I did this cruise reluctantly, last minute to help my son who was cruising for the first time at his request. I'll make this as brief as I can :/. (First, DO NOT DO SHIP EXCURSIONS. Do the homework and make your own arrangements. More ... Read More
I did this cruise reluctantly, last minute to help my son who was cruising for the first time at his request. I'll make this as brief as I can :/. (First, DO NOT DO SHIP EXCURSIONS. Do the homework and make your own arrangements. More on that below.)
From the beginning: Embarkation went as expected, crowded and slow. Checking in ahead didn't help much, but some. Get there early! Bring a lanyard for your ship card! The ship is small, looks old, and feels old and it's hard to get around, constantly changing decks and such to get from one end to the other quickly, w/o wading through people. It rocked the whole time from side to side. Our balcony cabin was old feeling and bed was hard, lamp hanging off wall, despite having been 'remodeled'. Son's inside bed was soft. Food is great at the buffets, but crowded and ship isn't designed for crowds around the food. Guy's burgers was awesome and the pizza and taco joints were great. Dining rooms are SLOW and food was just so/so, but waiters are grand. Entertainment was just so/so. I really did enjoy the Christmas program on Christmas Eve eve, as it touched my heart. The rest I could do without. Activities were more geared toward shopping and singles and LGBT meet and greets. Of course they PUSH alcohol. We didn't get our luggage, despite having two tags, covered in packaging tape and stapled together multiple times on our one bag. We had to go find it at the Service desk. What did they do to our bag to take off those tags??? No apologies for that either.
Because it was last minute, and I didn't have time to make my own arrangements, which is always waaay better, I booked an excursion off the ship for Belize. It got canceled the night before, at midnight because of rain the day before, and the next morning chaos ensued as everyone rushed the TWO people who were rerouting 100's of canceled excursionists. We gave up and *sigh* sadly negotiated a 30% off rate for a snorkel trip in Cozumel, at my son's and his wife's request. Then, as we walked around the crowded and overpriced cookie cutter stores at the port, we saw three groups gathering under the signs for the excursion we were kicked out of. I say kicked out, because it wasn't cancelled, just overbooked. We were lied to and saw nothing in Belize because of it. Roatan was great! Dangerous, but we did our own thing, arranging a taxi to Little French Key, and had a great day. Grand Cayman is pretty, and safe, but it takes a lot of money to get a taxi to take you to anywhere great and not overrun by tourists, or is good for snorkeling. And the ship isn't there for long, so, crowded beach day. Also, the shops are expensive. Cozumel has been built up so much by the ships that I hate it there now. I used to love it when we went diving there on Palancar Reef. EIGHT ships were in that day! Eight. Shops are expensive and EVERYWHERE. Hard to get to the REAL Cozumel. But take a taxi or rent a jeep and do it! Go to Palancar or make your own arrangements with a REPUTABLE company, speaking to them on the phone before you book. Palancar or Columbia Reefs are great for diving or snorkeling. DON'T get the snorkel or dive packages off the ships. We've done this twice, and were horrified both times. In Cozumel, we did the Three Reef Snorkel with the Yellow Rose. HUGE mistake. You are right beside the ships and the partial reefs are nearly dead and deep. The boat was crowded, the water crowded, and just not good. We stayed away from the crowd, but still managed to get kicked a couple of times. HUGE WASTE. Also, to salvage the trip, and despite the fact that we had our own go pros, I gave in and bought the cd that would include the awesome photos that David took of us four, as he fed the fish to attract them, that he showed us before we purchased. There were about 12 great ones and I was looking forward to having them. Well, I got home and guess what? TWO photos of only my husband and I were there, along with 3 blurry ones of fish. I was furious! $30 I paid for this? I looked them up, called and sent emails, and guess what? Their numbers don't work and their email goes unanswered. I finally got one message back from one of the email addresses, saying "Sorry, out sailing until February." Yellow Rose is like yellow in the snow. Needless to say, I'll never take another Carnival Cruise, and I'll never go back to the Caribbean unless I fly in. IF you do, book your own shore trips. Not ship excursions, and not the ShoreTrips people the travel agents recommend. It isn't hard. Read reviews, check them out, and call them. Simple and you'll thank me. Read Less