Day 1 - Embarkation
We had stayed in a hotel the prior night and took a cab to the port about Noon time. I was impressed that the porters already had our luggage onto their carts before I was even out of the cab and could give him a good tip. After this we got in line, which looked and seemed long but it moved very quickly and once we were through the metal detectors it was a breeze. We did the self serve check in which had absolutely no lines at all, and despite a snafu with my wifes passport (this was due to the condition of the passport itself causing the reader to have problems), we were on the ship in no time. The whole process from the time the cab pulled up until we were on the ship was about 45-50 minutes. Our stateroom was already ready and it was more spacious than I expected. We were in 7402, which was an interior stateroom right next to the aft elevators. The buffet was being served on the Lido deck, and again the lines were relatively short and the food was good. After the muster drill we were on our way. We ate dinner in the Golden Dining room every night, and we opted for your time dining, which I thought was great. Despite it being anytime dining, the hostess would seat you with the same waiter every night if you so wanted, which we did. We had a great wait staff consisting of I Made (Not made up :) from Indonesia, Jesus from Peru, and Paolo from the Phillipines. They were great all week, and very friendly. The food was excellent all week. The first night I had a chicken dish that was great. Then I got to the Dessert and had a Chocolate Melting Cake that was to die for. That night we went to a teaser show in the Amber Palace which was hosted by Josh the Cruise Director and his team. It was really well done and a good preview of things to come for the week. Josh was awesome. He has a great sense of humor and wants to see you have fun, but he also didn't hog the PA system constantly and allowed the guests to enjoy themselves. In our stateroom we had our first towel animal, a walrus, which me and my wife always enjoyed.
Day 2 - Sea Day
This was a day at sea, so after having breakfast on the Lido (My one complaint here was the pancakes were a bit hard), we spent some time catching some sun. The drink waiters were constantly around so we didn't have any problems with a drink if we wanted one. We went to a cooking demonstration with the head chef, and I am eager to try the terramasu recipe we learned. We attended a session with Josh in the Amber Palace which explained how to get the most out of the week. With all that happened on that ship, if you didn't have fun, it's your own fault. Dinner in the Golden Dining room again was delicious as I had a different chicken entree that was also very tasty. This was formal night, and during dinner our waitstaff sang "Happy Honeymoon" to us and gave us an extra dessert. This night was one of two where they had a Comedy Club set up in the Ebony Cabaret. They had some great comics, especially Marvin Todd, who has some funny routines on YouTube if you have never heard of him. My complaint here though was multiple times in the Ebony Cabaret we would never receive a drink order that we made. This is the only issue I had with service for the entire week. The show in the Amber Palace was a tribute to America, and it was well done, though the previous reviewer was right about the middle part of the show though. Our towel animal for the night was a little puppy dog.
Day 3 - Ocho Rios
For our first day in port we ordered breakfast through room service and it was delivered promptly at the time we requested it. It was very good. Me and my wife had booked the Sky Explorer with the Dunns River Falls excursion. The Sky Explorer was great. It is a scenic chairlift which provides great views of some breathtaking scenery. The observation deck at the top provided great views, and though we didn't do it, there was the jamaican bobsled and the ziplines available as well. We went over to Dunns River Falls, and when we got there we realized we didn't read the excursion carefully enough. So my wife traversed the falls wearing a t-shirt and jeans. This was our fault though. It was still a lot of fun. What downgraded this from me was the exit from the falls to the parking lot led you through the infamous Ocho Rios merchants that I read about, and of course they were as pushy as advertised. After getting dry clothes we had a cabbie take us to a duty free store in town so we could buy a couple of bottles of Jamaican Rum. Back on the ship, dinner that night was yet a pork steak for me, and that was excellent. The show that night in the Amber Palace was Justin Illusion, a magician who incorporates dance and coreography into his routine. This show was absolutely amazing and was the best one of the week by far. The towel animal for the night was a rabbit.
Day 4 - Grand Cayman
After a quick breakfast we tendered into port and did some shopping. The tendering process was real smooth, however the Tenders themselves are very susceptible to choppy water, which happened on this day. The shopping in Grand Cayman is much better than Ocho Rios and the people aren't pushy at all. We got back to the port for our excursion, which was a Snorkel on the barrier reef. This was an awesome excursion. The boat guide was from North Carolina originally and he was very sharp and accomodating. The water was a bit choppy, but snorkling on the reef is a must do, and it was a blast. Because of the length of the excursion, we caught the very last tender back to the ship. I had fried chicken in the dining room that night, with a terramasu dessert. It was pretty good. This was the second night of the Comedy Club, and the shows were amazing again, and the Amber Palace show for the evening was a tribute to Rock and Roll, which was another good show. Our Towel Animal that night was a little frog.
Day 5 - Sea Day
Our last day at sea started with us trying to enjoy some time on the deck, unfortunately it was so windy on the deck that day that we couldn't stay out there that long. So we took in some of the activities. We tried our luck at Charades and a bean bag toss, and then trivia. Our last night in the dining room ended up with me having grilled chicken which was great, and of course I had to have that melting cake one last time. They did a Newlywed Style game in the Amber Palace that night, and I could not stop laughing the whole time. The previous reviewer mentioned that she was part of the old couple. Let me tell you, that old couple was hillarious and they continued to crack us all up in the audience. I don't remember what the towel animal was for the night because we were busy packing and leaving backs out for debarkation. However, Josh the Cruise Director had a bottle of Champaigne sent to our stateroom and it was waiting for us without us knowing about it until we got there. That warmed my heart.
Day 6 - Debarkation
I thought Debarkation was really well done. What I don't think the previous reviewer took into account was the fact that a lot of people had early flights, which means they couldn't wait for their group to be called, and this may have complicated things a bit. However we waited for our group to be called with breakfast on the lido, and after our group was called, we were off the ship with no wait at all. Customs was a breeze, and there was a cab waiting to take us to the Miami airport. To put it another way on how smooth it was, less than an hour after our group was called for Debarkation, we were actually through security at the Miami Airport.
The Good Things
Josh the Cruise Director was great. He has a great sense of humor, but also knows how to let folks have fun without annoying us too much
The Justin Illusion show on the third night was amazing, and I am still mystified by how he pulled some of the tricks off
Staterooms were always clean, and serviced promptly. Never had any issues with the attendants, they were on the ball
Waitservice in the Dining room was great all week, and even though we didn't order any drinks, the drink waitress was always around if we wanted one and she was very friendly
The Comedians they had on board, Marvin Todd, and I believe Don Gray was the other one, were amazing
Pizza Buffet never had any long lines all week and Pizza was always ready
The Bad Things (Not many of them)
The waitstaff in the Ebony Cabaret was not the sharpest. One drink order was never delivered, and another order sat on the guys tray until we pointed it out to another waiter. This was the only problem of any sort I had with any waitperson on the ship.
The elevators seemed a bit slow at times, often skipping past the floor I am trying to catch them from, and sometimes they weren't working. It wasn't that big a deal to me though.
Some of the Hot tubs were at best lukewarm, particularly the adults only one near the pizza bar.
Overall this was a great cruise, and it exceeded all my expectations, and I have no reservations about sailing with Carnival again, and will definitely do so in the future. In fact I can't wait to sail again. I do want to try other lines though too, just to get a full experience. My Wife has done Norweigian before and said that this cruise on Carnival was much much better.