My husband and teenage children 17, & 15 along with their (2) friends accompanied us on the Western Caribbean cruise to: Belize, Roatan Honduras, Grand Cayman & Cozumel.
Our family did these destinations 2 years ago, however, we were on the NCL Sun. This was our first time cruising with Carnival.
Let me first start with the ship itself. It was smaller than previous ships we have been on, however, it was less crowded due to it being a non-smoking ship. I was ecstatic that there was no-smoking on the ship! The crew was extremely friendly, and the rooms were very spacious compared to the NCL. You had 2 closets and plenty of space for storage! My husband and I had M50, which was an outside cabin with an ocean view(towards the front of the ship). My kids and their friends had M44, which was an inside cabin. If you don't like a lot of motion and noise (you could hear anchor going down) I would suggest being in the middle of the ship. We felt a lot of motion and everyone in our party, with the exception of myself got sea-sick even on dramamine!
Food and Dining:
We had the late seating 8:30pm in the Elation room and Ingrid our head waitress was extremely friendly. We purchased soda cards for the teens ($28.00 pp) and we found that the bar waitress was less than efficient bringing the kids their drinks (we had them delivered to them one night after their meal!). Having the late seating was the worst as we often missed shows. The food was good only once, and that was during the formal night. We had lobster and it was wonderful. However, we all agreed that the food in the buffet area was good and we didn't have to wait until 8:30pm to eat. Out of 7 nights on the cruise, we ate at the dining area only 4- we skipped the other formal night as the kids were not keen on dressing up again.
After cruising with NCL where you can dine at 7 different restaurants at anytime, we were in agreement that we would never cruise again on a ship that had assigned seating. Some people might enjoy it, however, for our family it didn't work.
Belize: Our first stop was Belize which was so beautiful! We did the ship's tour to Goff's Caye which was an island in the middle of the ocean! Our family enjoys snorkeling, so we snorkeled and the coral was just breath taking! We went then to Goff's Caye Island and had lunch and enjoyed the sun and water. However, in order to sit on a chair, you have to rent one for $2.00 per chair. The food was reasonable -approx $6.00 for a chicken dinner. We then went to town for some shopping. If you go outside the gates, you can barter and get some great deals!
We hired a guide from reading several cruise reviews named Victor. Victor was there when we docked and had a sign with my name on it waiting for our family. He only charged $20 pp since we had 6 people. He normally only charges $25 pp which is extremely reasonable!
He took us on a tour first of the East side of the Island. We saw sunken ships, breathtaking views atop of a mountain, a fishing village, and took us to an Iguana Farm that was something the kids enjoyed! The cost to get in there is only $5 pp. The iguanas are very tame and you can feed them, pet them or in my case, just take pictures of them! Victor told us a lot about the culture there, and gave us a history lesson on the country. He has never left the country and is very proud of it as well.
We then went to the West end of the island , which by far is the prettiest! The guys wanted to snorkel, so he took them to an area that was great for snorkeling. The girls and I went shopping in the village and got some fantastic deals as the people will barter with you. We ate at the Cannibal Cafe and the food was great!!
The last thing we did was do a Canopy Tour that I highly recommend and feel this was the highlight of the entire tour. It opened up only a few months ago and you are attached to a pulley/harness and zipcord thru the rainforest. It takes approximately 30 minutes and it ends on the Beach. This is definitely a must do if you come to Roatan! Just note.., The cost is $35 pp.
Victor will tailor-make your excursion to what you want to do. I had told him we wanted a tour of the island, snorkel and shop - we got more than we asked for and couldn't have been happier with Victor! He is very honest, proud of his country and enjoyed seeing our faces light up when we saw the beauty around us!
Roatan was our favorite destination of the whole trip! Victor was the reason why. If I ever come back, I will use Victor again!
We booked our tour with: Captain Marvin's which is approx 2 blocks from the dock going to your left when you leave the docks. We have used them before and they took us to (3) different snorkel areas ending up in Stingray Alley. Captain Marvin's costs $34pp for a 3 hour tour. Well worth it since you get (3) stops in all!
A secret when tendering. The Carnival asks that you get tender tickets - don't bother, when they call for #1, immediately go as they don't check your stickers! Otherwise, you can wait up to 2 hours just to get off the boat! Just an fyi....
We did the ship's excursion to: xcaret, which is a 40 minute ferry from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen then a 15 minute bus trip to xcaret. Xcaret is a park which is a combination of a zoo, mayan ruins, dolphin encounter, and resort all in one. I wish we had more time there as it is a 7 hour excursion and that included your travel. I would definitely like to go back and visit there as it was the prettiest park I have ever gone to in my life! My kids went snorkeling, while I laid out and had cabana men bring me drinks! I only wish we had more time to shop as the excursion was so long, we had about an hour to shop once we were back in Cozumel.
All in all, it was a wonderful time, I won't sail with Carnival again, however, we had a great time! Getting off the ship was hassle free and I hope this review helped!!