The first cruise that I went on was with a few of my girlfriends, on Carnival Victory, in an ocean view room. My second cruise was with my husband, and we splurged and got a balcony... I will tell you that I will never again go on a cruise without a balcony...it was amazing. We sailed from Galveston Texas. When we arrived at the terminal, we were told that we would be late boarding, due to the fact that the ship was late getting into port, because of fog... we finally boarded after waiting in the cruise terminal for 4 1/2 hours. When we got to our room, and just stood on the balcony, it was an amazing view. Our cabin was at the back of the ship, so we were looking at a Royal Caribbean ship directly behind us. We did not leave port until 2:00 in the morning, because of the fog... it was one of those really strange occurrences. The ship was 4 hours late getting into port, and 10 hours late leaving port...but we were awoken at around 2:00 am, to the rocking of the boat. We really, moved over night, because we did not miss any of the ports of call, and actually got to most of them early.
All in all it was a really incredible cruise...I do not do excursions, but will not go on any other cruises where Jamaica is a port of call, they are very pushy people, and do not take no for an answer.
I will only cruise with Carnival. I love the atmosphere, I love the service, and I love the ocean.
I do not recommend getting off of the ship in Jamaica. I am going on my fourth cruise, and will not choose a cruise if Jamaica is one of the ports of call.