We arrived at Port Canaveral in Fort Lauderdale and unloaded our luggage and off to the parking garage right next door, ground floor facing the ship. Perfect! Our last cruise was our first Platinum voyage out of Miami. The VIP service at Miami is much nicer and smoother. Here in Fort Lauderdale, we went through the VIP line and merged back into the general boarding line and then off to another VIP line. Upstairs, there was no VIP check in room, just a sectioned off area. The computers were down so everyone had to be checked in by hand. We left port late. No big deal.
Off we went to have our photos taken for our sail and sign card and be checked onto the ship. In Fort Lauderdale it was done off the ship making the process quicker and not so congested. We then went onto the ship and right to our room to drop off our carry on and then to lunch. We had lunch at the Mongolian Wok. Very popular and lines can be slow. The food in the cafeteria was good and breakfast and lunch were typical Carnival. Service was above par, staff always greeting you. Staff seems to have bought into ownership of the vessel. During the day, staff wore t-shirts that said, "team member."
This was our 11th cruise with Carnival. The ship was clean with team members always cleaning the rooms, cleaning carpet, painting, washing windows, wiping down the walls and even the ceilings. Price is always important if you want to cruise several times a year. We got a good deal on the second deck. Sure a balcony would have been nice, but sometimes the difference is not worth it and the number of days is also a factor for me. Ocean view worked well this time.
Meals were great with the typical Carnival food. It would be nice if they would change the menus for those that travel frequently. Maybe, crab meat stuffed shrimp, seafood alfredo or chicken marsala. Steak, chicken and over cooked mahi mahi is getting old. On a positive note, the steakhouse is our new last night dinner. The quality of the steakhouse steak is so much better and the lobster is a Maine tail. This is a must and at $30 per person it is well worth a once a trip venue.
We had a great time at the free sushi bar, having our photos taken, the comedy club is outstanding and the movies outside on the deck are a special treat. Three great shows in the theater are a true Carnival event including a live band. Always fun to shop the gift shop and the jewelry store.
Having been to Key West several times, and Florida residents, we walked some of the shops and then headed off to the opposite side of the island to sit outside at a very upscale restaurant/bar. Back to the ship via the pink cabs. They are very well priced. The four of us shared a cab for $12.
Grand Cayman is probably one of the nicest islands you will go to. Off via a tender and to the car rental where we rented a 4 door Avalanche. Drove the island and ended up at Rum Point. A beautiful beach with chairs, food, drink, showers, jet skis, pristine waters and more. Back to town and turned in the car. Walked some shops and saw the local catch on the beach fresh moments ago from the waters. Fresh tuna, wahoo and red snapper. There were three Carnival ships in "port" and the lines moved fairly quick. It's a lot of people to move by tender, but they made it happen.
Jamaica. What can you say. It has to be one of the worse, if not THE worse Carnival destination. These islands all have so much potential. I understand the politics and the situations of Jamaica, BUT please stop asking me if I want a joint, trying to braid my wife's hair, sell me junk and take me somewhere in a cab. It got so bad that while having a drink at the bar I bought 3 beaded necklaces. Even while wearing them there were people in the water under the bar deck asking me to buy more. This went on for over half an hour. Literally, I had to scream, "please leave us alone" at one point. Each time we go, we do less and less and stay closer and closer to the ship.
Arrival back in Fort Lauderdale our room steward had told us we had to be out of our room by 6:00. Maybe he was confused because we were scheduled to arrive at 8:00, but did arrive at 6:00. We awoke around 6:30 and had breakfast in the formal dinning room and back to our room to pick up our one carry on. We went to check off the ship and not one person in line. Down to pick up our two checked bags and to customs, maybe 10 minuets and to the parking lot. Sad to leave, but happy to already be booked on the Carnival Dream, Balcony, Panorama Deck in October.
All in all this is a great 6 day cruise. Clean, good times and good food. Not my best cruise but not my worse. Still, Carnival does it right and continues to improve every time we travel. It's always what you make of it and we made it a great time.