This was my 5th cruise through Carnival. I traveled with my husband for our 5 year anniversary. Overall, we had a very relaxing cruise...here are the details:
Day 1/Embarkation: We live about an hour south of Baltimore so my brother dropped us off at the port. A worker was waiting at the drop off area and immediately took all of our bags. Carried my purse and my husband had a backpack with all of our important documents. I also carried on a 12 pack of pepsi because I didn't want to purchase soda on board. Also we carried on a bottle of wine and champagne. Check in took quite awhile, the line was REALLY long when we got there, which was about 1:45 so I do suggest to get there earlier. I don't like the way they have the line set up, it is hard to tell when it is your time to go to the desk because there are so many people jammed in the front. Overall, check in took about 45 minutes and then we were allowed to get on board. We were on the ship around 2:30ish. We got some lunch on the Lido deck, we both had some Chinese food, which was good. I also got a drink which cost $7.25 and could get as many refills using the same cup throughout the cruise on the daily special with a dollar off. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but I didn't particularly care for the daily drink specials because they all tasted like rum punch. We had early dinner seating so we ate at 6 in the Normandie dining room. Good food, service was slow but that was expected since it was first night.
Day 2 & 3: Days at Sea. My husband and I are both pool and sun people. We got up by 9 on both days and Monday we went to the gym and ran on the treadmills. The ship was quite rocky on Monday morning so that made running a little difficult. Tuesday we ran on the 10th deck, which is where people run and walk in the morning. 3.5 laps equals one full mile, this was really nice. We also put some towels on 2 chairs by the adult pool in the back to make sure we had good seats, make sure to claim seats early because they fill up quickly and don't really open up. Ate lunch both days in Mermaid grill on Lido. Monday we had pizza and Tuesday we had sandwiches from the deli. Turkey on a country roll is really good (get it toasted). Breakfast also in Mermaid grill. A couple of the stations have made to order omelets...those were good. Dinner was in Normandie dining room. Again, good food and service. Went to a show on Day 2...not good. Day 3 was the ventriloquist, I thought he was good.
Day 4: Grand Turk. We messed up with our excursion time. We thought we were to meet our group at 9, but it was really 8:30 am to go snorkeling on a catamaran. So, they left us, which was our own faults. Someone was there from Carnival who was able to get a full refund and booked us on the Captain's Snorkel and Hike excursion instead. The excursion started at 11 so we went to some of the shops and then to the beach, which is right off of the pier. It was a nice little beach with nice blue water. The excursion was pretty fun, didn't see to many fish while snorkeling and the hike was a complete joke, but the boat ride was a lot of fun and it was nice to be in the water. The rum punch they gave us at the end was strong, which was a bonus. We got back on board and got some lunch up on Lido and then hit the hot tub and pools. Then we went to dinner at David's. It was ok, but not all that it is cracked up to be. I had prime rib and didn't really like the way that it was cooked. If I were to do it again I would have gotten the surf and turf combo. Really yummy cheesecake though! Went to karaoke at night, that was fun. Drank a lot!
Day 5: Half Moon Cay. We tendered out to the island in the morning, we were on tender 10. Make sure you go get tender tickets early if you plan on getting a clam shell, which I recommend. My husband went down and got the tender tickets while I got dressed to go to breakfast. Then we ate and by the time we got back to the room they called our tender. When we arrived we immediately went to the station on the beach and rented the clam shell, if you don't you will have to sit in the sun and it is really really hot there. It was relaxing there, just chilled in the shade with a book, got in the water and played on the trampoline, ate lunch at their grill they have set up there...which was quite a walk from where we were sitting. Had a hamburger which was good, nothing that special. Lemonade there sucks. Caught a tender back around 2:30 and went to the gym. Then went to the pool and hot tub. We ate at Normandie and I had the veal Parmesan...it was TERRIBLE. I think the meat was bad or freezer burned or something. Tasted my husbands and his was fine. I didn't complain, just went up after he we done and got some pizza and frozen yogurt. Only bad meal that I had all week. Went to the comedy show, pretty funny (rated R). They did kick out a mom with a 10 year old boy.
Day 6: Freeport. We did the swim with the dolphins excursion, something that I have always wanted to do, and loved it. Great experience and I highly recommend it. One BIG problem though...after we got back from swimming with the dolphins they take you back to their shop to buy pictures, get souvenirs, they also have a little cafe outside. Hubby and I wanted to try conche, so we went to the cafe and ordered some for lunch. They told us our bus was going to head back to the ship at 1 and be outside in the front of the shop by 1 to get on. So around 12:50 we walk back into the shop and it's looking empty in there so we go out the front and EVERYONE IS GONE! The lady that worked there said the bus had just left and she had called for everyone 10 times and they thought they had everyone...well obviously NOT. There were also 2 other couples that went to a nearby shop and also missed the bus, even though we were about 10 minutes early. They lady acted mad, like it was our faults that she let the bus leave without 6 people on it. So she kept telling us that she called us and blah, blah, blah..finally she walked us about 1/2 mile down where another excursion was leaving and got us on their bus, standing room only. So we had to stand in a very crowded bus with a crazy driver...so that wasn't good, but oh well. It really was the excursions fault though, UNIEXO...they should not let that bus leave early or they need to take a head count. We walked through some of the shops around the ship and picked up a few things. then got back on board. Ate some lunch and again went to the pool and hot tub.
Day 7: Day at Sea. Last day at sea we just took it easy. Did a quick workout on the treadmill and then went to the pool and just relaxed. Around 4 we went in and packed up our stuff so we would have a free evening. Went to dinner at Normandie, good food, tipped our waitress for all of her hard work. Went to the casino at night and a few of the bars.
Sunday...we got into port a little late due to rough seas. We pulled in around 10:30 and did self debarkation. If you choose to do this make sure your luggage has wheels and you pack everything securely. We were off the ship by 12 and flew through customs. My brother was there to pick us up and take us home.
Final thoughts...loved the balcony. Don't know if I would cruise without one. Take a LOT of sunscreen, you will need it. Had good weather every single day. We like the spray sunscreen. Room steward wasn't as great as on previous cruises. She didn't seem to keep things as clean and organized and when we did see her she was not all that friendly. The seas are a bit rougher then past cruises, since leaving from Baltimore...take medicine if you get motion sickness. I did feel sick Monday morning (but maybe alcohol played a part in this as well). Go with the flow and keep yourself busy, you will have a great time. Also, Jamie was the cruise direct, and we weren't that fond of her, kind of annoying and loud screechy voice. Assistant director was Eli, he was a little cutie and did a good job.