A little about us. We are a family of four 2 adults and 2 children (7&3). This was our first cruise and definitely not our last. My husband and I were celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary and decided to bring the kiddies. We drove to Buffalo from Toronto and it was a fantastic experience.
We left on Good Friday to drive from Toronto to Buffalo, because our cruise did not leave until Sunday we thought it would be nice to stay in Miami for a night. We flew JetBlue from Buffalo to Miami on Saturday April 23, no delays fantastic flight, we will fly them again in a heartbeat.
At the recommendation of others on this fantastic board, we chose to stay at the Intercontinental Miami. It was beautiful! We were so happy we did. The only downfall to this hotel was the staff...we felt most were downright rude and needed attitude adjustments. We paid the extra 20.00 and upgraded to a port view room....so worth it!!! We visited Bayside Marketplace on the Saturday night, had dinner and watched some street entertainment.
On Easter Sunday we took a cab to POM (7.00) around 10:30am, we thought it would be a good idea to get there early so we could get an early zone number and get on the ship quite quick...well I guess we were not the only ones with that idea, we arrived at 10:30 and were in Zone 9. To be honest the wait was not too bad, we were on the ship by 12:15pm eating in the Red Sail by 12:30pm. Our room was ready at 1:30pm. We were located on the Lido deck in room 9265, perfect location. Near the food, pool and close to the elevators. We did however hear the "dings" from the elevator quite a bit, but not enough to think we'd never book this room again, we will always try to get that cabin again due to the convenience.
Our cabin was always kept clean, we did find a few items from the previous people that stayed in there..including some feminine products under the bed. Our room was not completely ready until the evening which was a little disappointing, it was Easter Sunday so we planned to hide eggs around the cabin and have some gifts for our children on the pillows. We found ourselves always having to ask the cabin steward for additional things, and when we did it seemed as if it was a inconvenience for him.
The food was great with the exception of breakfast. The same items everyday left it undesirable about the 3rd day in. We did try the restaurant a few times, and it was nice. Lunch was always good. The Mongolian Wok was fantastic!! Food was fresh and consistently good. We tried the Fish and Chips the first day and found it was alright. The burritos were very good, I liked the steak. Dinner was always very good, loved the Lobster on elegant night! I did find for some reason I could not stomach the Caesar salad. Both times I had it I got sick. Hubby and I also were sick from the Chateaubriand, although it was delicious. Loved the Chocolate Melting cake but found it so rich I could never finish it. We had a nightly ritual (the kids and I, hubby played poker until the wee hours), after picking them up from Camp Carnival we'd get some pizza and it was always very good. We dined at 6:00pm which worked out great for us!
We only saw two shows, Justin Illusion (he was amazing) the kids really enjoyed this show and the Hypnotist, he was also really good.
The staff were very nice, always there to help and smiling. We loved our dinner wait staff, they were fantastic. Our kids enjoyed going to dinner because of them. Honestly, I missed them when we left. I didn't like how the photographers were always in your face, one actually got mad at me for not answering him when he asked to take our picture.
I have to mention the Camp Carnival staff.....wow! They were so awesome!! Our kids are very shy and very close to me. I thought it would almost be impossible for them to stay there so the hubby and I could enjoy ourselves without them. They loved going to the Camp so much, we could have left them there everyday all day and they would have been happy. We had to bribe our 3yr old that he could only go to the Camp if he ate his dinner. I will cruise Carnival again because of the camp!
This will be short because quite honestly we didn't do anything in the ports.
Half Moon Cay ~ rented a clamshell that we never used. This was by far the most beautiful beach we have ever been to. We travel every year (I used to be a travel agent for 10 years) and this port of call was the best and most tropical experience. We were really frustrated with the tenders though, we waited over an hour for our tender and were number 29. This was frustrating especially when you just want to get off the boat.
St.Thomas ~ we were very sea sick the night before so didn't want to do anything this port. We only left the ship to look around for a bit, met a nice old lady that offered to drive us around (which we declined), she was very nice though. Did a bit of shopping...for more Bonine.
San Juan ~ Again, our kids was super cranky today. We left the ship, managed to look in a few stores and buy some booze in the port (that we brought onto the ship no problems) and enjoyed in our room.
Grand Turk ~ FUN FUN FUN!!! We had so much fun at Margaritaville! Steer CLEAR from the ONE LOVE BAR on the beach....total rip off!! rude staff!! Watched her make 2 drinks which cost over 20.00....had hardly NO alcohol, took her 20 minutes to make them because she was busy counting money and talking to another staff member. Our daughter got her hair braided here for 30.00, they did a great job. I am so happy our ship arrived before the Princess ship because once they arrived, Margaritaville was insane.
We had the most amazing time on this trip, I am still sad and once we came back already starting searching for next year.
A few things to mention
The kids and I got extremely sea sick, the crew said they hadn't had movement like that for quite sometime, but it was really bad. So bad the first few nights our drawers in our room were smashing in and out (we tried to tape them down). Quite a few people were talking about how bad the movement was. The only thing that worked for me was Gravol...and I did start taking medication from CVS on Friday. Kids got terrible headaches from the movement.
Rum Runners....yes they do work. We ended up buying most of our booze anyway. We were able to get a bottle of Malibu Rum onboard in Puerto Rico...totally intended to take it home, it wasn't to consume on the ship. Hubby even bought 4 mini bottles of Cognac the same time and they let him put it back in his pockets. The only reason why he took it out was because he beeped...he thought it was the alcohol so took it out of his pockets but it ended up being his cell phone...lol. He was so excited they let him put it back in his pockets he walked away with out his cell phone. Which was recovered later...lol!
Again, this trip was amazing. I was truly sad to come home. We even stayed in Fort Lauderdale a day after at the Homewood Suites near the airport(which was also fantastic).
Thank you to all of the CC board members here that responded to all the questions I had (even the stupid ones). Without this board I would have cruised clueless.