My fiance and my parents and sister stayed in the SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Fort Lauderdale the night before our cruise. They had free shuttle from airport and to the cruise port the next day. It was great. The hotel was very nice too. ONE WARNING: We had five people...three beds (including sofa bed). I do not recommend doing that though. The sofa bed is extremely uncomfortable.
When we arrived at the port, it was very organized. We did not have to wait too long in line because we got there on the early shuttle. It was nice to get on the boat early. We couldn't get into our rooms until 1:30pm, so we walked around the boat and went and ate on the Lido deck buffet. It was good (but we love the Posh meals way better).
We had room 2216, while my Mom, Dad, and Sister had room 1220. Both our rooms had portholes, but 2216 had twin bed and sofabed, and their room had king size bed and sofa bed. So I recommend trying to get 1220! IT was nice! The porthole is nice too More
because it gives like a bay window for storage. One downside: if you like to sleep in on port days, don't get it. You will be awake early due to anchor dropping. We always were up during it, so it didn't bother us.
Our first port was Key West, Florida. I highly recommend doing one of the shuttles in the area. There are things to do where Carnival drops you off anyways and there isn't a ton to do in the town. The shuttle/bus things will take you around the entire city and you can hop on hop off. So it is very nice. We did this and spent some time on the beach and got off on the Southermost Point.
The full day at sea was fun too. They plan a lot of events on those days including art auction, trivia shows, etc. It is really anything you can think of and they do a good job with organizing it.
The next port was Grand Cayman and it is really cool how they get you to land. You get on a boat from the boat to get to land. You will have to see, but it is cool. We booked a tour not through Carnival because they usually tend to be cheaper. I found my tour through TripAdvisor and it was through ToursCayman by Shane. Shane is a Cayman and his family has been for generations (actually rare there now). He took us to Hell first which was neat, then he took us to the Turtle Farm which was really cool. The Sea Turtles are really adorable. Then he took us to our boat, which we did Sting Ray City and Snorkeling. The thing I noticed about our Sting Ray City excursion compared to the others (Besides the fact it was only us 5) was that there were no guides in the water helping the people. Our guide, Dayton, came out there and they also had a photographer, they both came out and would lift the stingrays up and then let us hold them and give kisses. It was so much fun! They also brought squid for us to feed them. No one else was having as much fun as us out there and it is because of that touring company. So e-mail shane! The snorkeling was also just as cool. Dayton fed eel and it was just as creepy looking as you picture it. After the boat part of the excursion, we went back to the cruise port. It was definitely one of the best parts of the trip.
The next port was Ocho Rios, Jamaica and warning: You will be harassed about buying something. It was overwhelming majorly. We also booked an excursion by itself and not through the boat, still cheaper. This was through Phil Lafayette Tours (also on TripAdvisor). He was EXCELLENT! It was only us five again. Phil was very nice and such a safe driver. He drove us to Dunn's River Falls which was a neat excursion. He explained a lot of the flowers and tress though while walking through and we got a lot of good history too. I highly recommend booking with him! HE came early and so we got done early in Jamaica and went to Margaritaville for awhile. It was also fun there because they have pool with a slide. There are a lot less people haggling you in that shopping mall but once you leave it is terrible.
The last day at sea also a lot of fun.
Food: GREAT! I mean I cannot say enough good things about the food. Lobster Tail was delicious. Prime Rib- perfect. Every meal I had I loved. For dessert: I do recommend the Chocolate Melting Cake, my fiance had it every night and I think he wishes I knew how to make it like they did! You also can order two starters...two meals..two desserts. So try whatever you want! It is a great time too!
Entertainment: The first opening show was kind of lame I have to admit, but it got way better the next night. They had a Swingtime type Show, A show Called the Big Easy, and a Beatles Show. I highly recommend these three shows. The Beatles one especially, it is really cool.
Service: Waitstaff was THE BEST! I mean seriously, not only do they remember your names which is great. They remember what you like to drink and are there ready for you the next day with it. The room staff cleaners were amazing! The first night I didn't get to meet mine, but as soon as I was my by room, he said Hello Tara! I couldn't believe it! He knew me other nights from way down the hall. They are just so impressive and so good at what they do. The towel animals are just perfect!
Overall: GREAT CRUISE! Loved it! Thanks Carnival! I definitely recommend going down the slide, even if you are an adult. LAY down on it though--goes much faster!
One downside: I would have liked a bigger pool. Less
Nice porthole windows
Noisy in the morning we dock because it shakes and you can hear the anchor going down
Great size of room
Beds do not go together though, so if you want to lay in bed with significant other, won't happen
Bathroom was good size