This was our 4th Carnival cruise and first balcony. We had a cove balcony and it was awesome, near the water, the tender boats over head giving shade. The ship is still like new, very nice. It was fully booked but other than embarkation I never felt over crowded. We had early dinning and enjoyed it. The food was very good. Our waitress was WanPen from Thailand and she was so attentive and gracious. Her assistant was Hector from Peru they were a great combination. I did notice that there are fewer waiters for the tables and they do not have the time to visit with you or get to know you like they used to do. I did get to ask her about her family in Thailand after the floods. Our room stewards did an great job as always. The shows were good, the one show Dancing in the Streets is unbelievable. The comedy clubs are terrific. I did not do bingo,gamble, or go to the art auction. I did buy the spa pass and enjoyed it. I found out that there is a free steam and sauna on the ship too, but that steam room is really small. We enjoyed everything except the bed, it was as hard as a rock. Carnival used to have these amazing dream beds that were like sleeping on a cloud. I asked our steward for a pad for the bed and he put one of the comforters down. It was better but I still could tell it was a sofa bed. I thank Carnival for changing our ports to Eastern Caribbean, I was dreading a week at sea during a Tropical Depression. Our first port was Nassau, we just got off the ship and wandered around because it was only there for a half day. The next day we did St. Thomas and chose the Snuba excursion.
The driver did not give us any information about the city as we headed to our excursion. It seems to be a very poor island, lots of old cars and run down buildings. We went to a sort of marine park to snuba, they said you did not have to have any experience, they were wrong. We put on our life jackets and weights got our regulators. They gave instruction of how to come back up if we needed to. We sat on a platform underwater for a few minutes to become accustomed to breathing through a regulator and then went down. All went well at first, then I sneezed. There is water in around your nose and you are breathing through your mouth, when sneezing, I got water in my mouth and panicked. I could not breathe, I snatched the regulator out because it felt like it was forcing water into my lungs. I was trying to swim to the top instead of turning and pulling myself up by the hose like I was supposed to do. The instructor grabbed my weights and turned me put my hands on the hose then helped me up. I got air then put the regulator on again and headed down. The instructor held my hand the whole time if I started to panic he would motion for me to breathe calmly. Then I had to sneeze again, I motioned that I wanted to go up and he let go. He checked on the others then came up, I told him I had to sneeze again. Then we went back down. I will do it again, but I will learn how to get water out of your mouth before I do it again. Next we went to St. Maarten. I wish we had gotten off the boat before booking an excursion. It is a cool port, they have the ship built port but you can take a water taxi across to the city for $6.00 unlimited crossings for the entire day.
They have a lovely beach and chairs all along the port. They have specials for an umbrella,two lounge chairs, and a bucket of beers or two frozen drinks for $10 to $20 dollars depending on the vendor. Drinks are cheap but food is higher like $12 for a burger. They have great shops, and there is just a few people hawking souvenirs. They do not let them come on the beach though. The water is the bluest blue and sand is white powder. We did the lagoon kayak excursion. It was good and bad. The bad was the traffic, we were on a air conditioned bus but they are doing roadwork and the ride took about 40 minutes. The Carnival excursion said we could do either one or two man kayaks. The bus dropped us off and said he would be back in 3 hours. We then were told we could only have two man kayaks. I would have gone back but no bus. We did the kayak and it was fun but my husband is a big man and together it was difficult. We did not expect to be doing the Eastern Carib or I would have researched our ports. I want to go back to St. Maarten it is beautiful. All in all it was a great cruise. Because I had the spa pass and balcony we did not spend much time on the Lido deck and the movies were kids movies. I had plenty to do with the entertainment they had and ate at all of the different food courts. Thought the pizza was bad and disappointed that the grill for burgers and hot dogs closes at 6:30pm the burgers are good. I bought the disco ball drink cup in Caliente it is so cute, and I also bought the funship funnel drink cup. I like the smaller ships but they start to stink as they get older.
Our CC group had the bilge smell discussion after returning and it seemed it was on deck 1 and 11. We were mid ship deck 2 and had no smell at all. I guess that is all, I check CC every few days so I will answer any questions by the next day.