I sailed with my husband this was our 12th cruise overall. 8th with Carnival. We are in our late 40's. This was the first week with their new itinerary -- 8 day southern. Sail date was January 21, 2012.
Flew into Fort Lauderdale the day before the cruise. We used Ocean Sky for our car service which picked us up at the airport and took us to our hotel in Miami. Great service I would certainly recommend them. Stayed at the Doubletree Biscayne Bay -- nice hotel nothing exceptional.
Excellent -- fast -- perfect. We arrived at the port around 11:30 am -- porters quickly took our bags -- we were in line and on the ship within 30 minutes. However rooms were not ready until well after 2:00 pm which is the latest we have ever had to wait. Luggage did not arrive in time for dinner, which was 6pm!
Laid out very complicated -- it was frustrating at first -- felt like you were walking in circles. Very clean ship, nicely decorated.
Room 6409: It was next to an employee's entrance and also the steward's closet. Noise was only an issue in the morning. However all around our door each day was cleaning supplies (water bucket, vacuum, the steward's cart) It was hard to get around to get in our room at times. Room steward "Colas" (not sure of the spelling) was great. Our room was always clean -- he knew our names after the first introduction. The room was always warm - we could not get it cool.
A VERY smoky ship -- seems like they allow you to smoke almost anywhere! You had to walk through the casino to get to the other side, and it was always filled with smoke!
Food was never hot and usually not even warm! Buffett Food: Never warm, not a lot of choices. After the first couple days we skipped breakfast it was the same each day. Dining Room: Again food was never hot -- I ordered the chocolate melting cake 6 of our 8 dinners and only 1 time was it an actual melting cake -- the other times it was an over cooked brownie. Service however was great!
We requested a table for 2 and did receive it. We were lucky to have a table in the middle of the room -- we noticed other tables for 2 were set right on top of the next so basically you were at a table for 4.
Dress: A very, very casual group -- shorts were a norm -- as well as jeans in the dinning room. The 2 elegant nights people dressed up a bit more, but not much. I have never noticed such a casual group on a Carnival Ship before. However, didn't bother us.
Not great -- the Carnival shows are still the same as our first cruise with them -- they haven't changed at all. From the 80's flashback -- to the welcome show where they throw the beach balls, dancing etc. The comedians were okay -- the Motown singer was good they brought on for one night. I heard they are working on their entertainment so I am looking forward to seeing some changes.
Brad in the Piano bar was great and a lot of fun!
Grand Turk: Not much to do at all -- book an excursion.
La Romana, Dominican Republic: Again not a lot at the port. We booked the Bayahibe (sounds like buy-ah-he-bay) Beach Break -- nice day at an all inclusive resort $69.95/person. Drinks were included, as well as a towel, chair -- several pools and the beach. Food available but was extra.
Curacao and Aruba: Nice ports lots to do right around the ship nice size city with a lot of shopping etc
We did have to turn around 4-hours after we left Aruba and go back due to a medical emergency. I hope all was well.
Amazing -- from the time we got in line at around 8:30 am (we were zone 2) we were off the ship, got our luggage, went through customs in seriously less than 10 minutes! Then we had to wait for an hour and a half for our car service as someone thought it was a good idea to have a marathon at the POM at the same time several ships were debarking! No cars could get into the port. It was a mess! Everyone just had to stand around and wait.
Overall I was not disapointed - it was a very relaxing trip. Wish I were there right now!