I feel like I am still on the ship rocking today! It is a Carnival Cruise. Much more diverse since the last time I cruised. The white US cruisers were very casual. I can see why there have been complaints about following the dress codes in the dining rooms. It was fun talking with people from many cultures. Many traveling in groups with matching T-shirts some time during the cruise. 12 latino girls celebrated their Quincera (sp?) 15th birthday with the fabulous ball gowns and all the trimmings. Fun to see everyone having fun.
Embarkation. Transfers went fine. Hurry up and wait in line 3 different places at the dock. A room key printer broke and they were unable to reroute to another printer once you were in a certain line. By the time we got to the room we were starved and exhausted.
Room. Well....I know the rooms aren't big....This room did have a handicapped accessible bathroom but it just took space from the rest of the area. Closet space was less. One closet had three drawers and the other had just hanging space. Hard to keep organized. It was very clean. Being on the 10 th floor we felt very little motion. #1008
Food. Free ice cream, pizza and room service was a plus. The 13 yr old nephew would be starving late at night and we ordered room service 5 of the nights. The longest wait was 45 min. Most came in 10 - 15. The menu is the same but has a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, starters, desserts and drinks. We enjoyed the dining room experience. Always a variety of choices with "Carnival Classics" a menu of basic chicken, vegetarian and beef dishes if the more exotic choices didn't interest. Staff was very accommodating in moving us to a group table so that we could meet others. I had a Indian vegetarian dish the first night that was fab. I thought the variety was excellent. We went to the buffet for breakfast (if we were up) and lunch. The ship sails full (3700) so one time or twenty the people go through the buffet. This gets to be much and often finding a table can be a little difficult. The staff is working constantly to keep up and I think they do a good job. They have a variety of stations. Sushi in one area every day. Mongolian, World Flavors, General, Desserts, Deli. My nephew said the meats did not have much flavor. He liked the deli sandwiches. Lines got long. If you were trying to eat together and each wanted to try something different it was not easy to get your foods at the same time and find each other. Burgers and hot dogs and few other snack items were available during the day near the pool areas. Drink cards are a must if you drink soda. Sodas are 1.95 plus 18% gratuity. Alcohol drinks are 7.50 plus G. Your bar bill adds up quickly.
Ship. The ship ages quickly with this many people. They were constantly cleaning and I felt that it was done well. With so many people the pool areas were crazy. We went into the pools once when we came back early from shore otherwise people were standing shoulder to shoulder with their drinks. It was crowded. My nephew got an eyeful! The ship is laid out to spread the people out. But there were only 2 floors that went across. We were constantly going up, across and down. Met many on the elevators. Met many kids from all over on the elevators. That was crazy. Kids running free up and down. They were able to program one set of elevators to erase the floors if they were all pushed.
Entertainment. EHHHH. I liked the ones that included audience members as part of the program. The production numbers .......I don't know. Just ok. I was invited to 2 events for returning cruisers. Liked those and the free drinks. Did bingo, slot tournament, omg. The cost added up for these and I didn't win the cruise. Mini golf - so so course, shuffleboard missing pieces and not waxed, ping pong, movies on deck. Went to many of the trivia, participation type programs.
Shore excursions. Cozumel. Signed up for helmet dive but after filling out health questionnaire transferred to the Scoot Coupe. Loved it. 3 wheel scooter with top speed of 45. 2 wheels in the front one in the back. You sit side by side and it drives like an ATV. 3.5 - 4 hour trip around mostly the undeveloped portion of Cozumel. 1 stop at a hotel where you get a water or soda. Don't go in the water here. Sit on the swing at the bar or on the swaying beds next to the pool. You travel further down the coast stopping at another beach. Lunch at your own expense is offered but we went in the water and there was not enough time at this stop. Gorgeous. Continued on to an overpriced gift shop where the guide gave the speech about tips....The last leg took us through the natives residential area. This was a great experience for nephew to see how others live. The families on bicycles and 4 to one scooter. It was a learning opportunity. On Grand Cayman we did the Dolphin/Sea Turtle/Stingray excursion. This was fabulous here. So glad we chose this port to see the dolphins. I would not add the sting rays. We saw 2 in a tiny pool. Better than nothing but...You can feed the turtles ($3.00 for a small bag of food) and pick up smaller ones. People were also snorkeling at this place in a lazy river type area. Very clean. The Dolphin encounter was fabuloussssss. They divided you into groups of 8 and let you swim with dolphin, pet, kiss, be pushed on a boogy board. It was a very nice and clean facility. There are lockers for your belongings and life preservers. You may not bring in cameras. By the time you get out you have pictures and a dvd available. They take you to a room to view the video and proceed to the desk. Four 5X7 photos and video was $100. Jamaica. The area at the end of the pier is enclosed and all the buses have to go through a gate so that the cruisers are not accosted. Went to the zip line 2000 ft up the mountain. Scary drive and drivers! Abject poverty along the way. Provided another learning experience. It is absolutely gorgeous here. It's hot and you see the mist coming off the mountains. The zip line, atv and paintball place is on both sides of the roads near the top. It is fenced in and topped with barbed wire. Nice garden and they seem to be continuously upgrading. Was served a fruit drink in a bamboo cup. Sodas and waters available for purchase. I like the Jamaica soda Tingle. There are 4 zips here all of different lengths and intensities. You must be in good shape. The first zip line has a 35 ft drop before it catches and you go across. You have to climb up to a forest ranger type platform. The second zip you climb up a telephone pole. At 13 it was easy. Two recent college graduated women found the climb challenging. There is a rope attached to you so that if you fall off you won't go down to the ground. Next was the giant swing. It holds 3 people and is pulled back 65 ft in the air. One of the riders gets to pull the rip cord and off you go. Scream time. The 3rd zip is across the road. We could not walk to the other side without escort. They worry you might be accosted. The 3rd line is another telephone pole. The length of this line is amazing and the valley you traverse is so gorgeous. I couldn't see my nephew at the other end it was so long. I could not see the 4th zip. DN also rode ATVs here. He was disappointed because the one he had at home was bigger. Just ride and think "I am doing this in Jamaica". I think Jamaica is the most beautiful of our stops but the most poverty stricken. Returning to the pier we could see a man swimming beneath begging for $1 to be dropped. At dinner after a day in Jamaica we heard many stories about Dunn River Falls. One of our tablemates dislocated a shoulder and others had other aches and contusions. All said the activity level for the falls was too low. It is very slippery even in water shoes. They enjoyed the skyride and lunch at the top. The exit way gift shop at the bottom of the falls was mentioned by many. Most said you couldn't look at anything without the hard sell. They just wanted to get out. Carnival leaves behind items here on the pier for charity, used equipment, furniture, bedding, and mattresses.