This was our 6th cruise overall and our 3rd on Carnival. We have sailed to a lot of the Caribbean before, so we chose this itinerary because of the ports-of-call, especially Grand Turk. WE have cruised on Carnival before, NCL, and Royal Caribbean.
We arrived at the port in Miami, and were whisked through the embarkation process. As previous cruisers, and because we were staying in one of the suites, we had VIP embarkation, which was simply phenomenal. We were onboard the ship within about 10 minutes of arrival to the port, which was truly amazing.
Our cabin was wonderful, very clean with plenty of space. For those of you who havent stayed in the suites before, it is very nice. Marble counters in the bathrooms, double vanities, and a jetted tub - for those of you who like that kind of stuff. Our balcony was nice, plenty big, with 3 chairs and a table which made sitting outside really nice.
The ports of call were what we expected but were just great. We really loved the private island of Half Moon Cay. The beach was wonderful. Plenty of places to sit, lots of chairs, and you could just sit on the beach, swim, snorkel, or whatever you wanted. We made this a relaxing day for us. All was good except the tendering process. There were only 3 tenders, so it took a while to get off the boat.
In St Thomas, we went scuba diving, and it was nice. Pretty much par for the course for the Caribbean. Not the best, but certainly not the worst.
We were not looking forward to San Juan because there just didnt seem like much to do there, and we really are beach/ocean people rather than sight seers. So we took the Bacardi Distillery tour, which was a bit disappointing. You dont actually get to see the distillery, but just go through their "visitors center". It was informative though and we did get free drinks which was nice. The tour then took us to the fort in San Juan, which was really cool. The place is huge and has amazing views. I highly recommend that.
Grand Turk was our favorite though. I have never seen more clear water. The beach just off the boat would have made for an incredible day without having to pay for anything. Plenty of chairs. Clear water. Bar close by. Very nice. But we went scuba diving, and I have to say that this is the best diving I have ever done (and we have been all over - Belize, Honduras, Cozumel, etc). Saw turtles, lots of fish, great coral, and the people that went in the morning even saw humpbacked whales - we werent so lucky though. But it was great. This was a stop we would absolutely make again.
As for the ship, it was really nice. We were very happy with the food selection, both in the main restaurants, and in the buffet. WE ate at the specialty restaurant one night, and it was really very nice. The main dining room was good, but not great. Our table mates were fantastic and we had a great time with them. Although we were put at a table that was like a booth at a fast food place - butted up against a wall on one side, which made it a bit cozy. WE got room service a couple of times and it was very timely and fresh. Good selections. You must try the fish and chips restaurant sometime and get the zucchini and calamari fritters, they are excellent. Also, the Reuben's in the deli are fantastic.
Entertainment - We loved the comedy shows they have now. You MUST go see them. Very funny. We did Karaoke a couple of nights which was fun, but mostly just the same people singing over and over and over. We only went to one show in the main lounge, and because it was so cheezy, we didnt go back. NCL had an amazing show last time we went and this one didnt compare to that in any way.
The pool deck was nice. There seemed to be plenty of chairs and even on the sea days we were able to get a chair any time we wanted.
The staff were wonderful as always. We never met anyone on board who wasnt smiling or didnt say hello. Our cabin was immaculate, and always well maintained by the staff. We tipped our steward on the first day and got great service.
All in all, this was a great cruise, with a great itinerary that we would absolutely do again.