This was our 12th cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines and our first cruise out of Port Canaveral. We arrived at the port during some windy and rainy weather and were marshaled into a parking garage to drop off our luggage. Having had a suitcase lost on our first cruise we are not fans of the luggage process, especially the way this looked. Our luggage was not lost this time however. We then left that area and proceeded to the 3rd floor of the parking garage and then walked to the terminal. We entered the VIP line and went to the counter and were first in line for check in and key cards, had our photos taken and right onto the ship. They had one photo where you individually have your photo taken with a green screen. This was pretty cool as in the photo store your photos were all scanned and recognized and you could pull them up on a computer. They even photo shopped some and made photos of us in astronaut space suits.
Cabin-We were in 11260, a balcony forward port, basically one deck up from the pool area. There was a constant rattle somewhere in the area of the right closet or the wall. Hot water on full was perfect in the shower, no need to use the cold water. Plenty of room for the two of us. One negative of this floor area is the noise from the atrium music and activities as well as the pool area noise. Never saw the room steward except for the first night when he came by for us to sign in. Room was always taken care of, just never saw him again. He was there several mornings like a wake up call to knock on the door to clean at 8:00. 4th night put out the snoozin sign. A/C was all the way down and just comfortable. Safes on this ship are a touch pad combination, no card. Be careful, the safe is on an angle in the cabinet and items can fall behind it and are very difficult to retrieve.
Food- Well, if this is your first cruise you will probably like it. The sushi bar was great. There is no Cucina del Capitano restaurant, Red Frog Bar, Red Frog Beer or pub food on this ship. What a disappointment. The sports bar area was at the end of the casino. I think there were 7 televisions, all on the same channel. Great on college football day to have all of those games but only watching one. Again, as a 12th time cruiser with Carnival the food was the worst. The selections on the menu in the formal dining room have diminished and the quality of the food has declined substantially. For the first time we skipped the dinning room several times. The food and the selections in the cafeteria are just as bad. Selections poor, food cold and the bacon is just plain disgusting. Two good things, the Mongolian Wok and the steak house were the only savings grace.
Entertainment- The R rated comedy shows aft 5 were great. The entertainment around the decks was just okay. The shows as usual were outstanding. DO NOT miss the show called Dancing in the Streets. It was tremendous. By far the best show we have seen on our 14 cruises/3 different cruise lines.
Gym- Would love to see the pools and hot tubs open later at night. Gym area was okay and the locker rooms were okay. For this size ship they should have been larger. The day I went to use the Thalassotherapy Pool in the gym, it was empty.
Nassau- been there many times before. For some reason have never found anything to do there. Bought some Q-Tips and got back on board.
St. Thomas- had a great day at the beach at a hotel. The water and view were awesome. Rented some chairs and an umbrella, used their pool and had a great lunch and a few beers. Will definitely go back.
St. Maarten- did some shopping and bought my wife a nice ring for our 26th wedding anniversary. Took the the water taxi downtown and had a great time eating some local foods and drinking $1.50 Coronas.
Disembarkation was pretty good. Caught a nice cold breakfast at the cafeteria, seconds after it opened the food was already cold, retrieved our back packs and off the ship and to the baggage claim. Was amazed that when we got off just one line was open. Was almost like someone did not show up to work.
All in all this cruise was nothing spectacular. For a brand new ship and new class of ship it was just okay. The food was poor. Public areas on decks 4 and 5 were dark and depressing. Way to many photo stations. The activities that we did on St. Thomas and St. Maarten were great. Maybe my expectations for this new ship were set to high by having researched the Dream, Magic and Breeze on the Carnival web site. We still had a good time and will return again but wow...could have been better.