We sailed out of Tampa on October 10th. My wife and I are in our late 30s and have two boys 7 and 10. I picked this cruise for the ports of call.
Getting on the ship was easy. There were long lines but it took less then an hour. We had lunch and where able to go straight to our room.
Cabin- We had booked an inside cabin but were offered a balcony for $300 more. I am so glad we went with the upgrade. However, I would not book a cabin under the Lido deck again. I would get one on deck 7 so it would still be convenient but not so loud. Every morning at 5 am you could hear chairs being pushed around on deck above us. Also, beware that in the back of the ship you feel the vibration of the motors that took some getting used. Mid-ship would have been better.
Camp Carnival- My 7 yld loved camp Carnival and begged to go back every day. My 10 yld was not so impressed. They often combined their groups and had 7 year olds and 12 year olds doing the same activity. A More
10 yld does not want to do crafts hours at a time. We have not had this issue in the past and Carnival would do well to be more creative for the older kids.
Ports- Grand Cayman- We took a taxi to 7 mile beach. $4 per person each way. I have done the island tour before and found it a waste of time and money. The beach is beautiful.
Cozumel- We took a taxi to Paradise beach. $8 per person each way. You pay $10 for full use of the blow up stuff in the water (slides, climbing wall). You can use their chairs and showers as well. This was great for the money but the beach was not as pretty as I was hoping. Once you got in the water the bottom was rocky in places with a lot of sea weed.
Belize- We took the tender and shopped for 30 min and went back to the boat. You must do an excursion here or it is not worth getting off the ship. I think Carnival should really look at going to another port if they cannot make this a safer stop.
Roatan- By far our favorite stop. We hired a driver from one of the vendors. The driver stayed with us the whole day. $20 per person. We went to West Bay. A beautiful beach. The driver watched our stuff while we snorkeled. When we left the beach he told he had pet monkeys the kids could see. He took us to his house. The kids were able to hold the monkeys and play with the for about 10 min. A great experience. I will pick future cruises based on this port. Grand Turk is my other favorite.
We had Senior Cruise Director John Heald on our cruise. For some reason he was just there for our cruise and the next one. He writes the blog for Carnival. He made the cruise. He is very funny. After reading all the complaints about the other CD I was glad to have him.
There were some lows on the cruise. The food was not as good in the main dining room as it used to be and I am not picky at all. They no longer offer the NY strip on the menu which was a favorite of mine. Also, this was a Goth Cruise. 150 people dressed in Goth was a little much at times especially with kids. Finally, the weather coming into port was rough. 12 hours of 30-40 mile an hour winds made for a long Saturday night. People who worked on the boat were saying this was the worse weather they had experienced.
Getting of the ship was easy with self assist. By 8am we were heading to our car. All in all a great cruise. You cannot beat Carnival for price and ports. Less