Our group consisted of myself, husband, daughter and son-in-law (his very 1st cruise).
My husband and I are veterans me with 17 cruises and my husband with 20. Our daughter has 6 cruises under her belt. Most of our cruises are with Royal Caribbean where we have Diamond status - whooee!
I had reservations about going on Carnival. I have to say up front that I expected a C, C+ and was happy to give Carnival a B-B+ rating. There were MINOR problems, the biggest was WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE, but that is August cruising and not Carnival's fault. We usually cruise in May and October/November but since our DD and SIL were coming we opted for August.
I thought the ship was dark at first, some areas more so than others with the Mermaid's Grill being one of the dark areas. It grew on us though, not a huge issue. Mermaid's Grill has an awkward (IMO) set up but don't worry, we figured out how to avoid the masses and we had plenty to eat during the cruise.
I thought the cabin was better (prettier) than on Royal Caribbean ships we've sailed. The cabins were not dark at all. Very nice and our cabin steward was very good although we did not see him much during the trip.
We thought dinner was very good and I tried alot of different dishes. If you are a steak eater and don't find anything on the menu to your liking, the daily fish entre was good and the flat iron steak (cooked medium) was wonderful!
David's Supper Club is much better than Portofinos on Royal. I love Royal Caribbean but I have to call 'em like I see 'em. We almost went back for another night to David's but we would miss our waiter and assist. waiter so we didn't.
Grand Turks and Caicos (sp?) I's give a C+. Beautiful pool, but I found the store staff to be unfriendly. It is very touristy, if you can, rent a golf cart and go see a little of the island and swim at Governor's beach. Everyone I spoke with that did that had a great time.
Half Moon Cay. Wonderful A+ even with the crowds. Get a big $15 coconut head Bahama Mama for a souvenir. Worth it. The water was amazing the sand like white powder. Heaven.
Nassau. Always a favorite. Grade A. We went on the Atlantis Beach Day excursion with lunch. Went to the beautiful beach but I was way to hot and went to the gorgeouse and very close pool to cool off. This excursion included lunch so we ate right there at the pool at THe Cave Grill for a huge hamburger and fries and refillable soda. Very nice and you can see the aquarium through big glass windows at the pool and The Cave. Really nice.
Freeport. Grade B- because I love the Bahamian water to swim. We went to Wyndam Resort beach day and that gets a Grade D. Don't bother booking. I read two reviews, one good one bad - I concur with the BAD ONE. I do like this port though. I like shopping in the little market right there at the ship and I love the water in the Bahamas. This excrusion was only a few dollars less than the Atlantis Beach day and it was short step above a dive not worth the money. Should've gone snorkeling.
Think that's it. Oh. Embarkation was a little cumbersome. We were early got a #5 ticket for boarding but didn't get on the ship until 2pm. Wasn't too bad though. Seemed like our embarkation went a little smoother.
Returning, we were parked in the Baltimore Port Parking Lot so we were last off the ship and we did not opt for the self assist luggage. Most people did and most looked like they were strugging. We left our cabin at 915 found a nice seat by a window near the IVory Bar, I went a got a few danish to go with our coffee and we waited about 2.5 hours. Once off the ship it was 25 minutes to go through customs and out to the car. We live 20 minutes south of Philadelphia so we were home in not time.
All in all a good cruise and I'd recommend especially for the price! :)