I had heard the rumors about Carnival being a "party" cruise and was a little reluctant to book with them, but when I found a great deal and saw a lot of positive reviews here, I decided to give it a try and I am so glad I did. We had a fantastic time.
We were on the 5 day cruise with stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Embarkation and Debarkation both went very smooth. Embarkation we had maybe a 20 minute wait till they called our section but then got right on the ship and went up to the Lido deck for lunch. Debarkation was very fast, walked right out when our number was called, lines moved so fast we never had to wait, luggage was right there and customs was super fast.
After being on 3 Royal Caribbean cruises I was not sure how similar or different Carnival would be but they are actually very similar in most everything except their decor. I will have to say that some of the Carnival decor was neon and gaudy to me although some areas were nice, however that did not distract me and my friends from having an awesome time.
The food, service, cabins and shows are all about the same on both cruise lines although Carnival had the waiters sing and dance every night in the dining room whereas RCCL only does that on the last night. I had originally had concerns that the service would be lacking due to the gratuity being automatically charged to your account. But the service was great and our waiters and cabin attendant were wonderful.
In Grand Cayman we did the Best of Cayman Island tour and I must say while it was a good tour, I felt somewhat rushed thru everything. We only had 45 minutes at the turtle farm and 30 of that was a guided tour to 2 turtle tanks which left only 15 minutes to look around the rest of the place and no time to look in the gift shop. The Rum factory we had 20 minutes but the place was so packed because about 6 other tour buses came at the same time as us that we never got to the counter to sample any rum or rum cakes, the lines were way to long, but I did get to shop and buy rum cakes. At Hell we had 25 minutes which was just enough time to buy some postcards to mail and a shirt and view the lava rocks. But all in all the tour itself was good, the driver took us around to alot of historic places and a couple beaches along 7 mile beach.
In Cozumel we shopped on our own and went to an authentic Mexican restaurant for lunch. Had a great time bargaining for a silver bracelet.
We watched a lot of the shows and misc. games and things they have during the days and evenings. The love and marriage show was very funny. The ice carving was neat and we took the galley tour and I was very impressed on how clean the kitchen was. We got to go thru when they were starting to make dinner so we could see the different dishes being made, it was great.
Matt, the cruise director, was by far the best cruise director we have had, he was awesome and so funny.
We really enjoyed this cruise alot and would definitely recommend it.