First off, I want to say, I enjoyed myself and had a great time! I am writing this from the perspective of comparing cruise lines as I am trying to find the best fit for me and my family.
Little bit of info, I have sailed with Disney (Mediterranean Cruise and Western Caribbean) Princess (Alaska) and now Carnival (Eastern Caribbean). I enjoyed all three lines, but have some pretty serious issues with Princess and Carnival. Disney is not perfect, but the service is above and beyond better.
Generally we travel as a family, mom and two daughters in their early 30's. We did a few trips with long time family friends (almost family) around the same age group.
My first cruising experience was on Disney, which set the standard much higher than it probably would have been otherwise...
Oh, my serious issue - smoking. I have asthma so I am extremely sensitive to it, so be warned, this does cloud my judgment. Disney is by far the best when it comes to this! But again, I am biased... For health reasons.
So this trip was a girls only trip, 4 young professional women! Let the party begin. One of the group decided to book a suite (one of the girls has platinum status on Carnival), so I think we got a pretty decent deal. Pros: big room, nice size balcony, plenty of storage space, and a separate dressing area (con because it did not have a door). And as a comparison to Disney, when you get the suite on Disney, you get things, a dvd player, access to dvds, conceirge service, free laundry. All of this was missing. And the room was not nearly nice enough to compensate for these lacking amenities.
Cons: The lack of decent beds. We had 2 twins, a pull out (which was so bad we opted to just use the couch), and a cot, a short cot. I am tall, my feet hung off the end. For something called the Grand Suite, I would have expected nicer. The couch then posed a problem as that took up seating and there was only 1 tv not well placed in the room. Channels were limited and the movie selection was anything but good. Especially on our one day at sea.
Ports of Call
And a note for all the excursions. Bring along sun screen, lots of it and remember to reapply so as not to burn. We did this and did not burn which makes for a much more pleasant cruise. Plus, we all got tan instead!
St. Thomas - had a blast! Visited the gym this AM and it was a nice experience. I was early, so had my choice of machines. They were easy to use and I got my workout in while looking at ocean :) At dinner this evening, we had anytime, we got the worst waiter. I guess we were not as pretty as some others and so had super slow service. Other tables sat down way after us and were finished before us. Glasses went unfilled quite a bit as well. We ended up telling the hostess on the 4th day, as we kept saying not over there not over there. We ended up with Annie, who was a doll!
Day At Sea - Not enough on-board activities and movies were horrible. And the lack of channels made for a not happy me. So I sat out on the balcony, the rest of the ship was a bit crowded for my taste, but that's what you get on a cruise! I did enjoy serentiy cove for adults only, Carnival does know how to make you feel somewhat secluded and I loved the loungers! I walked/jogged the track for my exercise today, super beautiful. I did participate in some of the on-board things, but found of the few offered, I was not interested and since the casino was smoke filled, well, that was out for me as well.
Barbados - Walked/jogged the track again, love the view!
St. Lucia - So freakin' beautiful! More track time for me. I enjoyed this more than the gym, I think it was the fresh outdoors!
St. Kitts - so pretty. decent shopping, and monkeys.
St. Maarten - Dutch side (french side makes you pay taxes), lots of fun!
Back on board and back to San Juan.
Overall a fun time. Food was decent in the service dining rooms. Buffet left lots to be desired (lack of veggies and fruit choices, I can only take so many melons and canned fruit). Breakfast was a bit of a jumbled mess at the buffet, but I found that on Princess as well.
I did not take advantage of the shows, as we were doing other things.
So my overall rating. I still prefer Disney overall. Then Carnival, then Princess.