We had a group of 24 going on this cruise. Group included, friends and family. We sailed out of Miami on the Liberty. We flew into Fort Lauderdale 2 days before the cruise and stayed at the Hyatt Summerfield Suites for one night then Had SAS transportation pick us up and then headed to Miami. Hotel in Fort Lauderdale was very nice. Hotel was within walking distance to many stores and a few restaurants. SAS picked us up at hotel and then we went to the airport to pick up the rest of the group and headed to Miami. Stayed at the Holiday Inn downtown Miami by Bayshore Mall. Holiday Inn was also very nice. I was skeptical after reading some reviews but hotel was clean and staff very friendly.
Saturday: Cruise day. We got a shuttle from the hotel to take our group to the port. They charged $5 pp. Very worth it because we got to keep the group together. We got to the port by 10:30 and were on the ship by 11:15. Went to the Fish and chips for lunch and then had a few DOD before going to our cabin to drop off carry on. We had a balcony room for the first time. I was looking so forward to sleeping with the door open and listening to the ocean. The first night we slept with the door open and was woke up by moving balcony chairs, loud talking and cigarette smoke. Had to close the door. Thought we would try it again the next night. Same thing. I was very disappointed with our situation. Everytime we were on our balcony or had our door open we had a cigarette with our neighbors even though we don't smoke. I don't know if this was an unfortunate situation or if other people experience this. Don't know if I would get a balcony room again due to this. We were very pleased with the room otherwise. Room Steward was great.
Sunday is a sea day. Sat by the pool. This was the first formal night. We had early seating in the Silver Dining room. Did not like the set up of the dining room on this cruise ship. Our table was along the windows but had a silver wall blocking your view from the rest of the dining room. Food very good. Food was very good every night we ate in the dining room. They do have less choices on the menu than they had 2 years ago.
Monday: Cozumel. We got off the ship around 9 am did a little shopping and then went on the barhop tour. OMG that was the best. Wish I would have found this tour before now. We had such a good time. Will do this tour everytime I go to cozumel. They take you to the other side of the island. Very nice. Ended the tour and then went to Fat Tuesdays at the pier.
Tuesday: Sea day. Sat by the pool all day. Chairs are very hard to get if you do not get out there early. Wish they would remove towels when people don't use their chair. Some chairs were not used all day but had towels on them the whole day. Princess cruise lines has someone walking around removing towels if chair is unoccupied for more than 30 minutes. Would be nice if carnival could do that.
Wednesday: Grand Cayman. We had booked the stingray tour and were told that tour was cancelled after we tendered in and got to the pier. I wish carnival would have announced it on the ship then you would not hurry to get to the pier for your 10:00 tour and then be told it is cancelled when you get there. Cancelled due to rough water. Just walked around, shopped and then got back on the ship early for some time at the pool. Very nice, not many people on the ship at that time.
Thursday: Ocho Rios. Was a cloudy day. Walked around, shopped, went to the beach at Margaritaville. Weather was a little cloudy today. People in Jamaica are very pushy but I never felt unsafe. We were walking downtown to a mall and was told by security we should not go into town any further and was told to turn around. This was second formal night.
Friday was another sea day. Pool was very crowded. Sat by the pool, then went to the farewell party. Party was a good time. I really don't think to many people see it in the capers because it was in the Victorian lounge and the lounge was not even full. They had plenty of free drinks. After dinner went back to room to pack. We decided to put luggage outside the door and got an early disembarkation due to 11:00 flight in Fort Lauderdale. Disembarkation went very smooth for myself and my husband. There were 6 in our group who were taken into customs and were kept in there for 1-2 hours. They said the experience was terrible. My son said he was told he was there because he spent to much money and they wanted to know what he spent it on. My dad was in there because he did not spend enough money. They said they make you feel like you were guilty of something even when you were not. My son was accused of not claiming enough on a watch he bought. He had to stay in customs until they could verify the amount by calling the credit card company. It was terrible for those that went through it. SAS transportation was waiting for the group very patiently. We were so afraid we were going to miss our flight but they got us there.
Had a great time. I just love Carnival. The staff on this ship was super. The interior of the ship is nicely decorated. I feel there was always enough to do. Band playing in the atrium or by casino bar every night. Expectations were exceeded. SAS transportation was very good. Any questions please ask.