This wasn't the best or most enjoyably cruise that my wife, Rosy and I have been on, but I want to celebrate the good things and not dwell on the negatives, except to say that we were unwell for much of the cruise and some thieving toe-rag nicked my camera on the last afternoon, so no pictures!
We boarded 4 days late as we attended my mum's funeral the day after we should have left Barcelona, so we missed out on the first port - Palma, Mallorca and joined the ship at the second port - Malaga. We were very excited to be finally boarding our dream voyage and to be meeting many of the people we'd talked to on CC and Facebook, for the last few months.
On arrival at the port we seemed to take everyone by surprise, as they were not expecting any passengers to embark, so we clashed with all the day-trippers leaving for their excursions. We quickly established that there had been a breakdown in communications, which was soon sorted and we dis-embarked for a sight-seeing trip, whilst Carnival got our Spa Balcony Stateroom ready. They had to find our Bon Voyage gifts etc.
We took a train journey along the coast, but unfortunately there were quite a few tunnels and the track was inland so not many views, so we returned on the bus, which was much more enjoyable and very cheap.
When we re-boarded, our room was ready and we were ready for it. We had bought to large bouquets, one for us and one for Ana Maria the Guest Services Manager, who we were having a lot of dealings with, but in keeping with the positive, I'll not discuss why!
She loved her flowers and we Rosy, GSM and me) hugged and kissed and had a chat. She kindly gave us her direct line number and offered to do anything she could to improve our cruise. She sent us some 'Champagne' and chocolate-covered strawberries and provided a vase for our flowers.
We toured the ship and spent some time in the spa, which was included in our fare.
By dinner time, my BV gifts had arrived, bottles of Bourbon and Rum. I had brought, two bottles of proper Champagne, together with water and coca cola, emptied the fridge contents into the sofa bed draw and we were all set.
At dinner, late seating, we were seated at a large table in a group of mixed CC folk and Guttersnipes (a break-away group off CC'ers). These people were all extremely kind and friendly and gave us a warm welcome. We knew we would have a great cruise. The Maitre'd arrived and presented us with a bottle of wine, which we drank surprisingly slowly, but we had been drinking 'fizz' just before dinner.
The following day we docked at Las Palmas, where we rented a car for 33 Euros and toured the island, including visits to botannical gardens.
The following day, we hosted the first of two 'all you can drink' cocktail parties, in the Vibe Nightclub. Carnival include snacks and the party-goers at $12pp enjoyed copious amounts of alcohol and there was soon a very merry atmosphere. These are wonderful events and we had over 100 participants at each. They are great ice-breakers and are great vfm. That night I started feeling unwell (a chesty cough) seemed to be doing the rounds, and it stayed with me for the rest of the cruise, making sleeping very difficult and as a consequence I started dozing during the evening entertainment!
In general, I found the food to be excellent, the drinks very expensive and the entertainment to be mostly very good at night, but we felt there weren't enough daytime activities to stimulate the brain.
There were two formal nights, when I was indebted to GSM, who lent me some dress shoes, as I had left mine in the case of funeral clothes!
We were treated to a very nice meal, with drinks, in the Steakhouse, courtesy of that very nice Mr Heald and dinner with El Capitano and other staff officers, travel writers and VIP's in the Italian Restaurant. This was on the penultimate night and unfortunately Rosy was now stricken by the chesty cough.
Rosy enjoyed the water slides and we both enjoyed the rope course and the putting, but missed deck quoits and shuffle-board.
Freeport was a disappointment compared with the scheduled stop at Grand Turk, but we made the most of it, walking around some nice areas of Port Lucaya and finding a nice bar with free wi-fi (Sparkys) and nice, cheap cocktails and conch fritters. The Radisson Resort was offering day passes for $20 including all beach facilities, but no food or drink. We spoke to folk from another ship who had an excellent package, much cheaper than Carnival, which included transportation, a glass-bottomed boat trip and a day pass with food and drink, for $63!
Disembarkation was much easier and efficient than when we previously experienced Galveston, on the Conquest, and we were soon outside in the warm sunshine, awaiting our CC shuttle, which Rob had kindly arranged. It was chaotic outside the terminal, but by the time we left, the dock was almost deserted, so clearly it's only busy for a short time frame.
All-in-all a wonderful cruise, with very nice people, who we will miss.