This was our 9th cruise, all on various Carnival ships. We had 23 in our party, Eddie & The Cruisers, this time. My in-laws, in their 80s, went and were a bit overwhelmed by the size of the ship. They prefer a more intimate setting. The rest of the group, from 8 to 65 enjoyed everything.
Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the terminal about 10 a.m., checked in and were put in the holding pen for about an hour and then on board. Debarkation was just as simple. We had a leisurely breakfast and then waited for an announcement that it wasn't crowded. We were off the ship and in a taxi in about 1/2 hour. We had an inside cabin on deck 8. We like the inside if we aren't going someplace with a view such as Alaska or trans-canal, since we sleep much better. These cabin layouts are far superior to the smaller and older Carnival ships we have sailed in the past. There was a glitch when we first boarded with the interactive TV, ordering shore excursions, but it was soon remedied.
Food service in the dining room, ours was Washington late seating, was very good. The quality and variety of food has increased dramatically since our first Carnival cruise on the Holiday 15 years ago. We shared a table with some friends in the Scarlett's supper club, good food, extremely attentive service, great desserts. Try the lobster, it's great! The Lido deck dining option is far superior to other smaller ships, more than four buffet lines plus a deli, a stir fry, burgers and dogs, pizza, fish and chips and ice cream. The buffet lines at Rosies are a bit long, but they seemed to progress quickly.
The on board entertainment was very good, but we all enjoyed the comedians and jugglers better than the production shows.
For shore excursions, don't miss cave tubing in Belize, dolphins in Roatan, Stingray City in Grand Cayman and of course Carlos and Charlies in Cozumel. We bought the first three on the boat, the last on the pier. Obviously the ship prices are higher, but there were certain excursions that we especially wanted to experience so we considered it worth the extra expense. Tendering is pretty good considering the quantity of folks being transported, but we were grateful it was only in Belize and Grand Cayman.
This is a new ship, but a carbon of several others in the fleet. A big help was the deck plan brochure given to everyone as they boarded. Pretty easy to get around, whether experienced or novice. Our group staked out a few tables on the Lido deck far aft and that was our meeting spot.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable vacation. My only suggestion would be to limit it to three ports. Four ports in a week does not allow sufficient time to enjoy the ship. I just don't know which port to eliminate, as we enjoyed them all. This was my wife and my fourth trip to Cayman and Cozumel, and we'd go back again. Neither one of us are divers, so we'd probably eliminate Belize, since we've now had the cave tubing adventure.
We're already looking forward to our next Eddie and the Cruisers Carnival Adventure.