Our first cruise was on the Carnival Triumph in May 2003, which went from New York City to St. John, New Brunswick, Halifax, Novascotia and back to NYC. We had a wonderful vacation on this north eastern trip. The next cruise was the beginning of a yearly tradition, and was on the Carnival Fascination in December 2006 that departed from Miami, FL and went to Key West, FL, then to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. This too was a wonderful vacation and was perhaps my favorite ship thus far. The next cruise was on the Carnval Liberty in December 2007 that went from Fort Lauderdale, FL and went to Nassau, Bahamas, then to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands and then to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and back to Florida. This trip was with my family, mother and father in laws and my parents.We had so much fun on this trip that, when we returned, in January and February, I did two things: 1st because, I had enjoyed the Carnival Cruise Lines so much I purchased stock with my IRA (not such a good decision given the state of the economy now, but oh well. I still own the stock for now). 2nd, we decided to book our next Christmas 2008 cruise with Carnival again and decided to book an 8 day cruise on the Carnival Miracle that was "supposed" to go to the Panama Canal, Costa Rica and Belize departing and returning to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.Now the bad: The cruise was scheduled to depart Fort Lauderdale on December 15th 2008. We had 15 people that were all meeting in Fort Lauderdale on December 13th two days prior to the Cruise. My family left Virginia Friday night on December 12th and started driving toward Fort Lauderdale. Before, we left I checked my email and had a email from Coral Breezes cruise excursions that my itinerary had been changed and we were going to be in Belize on the 19th instead of the 20th. I thought this was odd, but thought maybe Carnival had decided to go to Belize first then continue to Costa Rica and the Panama canal.
We got to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday and we were all staying at the Ocean Sky Hotel and Resort. It is a nice beachside resort with a shuttle to the port everglades for $10 per person. We had stayed there last year and really enjoyed it, so we re-booked here. Again we enjoyed this hotel and stayed here the day we returned from the hotel as well. The hotel has nice beach access, a nice pool overlooking the beach, a Tiki bar, and free wireless internet.
When we got to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, I was shocked to find out the entire itinerary had been changed. Do to a problem with the propulsion system, Instead of going to Costa Rica and Panama we were going to go to Costa Maya, Mexico then to Cozumel Mexico, then to Belize City, Belize and finally to Roatan and then back to Fort Lauderdale. In lei of the sudden change in the itinerary, Carnival said it would provide $50 per state room in on ship credit. Everyone in my group was furious. I was a little embarrassed having set this whole vacation up, and many people were asking me and my wife to call and ask for a better compensation. My wife and I called and asked and Carnival told us that we were the only ones calling and that we could not cancel our reservations with a complete refund because the 24 hour period had passed already (we called on Sunday). I did not get a chance to check my email until Saturday at the hotel and the email had gone out late Friday night. None the less, we still probably would not have cancelled because we had all our hotel plans and flights reserved. Carnival was not interested in increasing the compensation. When we got to the embarkation area a fly was given to us stating that the compensation was going to be $25 per person. Also, just from talking with other passengers I realized that there was going to be a lot of unhappy people on this trip. Embarkation went smoothly, and we were on board. On the ship a posted new itinerary state that only $25 per state room would be the compensation. With three different versions of this updated itinerary, my first trip was to the Pursers desk, to find out which was correct. The Pursers desk was flooded with unhappy passengers. I did find out that that the ship was providing $25 per person, but also, interestingly, I found out that passengers that had booked through companies such as "Vacations made easy" were receiving even better compensations. One couple was receiving $100 per person compliments of vacations made easy, this was on top of the $25 from carnival. I personally believe that at least $100 per person would be more appropriate.
This was a ocean view cabin. There really is not much difference between and interior stateroom and an ocean view with the exception of the view of the ocean. Nothing great unless you like looking at the ocean from your own room, though you can do this on the deck just as comfortably.