Sail Date: Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, 2011. Port of Tampa
Dropped off by neighbors, nice 35 minute drive to port. Makes it nice living close.
Embark: Easy and nice. Found VIP section, presented documents while sitting down, and escorted to waiting area. About 1/2 hour wait, entered ship at 11:45. We always head up to Lido deck and check out the bar. Met a very friendly bartender by the name of Sean. Excellent Mud Slide. Told me to come back and get a chocolate martini, I did...very good. Waited for our friends from Hudson, Florida coming by bus. First time on 5 day cruise. Didn't think it would be long enough...it was. Still prefer the 7-8 day cruises. Nice cruise, smooth waters, Stephanie did a great job as our CD.
Islands: Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Two of my favorites. Grand Cayman is known for it's beautiful water, turtle farm and 7-mile beach. I prefer the beach and we just grab a shuttle by the pier and have them take us to the beach. Have been there quite a few times, so this trip we just shopped the front shops and ended up at Margaritaville for drinks. In Cozumel, also have been there many times...just shopped the main area (which is great)...stopped at the drugstore and bought drugs...lol, antibiotic, etc. Ended our day at Fat Tuesdays for drinks. For 1st timers, snorkeling is great and getting a cab and going downtown for shopping.
Ship: Old, no frills, atrium is small with 3 colored neon strips going around it, theater is small, one pool and it's packed. No chairs available in Serenity area, casino small and old machines (best slots were the "Hot Shots") BUT plenty of tables for table players. Drinks at the bar are expensive, $6.61 for a beer and anywhere from $6 to 9 for mixed drinks.
Room: Inside room, Main Deck, aft. Had inside room this trip, small, needed more shelves in bathroom and makeup mirror. Also, there is no hairdryer, so bring one from home. I did but a lot of people didn't. This has been the only Carnival ship I have been on that didn't have a hair dryer or refrigerator. They do provide soda in the room, six cans which you can trade out for what you drink. Just tell your room Stewart. Large water is also provided in the room for a cost. Soda is $2.24...water around $4.50. Placed on your counter..warm. Ask Stewart for ice twice a day. Beds and pillows are good, and great duvet covers...triple sheeted. Enough closet, drawer & shelf space. Only one plug. If you need more, I brought a power strip with 3 outlets. I have sleep apnea machine and heating pad. Bathroom is small but do-able. Shower is nice with shampoo and body wash dispensers. Room was kept clean.
Food: food was just so so (I didn't have to cook, so it was great), miss the good steaks. They do have flat iron steak but it's not very good. The Chocolate Melting Cake is still wonderful. Bread and desserts are great. We tried the "Your Time Dining" and loved it. Will do it again. The only wait we had was for one minute. Always asked for a seat by the window and got it. We order coffee in the morning in our room and the room service was excellent. Cannot beat the 24-hour pizza and wonderful grilled hamburgers and fries by the pool area.
Regarding the VIP status...NO BIG DEAL. Sent really bad appetizers to room, we put them outside our door. VIP status for tenders....couldn't find signs for VIP..left with others for island. Never received the free gift which is a picture frame. The best VIP gift....free slot tournament...didn't win but placed.
Last words: Don't think I'll do an old ship again. If you are cruising for the first time, you will love it because you don't know any better. I will stick to the newer ships. Was on Carnival's Dream last December and she is wonderful. Glory, Miracle, Liberty and Legend and great Carnival ships. For the price...this was a very good deal and cruise.