This was my 5th cruise on Carnival. 10th cruise overall. First time on this class of ship. This was my son's HS graduation present and we were travelling with 4 "young adults" 16 - 19.
We arrived early AM as we took a "red eye" from California. We booked a shuttle from MIA. Went without a hitch. Don't arrive early. You wait around a long time. The lines moved very quickly once the staff arrived to check people in.
We booked a premium corner balcony, room 8455. This was a fantastic room with an amazing balcony that went from the stern down the side. There were 3 closets to store clothes and lots of drawer space as well. The kids were across the hall in inside staterooms. NOTE: High school/college kids love inside rooms because they are dark! They slept in every day till 2:00.
The ice cream, pizza and room service was a plus. The kids went out late night and got pizza an/or ordered room service. 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. We went to the buffet for breakfast and lunch. The ship sails full so lines for the buffet can be long. 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. 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.
The steak house was top notch and worth every penny! Excellent service and food. Better than on the Sapphire Princess.
Very clean and spacious. The crew are constantly cleaning and I felt that it was done well. With so many people the pool areas were always fun. 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, spread everyone out. The line for the water slide was long at times, but if you timed it right, you can walk right up and slide down. There were lots of pools to choose from. The one under the slide was nice because it got shade. The gym was adequate and never overcrowded.
The kids always played games or did activities; ping pong, basketball, mini-golf as well as movies on deck. The shows were ok. The cruise director Butch was always putting stuff together for everyone to do. Carnival does a great job in this area.
We booked a dive outside the ship. We found a great dive operation called Scuba Mau. We ended up with the 4 of us on our own excursion on a small boat to two reefs. The Divemaster Ramon was fantastic and let us dive how we wanted. We are looking forward to going back to dive with them again in January. Small and personable operation!!!
We did the Stingray City/Reef snorkel excursion, that we booked off the ship. We saved a ton of money not booking it through the ship. This turned out to be a great trip. Stingray city is not to be missed. Shopping was nice and the people were very friendly.
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. We walked outside this area to get to a large shopping area and were accosted by people non-stop, selling drugs! This is worse than Mexico and makes it very uncomfortable. We booked a tour off the ship again, and went to Dunn's River Falls. This was another fantastic excursion. The kids were hesitant to go at first, but once we were done, the said it was "the bomb" and were glad they went. We finished at Margaritaville which was right near the dock. This was my least favorite port due to the panhandlers and people offering you drugs. Very aggressive. There were a couple of families from the ship that were taken up a mountain and robbed. Be careful in this port!!!!
Very quick and smooth. Better than we have experienced in the past. With time to kill before our flight, we booked the ships excursion to South Beach. This was great. They hold your luggage on the coach while you shop, sightsee and eat. Then they take you to the airport a few hours later. All at the same price if you booked a shuttle direct to the airport.
Great Trip... the kids are asking when we will be going again!