We stayed at Country Inn & Suites on the Fri before our cruise. I felt the accommodations were nice and reasonable for the stay and they also had a good breakfast. I did have a problem with over crowding the shuttles to and from the port. There were elderly people who didn't have a seat and having stand in the aisle while 3 and 4 year olds had a seat to themselves. I think they need to count the seats on the shuttle. It's a safety issue.
We checked in with no problem; there was a bit of confusion on who VIP was and where everyone else sits? We did get on the ship early, and went straight to the spa. I scheduled my spa visit for the week and then we proceeded to check out the ship. It was really nice. It was a bit confusing getting around; but we got a map and started walking.
The room was inside cabin. It was equipped with everything needed and we had a great steward; as always!
Dinner was ok. I was not impressed by the bartender at all. The first night we didn't get our drink until the end of the meal and by the 3rd night we just didn't order anything. Our waitress was really sweet and apologetic for the slow service. We didn't eat in the dining room every night.
The Steakhouse was awesome. I would pay for that again. I felt the menu was great and the wait staff was wonderful. We had never chosen the alternate restaurant on our previous cruises, but it was a birthday and thought it would be nice.
People are correct about the seating on the sun decks. There was no seating as of 9am on a day at sea. I am not going to whine about it, because there were people using the seats. It wasn't as if there was a towel hanging on the chair and no one was around. Every seat even on deck 5 and Serenity were full. It was spring break and the ship was full.
The spa was very nice; we purchased the week pass and used it all during the week. We did not use the gym or workout areas; but it looked very nice and there were always people in there using the equipment.
We really enjoyed deck 5. The bartenders were great and the casino connected everything together. The lanai was nice and you could stroll around the whole deck without any interruptions.
Casino: it was very educational for a first time card player. The dealers help you and the other passengers help. It's also just a fun atmosphere to be around. I would highly suggest trying it out, even if it is not your thing.
Kids: There were 2000 kids under the age of 18 on the cruise. It was spring break. I really didn't notice major behavior problems; but there was a lot of noise in the halls in the early morning. There were also children that were not courteous of the elders on board.
Deck 5 was also where the kids (12-17) clubs were located. The O2 club was for teenagers 15-17. There was no structure and no event planning at all. There were many girls hanging on boys they had just met. It made my son and his friend very uncomfortable. It also didn't say much about the young ladies. There were just teens standing around in a room. Our children choose to do other activities on board.
Our 1st port was Cozumel Mexico. We picked the sub-ocean view excursion through the ship. It was fun and reasonably priced. It also only took about an hour and was air conditioned. We went to Carlos-n-Charles and had lunch. We had been here before, but our son was too young to appreciate the fun atmosphere. We enjoyed our lunch and did some shopping and returned to the ship.
We were in Belize, but the people we spoke to on the ship said you need to have an excursion or you would have nothing to do. We choose to stay on the ship and enjoy the day on the Lido deck.
Honduras was our favorite port! We had scheduled an excursion with Victor Bodden tours. We had the Zip-n-dip. We also got to see all the monkeys and tropical birds even a few animals we still don't know what they were. They had a very nice staff and the best souvenirs of the whole trip. They got us back on the boat and were much cheaper than the cruise lines excursion.
Costa Maya was very disturbing. We were only there for 6 hours, so you needed to be up early if you were going into port. We got up just after 7, had breakfast, then a stroll on the lanai were I noticed guards in full fatigues with big guns on the pier. I choose not to go into port; but my husband and son did. They said there was a sign on the ship to stay back 50 feet. One of the other passengers told us there was a problem with drugs (powder). It was a little scary as a traveler
Our last day on the ship was so sad; we had enjoyed everything so much. When we returned it was disappointing no one was putting a napkin in your lap.
I should say how unbelievable clean the ship is and they are cleaning all the time. The staff doesn't get in your way, they just buzz around and get things done. We were amazed.
Smoking: There are several smoking areas Lido on one side, Lanai on one side, Piano bar, and Caliente club. We noticed that people often made comments about the areas and they were not well marked. If there is an ashtray on the table it is smoking. It's really not that hard to figure out. The wind was blowing all the time, and I never smelled anything except cigars on deck 5. In all fairness, there are lots of people if you do not like what is going on, you can always find something else to do.
Finally: We did miss the "Beach" day; all the ports seemed to herd you into an overpriced shopping village. Carnivals excursions are expensive and quite territorial.