My husband and I travel quite often.He is great at planning trips. This is only our 8th cruise, but we love to see different parts of the world and I really wanted to go on this particular ship.We live only 38 miles from Port Canaveral, so it was an easy drive. We were joined by good friends we have known for a long time, who are great traveling companions.We arrived at the port at 10:30. Once on board we headed up to the Lido deck. My husband quickly found the Pasta Bar and the Prime Rib, so he was happy. My friend & I did a quick tour of the Spa and Serenity decks. When we returned, we all headed down to check out our cove balconies (don't tell anyone, but these are a great value!). We met our room steward, Jhonny, who kept our rooms immaculate all week. He always had a smile on his face. My husband & I then went up to the Lido for a meet n' greet with some fellow cruise critic passengers. Then it was down to the Crimson Restaurant for the new & improved Muster drill. We walked back to the Scarlet Restaurant to check on our table assignment for dinner. There we met a couple who were apparently from our home town (he was wearing a Pitt hat). After a few minutes I realized that his wife & I graduated from the same college the same year. Big ship, small world! At dinner that evening, we quickly surmised that our table on the upper level was in a rather high traffic area and knew that we would be requesting to move. Plus the unsupervised toddler at the next table had several near misses with the waiters. An accident waiting to happen! We explored the ship more after dinner. Found the Page Turner Library, with a good supply of books & games, then just wandered around checking out all the places I had read about online. The ship is absolutely beautiful! The layout is similar to the Carnival Freedom and Splendor, but much more subdued and elegant in decor. We finally went to the Encore Theatre for the Welcome Aboard Show with our favorite cruise director, John Heald. This is our third cruise with John. His British accent, wicked sense of humor and uncanny ability to find people with the most "memorable" names, makes for an evening you will never forget.Funny, funny man! The Encore is also very elegant. Beautiful gray-beige granite on the walls around the stage. The mini tables in front of the leather sofas were a pale green granite. It all comes together quite nicely.
So far, A+ on decor, cove balcony, room steward, muster drill and cruise director!
now for the Food- BREAKFAST--Most mornings we ate in the Scarlet dining room. My favorite is the Eggs Benedict, which you can also get at Brunch, and there it is served on Cranberry Brioche bread..yum! My husband usually opted for an omelet, which you can also get at the Gathering on Lido deck.We always got the fresh fruit. At the Gathering Buffet I ate the French Toast, Banana bread and spinach baked in filo. Their orange juice is quite good also, and we squeeze our juice from our own orange trees at home. LUNCH--so many choices! I love the Deli, great Reuben or smoked salmon on bagels.The Fresh Pasta Bar has the best meat lasagna I have ever eaten (including Italy)Our friends loved the sliders at the BBQ on deck 5. DINNER--We requested a table change and am happy to report that we were moved to the lower level, in the rear by the windows to a table for 10 with the best waiters in the world!I Made and Inyoman from Indonesia were our waiters. Efficient,charming and great dancers. Practically everything we ate was good, especially the warm chocolate melting cake. We also ate at the Chef's Art Supper club. We always do this. I think the Supper Clubs are a great value. I actually thought the decor here was a bit understated(imagine saying that about a Carnival ship!). I actually preferred the opulence of the Carnival Splendor or Freedom. Also there was no live music on the night we were there. The food was fantastic though, from the jumbo Tiger Shrimp to the chocolate sampler, all wonderful. We only ate here once,however, because our table at the Scarlet restaurant was so perfect.
ENTERTAINMENT-- When you read every one's reviews and they tell you not to miss the "Dancing in the Streets" Show...Believe them! It is a Broadway quality show. Lawrence Neals is an outstanding singer and the Carnival Dancers are superb. A great show. Get there early. If you do not enjoy this show, please check your pulse to see if you are alive...
A+ on the food and entertainment!
PORTS OF CALL
COZUMEL-We rented a car from Alamo. We stopped at Paradise Beach, then drove to the other side of the island to Playa Bonita and had some Killer Margaritas! Fortunately my dear husband was driving and he did not have any tequila!! We also drove to San Gervasio to see the ruins. Later we found the Megastore, a cleaner version of Walmart. A delightful day! ISLA ROATAN- We could not dock here because of the high winds. I had booked a private tour for four with Victor Bodden because of all the rave reviews I read on Cruise Critic. We were going to go zip lining and visit the monkeys, so I felt really bad about missing this port. BELIZE- We booked a Carnival Excursion to Altun Ha and River Wallace.Big mistake! We were herded into a big line, waited awhile, then told to turn around and get onto a small boat for the River Cruise. For 90 minutes, we inhaled exhaust fumes from the rear of the boat where we sat. It was nauseating, and that was just the beginning of the tour.Then we had to take a bus to Altun Ha. I couldn't wait to get back on our beautiful ship! COSTA MAYA-We booked a tour with Native Choice which I read about on Cruise Critic. Wonderful tour! We went to Chacchoben in an air-conditioned van with seven other passengers. Our tour guide was Jose. He was great.I loved these ruins. So much more pleasant than the day before. I highly recommend this excursion.
All in all I really enjoyed this cruise. It is a beautiful ship, impeccably clean, great wait staff, unlimited entertainment, endless amounts of good food, hilarious cruise director, and I went with the man of my dreams!