This was a very long drive for us to make to port of Miami. We stayed in Boca Raton the night before so we wouldn't be too tired for our 1st day on the ship. It worked out well for us. We were a group of two married couples staying in cabins next door to each other.
The embarkation went well. I think it took us about 40 minutes start to finish. We parked on a lot and had shuttle service for 4 to and from the port. This worked out well at the start of our cruise, but not so much at the end.
The 1st day out was a "Fun Day". Which depends on how you want to look at things. We certainly enjoyed ourselves. There is always as much or as little as you want to do. We liked the serenity deck, but it was too much like an outside library. quiet please shhhh...
The first port was Grand Cayman. The main reason we took this particular cruise. The swells were too large to tender, so we had to bypass it. We were not happy with this, but it's understood that these things happen. There was a Disney ship that turned around the same time we did. It gave us a couple more hours in Isle of Roatan which was nice.
We booked a bus tour, and monkey excursion with an outside vendor. It was $25pp and was a complete tour of the island and a small "petting farm" with monkeys, parrots and other small animals as well as some beach time. Well worth the money. It was a Victor Boden tour, and the animals were actually at his house. Carnival owns the port area in Roatan, and you have to walk a short distance just outside of their gate to find these vendors.
Belize was our next stop, and we wanted to simply walk around shop and hit a pub or 2. The problem was once you hit the gate. It was like some of the Bahamas port we've been to where the people WILL NOT leave you alone. It took us a few hundred yards to get out of the mess before we could enjoy walking the city and having a couple of drinks. Cozumel was our least exciting port because we've been there on 2 other cruises. This time we wanted to try something different, and went to Mr. Sanchos beach. It was a tourist trap from the word go, but we had a ball. The beach access was free, but if you like to drink and eat. They have an all inclusive deal where you get all the beer, liquor, snorkeling, food, and even a massage for $50pp. We WILL do it the next time.
So far as the actual ship goes. It was pretty standard. We found the food to be very good, but normal cruise type food. The ship was well maintained, and the staff was in our experience very friendly. We had the any time dining, so we had 3 different head waiters on the 3 nights we ate in the dining room. Eric from Honduras was AWESOME. The others... not so much. The only problem with the fitness was overcrowding. I tried twice, and just gave up on it. I figured I was on vacation anyway.
I would recommend this trip to a friend, and possibly do it again in years to come.
The only real problem we had with this trip was getting back to our car. The shuttle service we were supposed to call hung up on us twice, and left us standing for about an hour. There was another couple that waited 3 hours before finally taking a cab. I reported them to the police, and they showed up in about 10 minutes after that. We booked Premier Parking, but it was a sub contractor named Sunshine Tours that gave us the problems.