Great Time Which I Planned Well
This is a great cruise for someone who likes to plan ahead and I did a great job, I must say. This is our fifth cruise and our third on Carnival.
Arrival into San Juan went just as planned except for Delta losing one of my bags. No problem, they sent it onto our hotel, the Sheraton Old San Juan, and it arrived that evening.
The Sheraton was nice, but I shouldn't have paid as much for it. Being a holiday weekend, July 4th, I wanted to be sure to get a room. In hindsight, I paid way too much at $300. But, I won a little playing blackjack and it evened itself out. The casino was nice but small. The area around the hotel was convenient and the CVS right down the block was essential to us. They sell beer and wine - we found we could take a six pack of beer per room onto the boat as well as the wine.
We walked around and found a restaurant I had read about called Barrachina, home of the Pina Colada. The food was decent, but way overpriced. I was surprised when More
I got the bill for four pina coladas at $12 a piece and a total of $160 for an okay meal. I'm not cheap, but it sure didn't seem worth it.
The next day we had a fabulous time eating street food in San Juan. The tree lined streets are gorgeous. We went to El Morro before boarding and had a great time. This is a beautiful fort.
We boarded around 2:30pm with a little waiting - not a problem. Our rooms were nice - typical Carnival interior room. Our room steward came in and introduced himself - he did a great job.
The food was fine - the same as our last cruise in March on Carnival Valor. It would have been nice to have a little variety, but it was good. The beverage service in the dining room as horrible. In fact, we left a few days without signing our bill. Our waiter told us to after we waited so long for her to come back. We never had more than one glass of wine and would catch up with her the next day. Service in general was a little slow in the dining room, but we are not very patient people.
The best part of our trip was the islands which I review on their port reviews. Each day was super and the weather was perfect for us. Such a great trip! Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
We spent the big bucks here and went with Silver Moon Catamaran. It was very, very well worth it for $110 a piece. We had 12 people on our boat and it was perfect. Swimming with the sea turtles was incredible and I got some great video on my underwater video camera. We then snorkeled a shipwreck which was fun and finally stopped close to a beach. We made the mistake of trying to swim into shore. Take note, there is no sand bar on Barbados and it was a heck of a swim in calm waters for what looked like a short distance. Don't try it without a life jacket. The food was great - flying fish, chicken, banana bread, and the drinks flowed well. This was one of the best days of my life. Keep the sunscreen on and that spray on stuff doesn't work very well. Use the lotion!
We took a trip with Levi Baron from Bumpiing Tours and really had a great time. What a beautiful island. Tituo Gorge was really neat and descriptions can't describe how cool this was. It was an unforgetable experince. The we went to Trafflager Falls which was very pretty and went into the hot springs there. It wasn't an easy climb throught the hot springs although we are pretty athletic. Rather like climbing around Dunn's Falls. It was a great experience and the rainforest in so pretty. Levi's trip was very well organized and definately worth the money.
We went to Cockleshell Beach. My son said this is his favorite beach, but I had to pick the Consol one. While he is 20 years old, the monkey riding the goat at Cockleshell Beach was really cool to him. We found a taxi driver after getting off the boat. Make sure you make a deal ahead of time and even write it down, because he tried to charge us more afterward. He was a good taxi driver though and gave us a good tour of the island including botanical gardens and great views. We felt a little ripped of on the Fort because we only took a photo of the back side of it and didn't get to go up to it. I would ask about this too in your dealings and make sure you can see the whole fort. But we had some great views and Cockleshell Beach was beautiful. We went to the Reggie Beach Bar and the end and had lunch. Very good lobster and mahi. FYI, the monkey handlers when you get off the boat will rip you off too. We asked how much and he said $5, but after two of us were in the picture, it was $10. We paid it since we didn't want a problem.
I'm so glad we chose Consol Tours. We had a great time and even though we didn't drive with Consol, he was present at all our stops. He's really alot of fun. The food was very good at the stops and it was neat to try the local cuisine. St. Lucia was the most beauiful of all the islands in my opinion. We took a water taxi on our trip to a beach between the pitons. Oh my gosh - it was so great and the snorkeling here was FABULOUS. I saw sea urchins, squid, tons of coral, and lots of interesting fish. What a wonderful day. The bread and cheese at the end of the tour is incredible. Believe me, you want to take this trip.
We just went shopping here because we had so many gifts to buy and had been so busy the rest of the trip. We got some great deals and found you could negotiate at many of the shops. Oh yes, you need to take the water taxi to get into town. It's near where you get off the ship. We had lunch and just took it easy. We thought about going to Orient Beach, but it was very hot and we were tired.
We went a week prior to the girl being killed. How sad for her family. We took the same safari buses from the taxi stand to Sapphire Beach. We were ignorant to any troubles in the area and didn't see anything unusual. I had read what a great beach it was and it certainly was everything and more. We had a great view, great snorkeling, and really big cool iguanas. We saw squid which was really neat.