This was our second Carnival cruise, the first being 8 years ago on the Inspiration during Spring Break. That was a fine trip, but I still was a bit skeptical about sailing with Carnival. We went with two other couples, all celebrating anniversaries and birthdays and I was the cruise director for our trip.
We arrived at the port about 10:30, and due to one couple getting to the port early, we had embarkation no. 3. Even with what appeared to be long lines, we were checked in in no time and were on the ship at Lido deck by 11:30. The weather was perfect for sitting on deck, having a drink and enjoying lunch. Make sure you enter the Red Sail buffet and not making the mistake of thinking the only thing available was hot dogs at the grill station. The deli station was open as well, and I started the cruise with a great corned beef on rye sandwich and a cold beer!
Our rooms were ready at 1:30 and we trekked down to drop off More
our carry ons and check out the cabins. We had 8A balcony on deck 6 starboard above the Amber Palace show lounge. We thought they were the perfect location near the forward stairs and elevators and just one floor above all the action. Yes, we could hear the show if we were in our rooms before 11:15 PM, but it was over after that, and quiet as could be. We had the cabin steward open the dividers between our balconies, so we had a lovely deck for the 6 of us to relax on. We really enjoyed that!! The cabins were really roomy with lots of storage. We used one of the drawers under the sofa for dirty clothes, and stored the luggage under the bed. Our room steward kept our room spotless.
We all thought the food on the ship was fantastic. Now, some dishes were better than others, but all 6 of us enjoyed our meals. We had Anytime Dining in the lower level in the Golden Dining Room. We loved the waiter we had the first night, but could never get to the dining room early enough to get her. However, we had 4 different wait teams, and every one was great. We did have to wait a few nights to get seated. The longest was the 1st formal evening, when we waited for 45 minutes (we arrived at 6:45). However, the wait was worth it as the lobster tails/shrimp dish was fantastic. I generally found the beef dishes less to my liking than the other entrees.
We had breakfast in the Platinum Dining Room three times. Great food and service. We always had a booth for 4 of us. Loved the eggs Benedict. Also the danish/sweet rolls served were awesome. We also used room service for coffee and danish in the early morning. Really enjoyed having the coffee on the balcony.
The shows were very good. The song and dance ones were excellent, but could have been a little shorter. The illusionist was awesome. We went to two comic shows. Both were at the adult shows. The first comedian used the f-bomb every other word, which really didn't add to his show (I'm not prude, either), but later in the cruise another comedian was hysterical. The music provided around the ship was really pretty good. I did think the piano guy in the piano bar was a little flat, so we didn't hang out there.
Lots of smoke in the casino, but they did have a non smoking section as well. Our cabin did not smell of smoke. I understand that there will be a new smoking policy starting Dec. 1st.
Don't miss the Fun Farewell Party on the last day. They really don't advertise it, just a little line in the Fun Times. It was at 5 PM in the Ebony lounge. They had a nice band and free drinks. Trays full they were bringing around, as well as anything else you wanted, just ask. There may have been 100 people there. It was great.
The best part of the cruise was the service. To a person, every employee was friendly and provided great service. It was amazing how they could remember your name. We had one waiter one night in the Golden Dining Room, and every time he saw us he would say "Hi, Mr. Jim, Ms. Debbie" We could be in another section of the dining room or up at the Red Sail. Very impressive.
Our weather was perfect. Every day was around 80 with a light breeze and no rain. The seas were perfect, a little bit rough on the last day and evening, but it just made you know you were at sea. The ports were great. Belize was probably our least favorite port. We had a private tour to Altun Ha ruins. The ruins were great, but it takes forever to get there on very rough roads. We used Island Marketing there.
At Cozumel, we went to the Money Bar and snorkeled there. Best snorkeling of the cruise.
Roatan was booked with Victor Bodden tours. We walked over a short but steep hill to meet our driver. We ended up at Mayan Princess hotel ($10 PP for a chair and use of facilities) on Tabyana Beach. Awesome! Snorkeled, $25 beach massage, fabulous beach, showers, pool.
Cayman was perfect as always. Went to Royal Palms at Seven Mile Beach. Shopped in town. Snorkeled at Eden Roc near the port.
As you can see, I'm going on and on. There are probably other things I could comment about. This is my 15th cruise. I've enjoyed them all. However, I couldn't get over the service and value that Carnival offers. I am organizing a second cruise for members of my husband's company for 2013. I intend to do it with Carnival after my experience on this ship. I loved the Glory. Less