We did the 7 night itinerary Cozumel-Roatan-Belize. This cruise was during Christmas, so we celebrated the holiday on board during the final sea day. There were several unique items during the Christmas cruise that aren't on board regularly. The menu changed Christmas night to a more traditional Christmas menu, we had "snow" in the main lobby while we sang Christmas carols. And of course, there were many lovely decorations on board for the Christmas season. They were all about Santa, Christmas presents, Christmas trees and so forth. The Dr. Seuss theme characters kicked into overdrive with an appearance of the Grinch attempting to "steal" Christmas. It was very cute and funny. Even my teenaged kids had a blast with the Dr. Seuss activities. They had chances to take photos with the characters too.
On to the ship itself. Everything was nice, no issues with the cleanliness or anything related to general ship amenities. There was always plenty of things to do most anytime of the day on sea days. We had a packed schedule from the time we woke up till very late into the night. I checked out the serenity deck a couple of times, very briefly and everyone looked very relaxed.
Service in the buffet areas and Guys Burgers and the Taco place was always great. A friendly smile and greeting made it a nice experience most days. The service in the main dining room which we used every night of the cruise, was outstanding. My compliments to Augus and the others that took care of our table. Everything we needed, was taken care of in great fashion. The bartenders were cheerful, even if they were a bit rushed due to high demand for drinks during peak hours. I had a chance to visit guest services a couple of times and we had no problems there at all, they were pleasant and helpful. Sometimes the lines were long and slow but the guest services team kept it going.
The shore excursions were really fun. In order to keep the review short, I'll go through them briefly. Cozumel -Twister boat and Isla Passion all inclusive- Wow, what a ride, and what an island. This is where they filmed the Corona commercials. The beach is really nice. Service there was top notch. Luis served us drinks and kept us comfortable. Anything we needed, just ask Luis. He was awesome. The weather that day was pretty windy and the sea was rough so the water was turbulent and cloudy, so snorkeling was not an option. But that's not the resorts fault. Overall this is a really nice excursion, take it if you can.
Honduras- Roatan Island - The excursion we chose here was Tabyana beach break. This one does not include food or drinks so bring cash. First of all this is a beautiful place to visit. West Bay, where the beach is located will take your breath away. We got there pretty early, one of the first few buses/vans to arrive. So, we were able to get decent seating in the shade. And also a few chairs in the hot sun for the kids to get some sun. As the day goes on, more and more people arrive at the beach, so prime chairs might fill up quickly. But don't worry there's plenty of beach chairs for everyone. The food was good and not expensive. They gave us free water and lemonade to drink. The service from everyone there was outstanding. The security was watchful of out belongings and assisted us in all kinds of things through the day. One possible missing thing was a tour guide on the bus ride to and from the beaches. The ride from and to the beach was "silent" as there were no guides to go over what we were seeing on the most beautiful island. But otherwise a lovely excursion.
Belize - Belize City - Altun Ha with River Wallace. This was a long excursion, requiring a tender ride from the ship to shore, then a boat ride 20 something miles up a river to a Mayan ruin site. The boat ride was very cool and educational. Our guide Simone, was outstanding as a informative, funny tour guide. The second part of the excursion was the highlight, a visit to the Mayan ruin site Altun Ha. The site was very nicely maintained. We climbed to the top and it was a bit steep. A good workout. The grounds are well kept with very nice facilities recently built. Another highlight for the trip was lunch at the Black Orchid resort. Their chicken, beans and rice lunch was good. The service was friendly.
On to the dining and entertainment. The dining in the buffet was decent. Not always outstanding, but hey it's the quantity not the quality that counts here, or no wait do i have that backwards? :) . Main dining room meal quality was very enjoyable to me. Others at our table ordered the steak from the Steakhouse for 20 bucks extra and didn't care for it. We just kept it simple and things went well for us.
Kids clubs - the kids did enjoy the clubs. I don't have lots of comments, other than it seemed like they had fun and met some friends.
Entertainment - Main shows in the evening was good. I did not go to a lot of the events as we were always busy doing other things. The Punchliner comedy club show was always funny. The Dr. Seuss themed events were a blast for little kids and big kids too.
The casino - Well the casino was fun but often it was too smoky. I'm not a big time gambler, I mostly play for the fun of it and i often come out losing, but I go in expecting to lose. That's why the casino is there after all- to vacuum up large amounts of cruise passenger cash and put it in the ship's back pocket. Just know that and have fun playing. While playing the slots, etc was truly fun for me, what really bothers me about being anywhere on the ship near the casino is the smoky air we are forced to breathe. My wife has asthma and can't really tolerate long exposure to cigarette smoke so she had to avoid extended time in the casino and areas around the casino. During the peak hours after dinner, the smoke boiled out of the casino into the surrounding areas.
We chose to leave our bags out the night before and pick them up in the terminal. It was a slower way to disembark due to walk off passengers getting to leave first. We didn't have a plane to catch or anything since we drove to Galveston. So, hanging out on board and eating a late breakfast and having that last cup of coffee while everyone else rushed off the ship was a nice touch. Getting off board was a piece of cake compared to the process at the cruise terminal to make it through customs, etc. The lines were LONG, very long. The wait was shortened somewhat by using a porter to carry our bags. they had their own line which was shorter than the other regular lines.
We all had a great time. Carnival is a good cruise line that provides a good cruise experience at a good price point. Some highs- service, ship condition, activities, good experiences in foreign countries. Good food and plenty of it. Good itineraries at some great ports. Great service all around. Good size cabins. Some lows - some menu items are bland and not very tasty, both in the MDR and on the buffet. The beds we had started to be uncomfortable after a night or 2. Maybe it's time for a refresh of their mattresses in the inside cabins.
Good size cabins. The beds we had were uncomfortable to sleep on. Maybe it's time for replacement of their mattresses. The shower and bathroom was plenty roomy. No problems with storage space even with 3 in the room.
Beautiful place. Will come back as soon as i can.
Fun! and a very very nice beach. What a view!