Let me start by saying that this ship is absolutely beautiful and in immaculate condition. It was everything I was expecting and more. This may be kinda long because I am a big fan of the review by category.
My husband and I drove from Georgia on Friday morning. We decided to stay at the Radisson at the Port. The room was $99 for the night and that included parking at the hotel and a shuttle to the port. I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone who is driving. It was very nice and very clean. The pool was wonderful...waterfalls and all. The shuttle runs every 30 minutes so it is very convenient. It takes you to the port the day of leave and picks you up the day you get home. Very easy. If you choose to park at the port, be prepared to spend $10 a day.
Embarkation: So easy. Our shuttle left the hotel at 11:30 am and we arrived at the port in about 10 minutes. The process was very smooth. We were checked in and on the ship by 12:15 pm. Make sure you fill out your fun pass online before arriving at the port. The line for the people who had not done this was very long and was not moving very quickly.
Cabin: We were in a balcony stateroom # 9282 on the Lido deck. Our room was very nice. The cabin steward was very attentive to our requests. We did tip her $30 when we got onboard. I am sure that helped. We choose to pack bottled water and a few sodas in our luggage as well as a collapsible cooler. The cabin steward dumped out the melted ice and filled the cooler up with fresh ice each day. It was very nice to have cold water in our room. When the bottles were empty, we took them to the lemonade and apple juice station and filled them up. It was very convenient to have drinks in the room. There is a blow dryer in each room but I would suggest bringing your own. I would also suggest bringing a small clock as well as an electrical strip. There is only 1 outlet in the entire room. There is no clock at all.
Pool area: BE CAREFUL! It gets very, very slippery. I slipped coming down the stairs from the hot tub and I saw several other people fall as well. A Carnival employee said that this was a big issue on board. Why it has not been fixed is beyond me so please watch your step.
Food: The food was wonderful. We chose to eat in the formal dining room (Golden, Late) 5 nights out of seven. We were at table 169 and our waiter (Ken) and asst. waiter were wonderful. They definitely made dinner time fun. Maybe you will be lucky enough to get the same people and hear the Eskimo joke! Very funny. The Maitre D (Ricardo) was great as well. One night we ate in the Red Sail and the other night we ate in the Emerald Supper Club. The dinner in the Supper Club was wonderful. Definitely worth the extra $25 per person. I was not very impressed with the selection in the Red Sail for lunch or dinner at all. The breakfast was always good. Definitely get a grilled reuben and eat at Fish and Chips.
Shops: I thought that the shops onboard were ok. Nothing special although they did have good prices on liquor.
Cruise Director: Stuart Dunn. He was so funny. He is from Australia so he has a really sexy accent. He added a bit of humor into everything even if it was giving the info talk about debarkation. I have cruised several times before and he was definitely the best cruise director yet.
Excursions: I have to say that I was very disappointed with the organization of the excursions on this trip. We have sailed with Carnival before and when you got off the ship you always knew exactly where to go. Not the case this time. In 2 out of 3 excursions we had no idea what we were doing or where to go. This said, 2 of the 3 excursions were wonderful. NASSAU: We did the dolphin encounter. It was once of the most amazing things I have ever done. Kinda pricey at $93 pp but well worth it. We were able to get in the water with the dolphins and hug them, kiss them, dance with them, etc. Make sure you bring a water proof camera as you will get some amazing pics. ST. THOMAS: We chose to go to Coral World. It was $35 pp and I would never do it again. 3 hrs. is way too long. We did not enjoy it. ST. MAARTEN: Hands down, this is my fav port. It was very clean and beautiful. We did the Divi Little Bay Beach Experience. It was a great value at $38 pp. We were there for 4 hrs. It is a beach resort and they put out beach chairs and umbrellas and you hang out all day. There is beach volleyball, crab racing, jet ski rentals, parasailing, fresh water showers and a fresh water pool. The excursion includes transportation, 2 drinks (alcohol, soda or water) as well as a BBQ lunch. When I think of hanging out on the beach in the Caribbean, this is what I picture. This was the only excursion that was very organized.
Entertainment: We missed almost every show. Our dinner was at 8:30 pm and by the time we were done, it was pushing 10:30 pm. We did make it to the "R" rated comedy shows. We were rolling on the floor laughing. So funny. Do not miss these shows.
Debarkation: I had read several reviews saying that this was a nightmare. We had no problems. We were told that the rooms needed to be vacated by 8 am. My husband and I left our room at 7:30 and were waiting for an elevator to go to the Amber Palace when they called out color luggage tags. We chose to leave our luggage out the night before. They call decks from highest deck to lowest deck so the higher you are, the earlier you get off. They called us at 7:30 and we were off the ship by 8 am. As I said earlier, we left our car at the Radisson...we were picked up almost immediately and we were in our car on the road by 9 am. No problems at all. Everything ran like clockwork.
All in all our vacation was wonderful. Some of the areas were crowded at times. Some people were very rude. All I can say is please remember that there are other people on vacation besides yourself. Be considerate of others. Do not cut lines....the food is not going anywhere. I promise they will not run out.
We would definitely sail on this ship again! They were small issues but nothing to spoil our fun. I would rate this ship A+. Happy cruising.
Please feel free to email me if you have any questions!