I used Cruise Critic extensively for my cruises. My review has a double value for any member using it since I am giving a double review; 2009 & 2010.
Due to the economy, we are now looking for a great value. We have gone from a luxury budget on another "uppity" cruise line to the "Fun Ships" of Value. What many people don't know there is not a big difference between the two cruise lines except for the money left in your wallet. There was no champagne at arrival, but the rooms are bigger than the other cruise line.
I recommend arriving to San Juan a couple of days early to enjoy this island. The hotel, Caribe San Juan, is beautiful, on the water & centrally located. We rented a car and went browsing through the Old San Juan area. Enjoyed our first meal at a restaurant call Old San Juan & had the popular, native dish "Mofongo" beautifully presented in a wooden bowl w/a pitcher of Sangria. Yes, it was in a tourist area & a bit pricey. We loved the "Mofongo" so much we tracked down another restaurant that also offered the "Mofongo" outside the Old San Juan area. (Mofongo is plantains w/a shredded beef)
We went to the Rain Forrest, the free Bacardi Run Tour, & the Observatory.
The only neg I gave for 2009 cruise was for the disorganized embarkation which was a 1 1/2 hour process in a room that was not air-conditioned. Much improved this year; about 15 minutes.
Ship itself - Kind of a tacky Vegas style feel to it & surprised at the bath tub size pools filled with people. I loved the "Fun" attitude on the ship; large screen TV on the pool deck, big waterslide (Yes, my sister & I enjoyed this slide along side the kids)
Food - I rate the food on the ship the same ratio as the "uppity" cruise; 90% excellent w/great presentation & 10% what were you thinking? Someone on the 2010 cruise asked us about the waiters singing & dancing. We responded that, "no, we were on the same cruise last year & that didn't happened." Five minutes later, the lights started flashing & sure enough the waiters broke into a rap song in the middle of dinner! Filled the room with positive energy & smiles! Loved it! Enjoyed the booth seating that is not available on the "Uppity Line" The ship has a great variety of food areas; pizza bar, sandwich bar, Sushi Bar, Gelato Bar & Gourmet Coffee (extra fees for the last 2) Note: No matter what cruise line you are on, the entire staff will go out of their way to make your cruise a great experience, please remember to thank them! I see too many people abuse the staff & then they have to turn to you next with a smile on their faces! Not an easy job.
Love the Disembarkation on Carnival - You can sit and relax in your room until you are ready to leave the ship.
This is an outstanding value; 6 beautiful island in 7 days! Please don't change this.