received dessert. Very efficient. The food in the dining room was delicious and of course you can't complete a review without mentioning the warm chocolate melting cake! Those of you who have sailed on Carnival know exactly what I mean. I had our entire table enjoying this delectable treat! All of the food was wonderful. One thing to mention, if you enjoy the mongolian grill, try to time when it opens because the lines form quick and you will wait. John Heald was our CD and he was very entertaining. We only went to one show, so I can't say too much about the productions. Spent a little time in the casino and won about $60 on the slots. Blackjack was not kind to me this time around. We also enjoyed listening to Alex (located on the promenade) nightly. I always enjoy Carnival. I'm open to other cruiselines, but I will not hesitate to book with Carnival again. A great time was had by all.