My boyfriend and I booked this cruise a few months after coming home from a "disaster" cruise where we were fogged in at port, missed one stopped and survived a flood in another (we were wading through knee deep water!). We hadn't planned on doing another cruise so soon, but found a great deal on this one. We loved the itinerary and so we decided to book it. Our families and friends laughed that we would chance another cruise so soon, but we just hope and prayed for better weather and figured we couldn't have two bad cruises in a row. We were definitely right; this cruise was perfect. We couldn't have asked for better weather, excursions, or an overall cruise experience.
We flew in San Juan on the Sunday of embarkation. We would have liked to spend more time in San Juan, but decided to save money by not spending on hotels before or after the cruise. We went ahead and booked transfers through Carnival before and after the cruise. The transfer to the ship went smoothly, although we did have to wait awhile at the airport since there was a long line of people waiting for transportation. Once we got to the port, embarkation was easy and fairly quick. We were on the ship around 4:30 and decided to stay on and explore instead of getting off to see San Juan.
The ship was standard fare for a Carnival ship - pretty flashy. Our cabin was fine. It was a pretty standard oceanview room. Nothing to write home about, but it had plenty of room for both of us. I did notice that the bathroom wasn't ever clean and sparkling, but that was due to wear and tear of the ship and opposed to our steward not doing a good job. Our steward was friendly and did a great job taking care of his guests. We noticed throughout the ship that there seemed to be more wear and tear than other ships we have been on. My boyfriend and I are pretty anti-cruise cruise people. We love cruises because it's an easy and affordable way to see a bunch if different places, but we could care less about the "fun crew," the vegas style shows, the pictures, etc. However, we do embrace the cheesiness of it sometimes. We skipped out on a few shows and the 1-2 we saw were exactly the same as on our December cruise. However, we loved both of the comedians and thought the juggler was good as well.
Because we were in port every day, we didn't spend as much time on the ship. The time we spent on the ship was mostly spent taking naps (it's vacation after all), gambling in the casino, or being entertained by our fellow cruisers in the karoke lounge or piano bar. All the casino staff and bartenders we came into contact with were friendly and helpful and made our cruise experience more enjoyable.
We dined every night in the Pacific dining room late seating. The food was not over the top excellent, but definitely good enough to keep us full for the whole week and probably the week after. I'm a sucker for desserts, so as long as I finished my night with Bitter and Blanc or Chocolate Melting cake I was satisfied. Our head waiter was pretty new (I hope), so he made a lot of mistakes (bringing the wrong dish or forgetting to bring dishes), but he was always apologetic and quick to fix the mistake. Our whole service team was very friendly. Our bar server was hilarious and queen of the up-sale. Unfortunately for sign and sail accounts of our entire table, we were pretty easy to fall for the up-sale. The lines in the buffet always seemed long, especially at breakfast. We always made sure we left extra time to eat breakfast than we really needed to account for standing in line. At lunch, we tried to avoid the buffet lines as much as possible and either ate in port or went to the grill, pizzeria, asian line or deli. I never like eating buffets so I like the other options more anyway.
Debarkation day came way too soon, but I guess it was inevitable that we would have to go back to the real world. We were instructed to put our bags outside of the room by 11pm on Saturday. Since we didn't get back to our room until after 11pm that night, we just held onto our bags throughout debarkation. Since our flight wasn't until the late afternoon, we waited until our number was called and avoided any lines getting off the ship. Debarkation and customs was a breeze. Overall our trip was fantastic. We both rated it our favorite cruise out of my three and his five. The itinerary really made the trip what it was, but we were happy with the ship experience too. We both agreed that we would do the same cruise again if given the chance.