As a family, we have been on 32 cruises, with 8 of those on Carnival. We have sailed on Holland America, Costa, Royal Caribbean, Princess and MSC. This cruise was a 5-day Western Caribbean Cruise departing from Tampa. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn Westshore. It was a very nice hotel with friendly staff. It is within walking distance from the International Mall and Total Wine and More. They offer a free shuttle to the malls in the area if you don’t want to walk to them. They have a shuttle that takes you to the cruise terminal for $10 each.
Embarkation: Boarding the ship was very quick and stress-free. We were onboard the ship eating lunch by 12:30.
We had the best spot on the whole ship to see the ship pass under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. We were on the deck where the Carnival Tail is. It was amazing.
Ship: I had low expectations for this ship because of its age and all the negative reviews. The ship is getting run-down in some areas. The dining rooms, the main show lounge and the fitness centre/spa were in the best shape. I thought the atrium was pretty all lit up at night with all the colours and orange lights. The one atrium elevator was broken though. After reading previous reviews, I learned it has been broken since March. LOL. The pools on the lido deck were not big enough to accommodate all the passengers. The slide went directly into the main pool and everyone squished into the one side of the pool so they wouldn’t get run over by a kid flying down the slide. The pool at the back was less crowded but the Carnival Tail sprayed soot onto the deck. I used the gym frequently during the cruise. They had fairly new Life Fitness machines with built-in TV’s. I thought the Carnival Hub App was neat. Someone kept changing the weather temperature to -1 and snow which I thought was funny being from Canada.
Cabin: We had a window ocean view cabin on the Main Deck (Deck 5). Our cabin was spacious because we asked for the beds to be separated and they put them in an L shape. The only complaint I have about the cabin was the amount of dust everywhere. Our room steward was efficient but wasn’t very friendly.
Food: Areas of the buffet such as the deli, pizza, hamburgers, and omelette stations were very good. I didn’t eat much of the buffet food because people were not using the tongs and were just digging in and putting food back that they didn't want. I thought dinner food was hit or miss. Some of it was good, while other dishes looked like the chef got lazy and just microwaved left-overs from the previous cruise. I love the desserts and the chocolate melting cake is a favourite of mine. The waiters were attentive but would always make a comment if you didn’t like something. I always enjoy the singing and dancing waiters. Carnival would not be the same without singing and dancing waiters. LOL. We ordered room service once and the warm chocolate chip cookies were amazing.
We also went to the “Tea Time” on both sea days. The first one was very good and the chocolate cake was delicious. The second sea day was stale left-overs from the first one but the cheese cake was still good though.
Entertainment: Carnival always has good entertainment. The production shows on this ship were very good. The singers and dancers are very talented. My favorite was Epic Rock out of the three shows we saw. We went to see both comedians. James Johann was funny. The other comedian, which I don’t remember what his name was, just picked random people from the audience and had them sing songs on stage. Group 6 sounded amazing and they sang a mixture of songs. We went to both the Havana Nights Deck Party and The Mega Deck Party. Both deck parties were fun and high-energy. Watching fellow passengers attempt to do the “Wobble” is always a highlight. There was lots of different activities happening throughout the ship during the sea days
Ports: Our original itinerary was Roatan and Cozumel. They announced they were switching the stop in Roatan to Grand Cayman because of Hurricane Harvey and they didn’t want to risk getting stuck in it. I liked Grand Cayman in the past and we hadn’t been there in years so I was excited to go back. It was cloudy and rained all day in Grand Cayman but very humid. We took the $2 public bus to 7-mile beach. It was nice, even in the rain.
In Cozumel, we went to Paradise Beach. It has a large pool and a beach with water sports and large floats. If you spend $10 at the bar or on food they don’t charge you for the use of the beach, pool, chairs, or WIFI. I think it was $18 for the Fun Pass for the Water Sports and floats.
Disembarkation: We did the walk-off with your luggage debarkation. We always find the staff during disembarkation are mean and are always yelling at everyone. You don’t dare stop for two seconds to tie your shoe. This time was one of the best disembarkations we have done in 32 cruises. The staff were friendly and were welcoming everyone back with a smile. Ended the cruise on a high note for sure.
If you are planning to rent- -a-car after the cruise there is an Avis Car Rental that is within walking distance from the port. It is across from the Amelia Arena. We had our car and were on the road within half an hour. Just a useful tip.
I would sail this ship again after the refurbishment. I would rate my overall experience a 3.5. I had a good time and would sail Carnival again just not this particular ship until it is cleaned up.
Cabin was a window ocean view on deck 5. It was right across from the mid-ship elevators. It was spacious when the beds were separated. It was very dusty though and needed a good vacuum.
Stayed at Fairfield Westgrove. Took hotel shuttle to the cruise port.
Quick embarkation. Staff were friendly. We were onboard by 12:30.
Roatan was changed to Grand Caymen. It is a nice spot. We went to 7 mile beach and took the $2 public bus.