We arrived in Miami about 6pm Saturday. I made reservations at La Quinta Inn East in Miami. They offered free pickup at the airport, free breakfast, and free shuttle to the pier in the morning. Very reasonably priced for all thats included. Not a super fancy place but more than adequate for our needs! The only place to go within walking distance was Bennigans across the parking lot. Loved it there as well they had 99 cent draft beer!!! What a way to start vacation!
The next morning we woke up and we had the noon shuttle scheduled. We also purchased a shuttle back from the pier to the airport from the same company for $10 pp. Great deal I thought and had it all lined up if we spent all our money on the ship! LOL. In hindsight we wished we wouldve done in excursion with Carnival in Miami we had way to much time between debarkation and the flight home. The Shuttle service dropped us off at the pier and was a little taken back at the line at customs it was HUGE!
Started to get anxious about the huge line at customs we got there around 1230ish. I had booked a group cruise through Carnival great deals. I was a bit worried about customs though my father inlaw didnt have a passport. I have read numerous horror stories about not getting onboard with the right documents. The line moved very fast though I think we were inside in probably 30 mins. Very impressed kudos to the staff! Ive seen plenty of people complaining about embarkation and lines. Not the case at all it was a breeze. We had filled out our funpass online. All we had to do was go to a kiosk and scan our passport and we were done in under 2 minutes! Up the escalaters we went. All 10 of us no problems!
We got on ship around 1:15. We were told our rooms would be ready by 1:20 so we all checked out our rooms, they were all ready! My wife and I had booked an interior room. Prior to sailing we got an upsell call and took the offer for $70 bucks to upgrade to Oceanview. I wouldve passed because we were more then happy with interior on last cruise. We decided to take it because for some reason our group was on 2nd floor and we were on 1st and with us moving our room we were across the hall from our group. We were in room 2449. We got to the room and was a bit dissapointed that it had scaffolding in front of the window! They didnt tell me it was obstructed! Oh well still could see out for the most part and we had a bit bigger room and a couch so it was nice anyway.
Everyone got settled in and dropped off our carry on bags and headed to the lido. I learned from our cruise last year to not eat to much as we skipped our dinner in the MDR last year. I am going to address all the food critics on here. None of us on the trip had anything negative to say about the food on the cruise! If you want to complain about everything stay home! I think everyone should be required to work some form of customer service in their lives and they would be more grateful.
We all took in the ship its a BEAUTIFUL ship! Loved all the colors on the ship. Plenty to do and see found all the most do things on the ship. We made our way to the "secret" balconies on the ship for sailaway. Thanks CruiseCritic. Upfront we encountered a pod of dolphins coming up the harbor toward the ship and then go along the side what way to start vacay!! Beautiful sunset that night as well.
We made it down to the MDR that night and found out we were all sitting at a big table for 10 in the Platinum Dining room 1 floor up from our rooms PERFECT! Our wait staff was AWESOME!! Very attentive and used our names during the week. I have read about the chilled fruit soups and was bumming that i was afraid to try them on first cruise so vowed to try them this time. If you are like me and though cold soup? Well I am hear to tell you I am a MAJOR fan of them had them every night they were available so delicious!! I had Flat Iron Steak that night and of course followed with the melting cake. We all went to bed full to the brim as usual.
Day at sea
Now we booked a cruise last year on Victory because we didnt think we would like Sea Days. Still not a fan but did find lots to do and keep busy. We woke up and went about our day. My wife and I headed to the dining room for breakfast (aft dining room) I am a huge fan of the Eggs Benedict! Also a great way to meet people. I had breakfast in there everyday but one due to early excursion. If you havent ever done it you need to experience it. We all made our way lounging around and found the Serenity Deck AWESOME addition to Carnival. Find it early though it fills up fast. I decided to make some drinks with my Vodka I had ordered from Bon Voyage precruise (great idea and will do again). A friend and I decided to go play bags as to have a feel close to home. We played Bags for hours that day and met alot of good people to play with us as well. This is where we met our first and only bartender for the cruise. Samson was awesome he kept them coming calling us by name the whole week made our trip. That night was Formal night in the MDR. The majority or the people in our group got lobster. I am not fond of it so I ordered the Prime Rib DELICIOUS! I had the Apple Tart for dessert. That night they had Living in America in the showroom. My wife and I saw that production last year on Victory so we decided to head to the punchliner. Great move super funny comedians they had a total of 4 that week. They both do a family show and an x rated show each night they preformed 2 nights then they are sent home and 2 more come on for the end of the week Great addition by Carnival!
What an awesome port beautiful weather and lots to do. We booked the Isla Pasion by Twister. Best decision of the cruise! More about it in the port section. My wife and i bought a few souvenirs here and later found out we shouldve bought more as they were way cheaper then other ports. We really didnt want to leave Cozumel! We got back on board after stopping to admire the young ladys that decided they were to warm to wear their bikini tops and were dancing on the tables at Fat Tuesdays. We got ready and headed to the MDR that night I had the marinated Pork Loin followed by the Tiramisu never had that before loved it!! We all headed to the punchliner again that night full of food and drinks from our excurision.
I will start this with a warning we made a mistake i think by not prebooking an excursion. We had plan to get off and walk around and enjoy Belize. We had to tender here which was a first for us. It went smooth and easy. We landed at the pier and lets just say the it was more then unpleasant. We were constantly hounded by people trying to do trips or sell us things. All we wanted to do was walk around and have a local beer. We headed out of the security gate and had a local man follow us for 3 blocks pitching his trip all the while I was telling him NO. Finally I stopped him from talking and said I had enough to leave us alone! We found a little shack that had beer and pop. We stopped in and had a beer and my wife a pop. In the time we had 1 beer we had a lady try and braid my wifes hair, another guy try and sell us a trip, and last but not least jungle man wanted to charge us for a pic with him! We had enough we headed back to the tenders and got on the first one back! That being said the other people in our group enjoyed their tours and like Belize. I will never do that again. I did make use of the time and head up to the bean bad tournament that day and preceded to show all the people on the boat that the Midwesterns own the boards on bags and won my first ever SHIP ON A STICK!! That night we headed to the MDR and I had some kind of turkey pasta followed by chocolate cake with raspberries. They moved Justin Illusion to this night and I will say this is by FAR the best live act Ive ever seen so glad we didnt miss it.
Biggest dissapointment of the cruise. Had really really high hopes for this port due to others recommendations. Unfortunatly we couldnt dock there due to the weather. There was a NCL ship in port but think they had been there since last night as the seas were really rough. Us and another ship went back to sea that day. I myself didnt get seasick at all my wife did however as did many other people on the ship as the MDR was very empty that night. We did make lemonade out of lemons however and had a great day lounging around and getting our drinks from Samson. Great day to sit in the Serenity Deck and lounge on the awesome chairs watching the world go by. We enjoyed watching the few guys that were in the pool watching the water splash out of the pool all the way into the hot tubs! This night in the MDR my wife was really bummed as we had Filet Mignon and she was sick and didnt come to dinner. Melting cake again for dessert. They moved Justin Illusion to this night and I will say this is by FAR the best live act Ive ever seen so glad we didnt miss it.
Friday Grand Cayman
I was a bit nervous about this port as they had said the day before it was closed due to the seas. They were still rough but not as bad that day so we were able to tender in. We had booked the best of Caymans tour. Good tour more in port review. Spent the day in Cayman and got back onboard. I had the Flat Iron steak again followed by the Baked Alaska. We watched Thein Fu that night in showlounge pretty funny guy and great juggler.
Sat Day at Sea
Once again not a fan of the sea days as I am not a sun bather or anything. I did try the burrito bar that everyone raved about not a big fan or the burrito but the chips and salsa was awesome! That night was the fun farewell party Samson made this 45 min party the best ever! Thanks SAMSON!! We then made our way to formal night in the MDR. Had the prime rib again followed by another kind of cake but dont remember the name. Very good as always.
Sunday Miami Debarkation Day
For some reason we were woken up by a room steward (not ours) telling us they want to clean our room. Mind you we set our alarm for 830 and it was 745 am. Never had the feeling of being pushed until that day. We werent supposed to be off the ship until 10am. We made our way up to the lido for breakfast and waited as it seemed forever for debarkation we were number 25. We got down stairs to get luggage and stood inline forever at customs. Dont want to complain much but some how we got sent into the line with all the foreigners and they had to go through way more screening then the Americans. That being said I think they need to seperate lines as I think it would cut the time in half. We got outside and waited for our shuttle service and got on about 1130 and they took us to Miami International. Long long wait till the 5pm flight.
I am sure I am forgetting something on here if I think of more I will add it. If you have any questions just ask I will get back with you and have tons of pictures if I can figure out how to get them on here. All in all we had a AWESOME trip and bought a FCC on board for another one the only problem is we dont know where and when to go! THank you Carnival for another GREAT experience! Hope it wasnt too long and boring! Also one last thing if any of you want to be negative all week and nitpick STAY HOME and dont ruin our cruise! Thanks.