Embarkation was a breeze! The biggest tip I can give you: DON'T GET THERE EARLY! It started at noon and we arrived around 1:30. I heard people saying the lines were really bad early on. We only had to wait in line for 20 minutes and it moved FAST!
Once we got on the ship we checked out the room. That's another advantage to getting there a little bit later. You can go right to the room. It was VERY spacious. I couldn't believe how much room we had for our clothes.
Probably one of my biggest gripes would be the muster drill. You have to go... but trust me on this... Don't go until the very last minute. They line everyone up in rows against the ship. Ours started late because an airplane full of Carnival passengers was delayed. Some people had to stand, squished in line, in 90 degree weather for an hour. We waited inside the ship, enjoying the AC, until we had to go out. The drill itself didn't last very long.
After that, it was pina coladas and smooth sailing! Ladies: it gets pretty windy on the boat... which can be really annoying if you have long hair. It whips right in your face. I will definitely be bringing a hat and a headband on our next trip!
Next up, dinner. We actually had a table for 2. I couldn't believe our luck. We didn't request it and I'm not sure if it would have made a difference if we had. Some people really enjoy the dinner conversation at big tables but by the end of each day we were exhausted. It was so nice not to wait for 8 other people to finish before getting up. As for the food... it was good and again, better than I expected. Don't expect big, bold flavors. Everything was pretty bland but it was well done. My hopefully soon to be mother-in-law would have loved it. She doesn't like a lot of spice in her food, but I do!
We also enjoyed the Red Sail Restaurant on the lido deck. It was buffet style with 4 different lines. It seemed like they had something different every night. On the floor above the Red Sail restaurant we finally found the fish and chips station. It took me forever to figure out where it was... which is sad because that along with the Supper Club, was some of the best food I had all week! DELICOUS! Once we found it, we stopped by every day.. but be warned it's only open during the early hours of the afternoon!
The Supper Club, was the best meal I've ever had! It's totally worth the extra money... but come hungry. I physically could not walk afterwards... I ate so much and I couldn't stop because it was so good.
At night... there are tons of options. Shows, Comedians, Piano Bars and the Casino... but I didn't enjoy any of them. I'm just not into that kind of stuff. The shows seemed geared towards old people. The 65 year old man sitting behind me during the Rock n' Roll show was actually screaming in excitement over the perfomance. I was a little turned off by the lead performer who was wearing a fish-net shirt. My boyfriend wanted to leave immediately but we stuck it out for about 45 minutes. That was all I could take. We did check out a comedian too. He was horrible. His biggest joke was about Lorena Bobbitt. Hello, it's not 1993 anymore... get some new material!
Please don't let my lack of enjoyment with the night-time activities deter you from this cruise. You're probably going to be too tired to do most of it anyways. We are in our early 30's and I was so tired that I went to bed before 11 everynight. Lame... I know!
Orient Beach was amazing. We got a chair, umbrella and a drink for 7 dollars at Aloha! Talk about a deal. This was in the topless area... but we really didn't see that much skin. Aloha is a beautiful open air restaurant. It's the type of place you imagine exists... but didn't think it really did. The food sounded amazing but we had to move on to our next destination before lunch. Orient Beach was probably my favorite place on the entire cruise. It was so beautiful in every direction... I could have spent the entire day there.
Then we went to Marigot. This is good shopping... but some of the French there don't exactly love the Americans. Oh and be warned... it's so hot there, they usually wrap up the open air markets around 2pm. So get there early. Honestly... this was the best shopping of the whole trip.
For lunch we went to Rosie's. It's a "lolo" which was turned into a sit down restaurant with outdoor seating. Anthony Bourdain actually recommended it on one of his shows. This is real caribbean cooking and it was delicioius. I highly recommend it... but be prepared, your stomach might not be your friend afterwards!
My boyfriend enjoyed his time at St. John during a previous trip (it's right next door) so we decided to do the champagne & sail excursion. Just our luck though... the seas were too rough so they were going to a different location. We still really wanted to go to St. John and fortunately they were also offering a St. John (trunk bay) snorkeling excursion. We signed up for that instead and saved $50 dollars! The trip was great. Talk about a beautiful beach. Because of the rough seas, everyone kept saying visibility underwater wasn't great, but we saw tons of fish. I can't even imagine what it's like on a good day!
On the way home from the tour, the guide told us about some great places to go right next to the port. To our surprise it was one of the nicest shopping centers I've ever seen! The shopping center was called The Yacht Haven Grande. We got to one of the restaurants, Wikked, during happy hour. Yummy and cheap drinks along with wings and tacos. I highly recommend the chicken tacos and rum and coke wings. Don't touch the habenero ones... they were make you cry hot!