We are a family of 4 from Oregon cruising w/a 2 yo and 14 yo. We brought my 14 yo's best friend with us. We try and cruise once a year and we love the Caribbean. We are not loyal to one line we like to try different ones and check out all the ships!
We took our long flight across the country on Wednesday morning. Its always stressful to get up early especially with a 2 yo! He was super excited because he was going on an airplane and it was taking him to see Mickey Mouse and Buzz Lightyear! He did as well as he could for the long flight and we brought every toy and DVD....IPAD! you name it we had it!
We booked at private Mears shuttle to our hotel. Worked great. I pricelined a 4* in Disney area and we got The Omni Championsgate Resort for $90 per night. What an amazing hotel! The pools and rec area are outstanding. They had an incredible golf course but also a 9 hole...is it called a pitch and play?? I am not a golfer but my hubby and the 2 14 yo's loved it! They had an adult pool, lazy river and a family pool that got gradually deeper and they kept it at 90 degrees or so. It was awesome!
Disneyworld was crowded...I mean really crowded as it is spring break for lots of people. We did see Mickey :) and my 2 yo thought that was the coolest ever!
We rented a car from the hotel they have Hertz on site. There was a resort fee and parking fee but I knew this in advance. It is also about 7 miles from Disney and not much else around but for us it was perfect.
Cocoa Beach Shuttle picked us up and took us to the port. We were there by 1045 and there was already tons of people. The lady that checked us in was so rude! That is your first impression when you get on board and no matter how much I smiled at her she just was not happy. Oh well. I think we were on board within 45 minutes or so.
We ate at the buffet and then checked out the kids club. My son and his friend went to explore the ship.
We eat at the buffet almost every night on any ship we go on just because sitting for that long is difficult for my family. We are a little hyper! We did eat 1 formal night and the food was really good. The chocolate melting cake....holy cow! so good. I would say we are not picky eaters or hard to please but the buffet on Carnival was not very good. I much prefer the other lines as they have such a variety. My hubby tried the Burrito Bar & the Mongolian Grill said both were great. We did the pasta bar, pizza and deli thought it was good. I wish they had a bigger variety of salad food was cold quite a bit. I thought the layout seemed to stack people up a bit. It was ok food.
I liked the ship. Last year we went on Freedom of the Seas and I thought it blew this ship out of the water. You could really smell the smoke on Deck 5 as it has the Casino and the clubs on this floor. I think they should have made bigger pools for that many people but the water slides were awesome.
We had an extended aft balcony 9474 and it was awesome! I love the size of Carnival rooms. Our balcony was probably a 3rd larger then the others next to us. The only problem was the people next to us were smokers so it was difficult at times to enjoy our balcony. We brought a blow up mini pool for our 2 yo and that was really great we used it in the shower and on our balcony.
The daycare was good. We only used it a few times. The staff was very nice.
My son was in the 12-14 yo group and they only went the first night. Last year he loved the Kids Club on Sensation but I think being 14 he is in that weird age where he was too old for this group but too young for the 15-17 yo group. He loved having his friend there and they met people who were 14 but allowed to go up to the next age level. He chose just to hang out without going to the clubs but says he cant wait for the 15-17 yo group next year. He played ping pong, did the slides, went to shows (without being forced) enjoyed the shows!!! This was the first year he wanted to see the Comedy shows, etc kinda cool!
Speaking of entertainment I thought the Dancing in the Street show was awesome! Kids went to the break dancing show and loved it, enjoyed the Comedy show. My 2 yo loved to go to the Atrium every night and listen to Victoria sing. He danced for an hour every night!
In Cozumel I was planning on doing Paradise Beach but the taxi driver said he liked Mr. Sanchos better so we went there! Great choice. They had a bed with a cover over it, 2 loungers and a table with chairs for $30 ....we did not do the all inclusive. I was not sure how my 2 yo would do. He loved it! He took a 2 hour nap on the bed! Food was outstanding. They had water toys and the 14 yo's spent hours trying to cross this spinning walkway thing. They had a pool. I would recommend it! We did Nachi Cocum last year and thought this was great too. It was not very crowded.
Belize we did the snorkel from the boat to a small island. I was excited to see the reef. You could either stay near the island or go to the reef which was suppose to be a little harder. I was a lifeguard so I am a pretty good swimmer but holy cow those waves were big! You have a life jacket but it was nothing like Grand Cayman! You were like 20 feet above the reef and we saw like 5 fish! hahahha oh well what can you do. The island was beautiful.
Roatan was my favorite and everyone in my fam agreed. We rented the private cabana at Mahogany Bay. There are only 8 of them so you have to book early! A few years ago we went to Half Moon Bay and that was awesome too. This was a totally different experience. We try and do something a little different each time we hit the same island. The cabana had air conditioning, sofa, table and 2 chairs out front. You had a shower, a bed type chair by the water and a hammock for each cabana. Food is not included. It was $199 for the day but for us it was worth it because the baby went down for a nap and instead of having to take him back to the boat we could relax and enjoy ourselves. They had security that would keep it very private. They had a bar and bathrooms right behind the cabana and a volleyball court which the boys loved! You could look over to the public beach and there were so many people!
Costa Maya rained in the morning. You arrive at 7 am ship time which is 5 am there I believe so it was so dark! We walked to the port but the baby was tired so I let my hubby take the boys and rent a golf cart. They had so much fun. They drove to the beaches,etc.
Our steward was so nice! The ship was always clean. We talked with quite a few people that worked on the ship. They seemed understaffed and overworked. They agreed. They work 7 days a week mostly 12 hour days. When we get off another group of people get on! I respect and appreciate them so much.
We again used Cocoa Beach Shuttle from the port to our hotel for the night which was the Sheraton Suites.
Overall a great cruise. Carnival has a great price. I prefer RCI and NCL but I would book Carnival again.