Embarkation went very quickly. We arrived at the terminal around 1 for a 1:30 arrival time, dropped off family and luggage (you can use right two lanes for drop-off at Galveston terminal). Took about 20 minutes to park at the port lot and return. We were on the ship before 2. Room and S&S cards were ready. Headed up to 10 and found that Cuchina del Capitano was still open for pasta lunch, practically no one was there. We got 1/2 portions of pasta and was excellent.
Muster drill was about 3:45 and lasted around 15 minutes. Went onto the promenade to see the departure from the harbor and to watch people feed the birds on the way out. Galveston is a busy harbor and we saw ships around us until late into the evening.
We chose Your Time Dining and headed to Sapphire at 6, no waiting. Oscar was our headwaiter and was really high-energy and attentive. We asked for him every evening we at in the Sapphire and had only one evening without him (a group of 17 was just seated with him before we arrived that night).
Kids went to Circle C at 8 for the icebreaker. If you have kids in Circle C or Club O2, make sure they go that first night.
We had private drivers in Roatan and Cozumel, not booked through Carnival. This is well worth the money as they tailor the schedule to fit what you want to see. It was great not to be tied to the schedule of the slowest person in a group of 30 and we could adapt the schedule/stops on the fly. I think we ended up spending less money and had a better time than the organized excursions. We used Bodden Tours in Roatan and Tours Plaza in Cozumel. Ask for Ronald in Roatan and Leo in Cozumel - they won't steer you wrong!
We snorkeled in West Bay on Roatan and Sky Reef in Cozumel. For novice snorkelers like us, this was perfect. West Bay was almost empty the day we went - some beach vendors but not overly pushy. I think the Breeze was the only ship in port that day. It rained hard early which may have put some people off of going to the beach. Sky Reef had less coral but more fish than West Bay. Did the zip lining at Bodden's place on Roatan, appeared very safe and we had a blast.
We didn't get off the ship in Belize because the tenders and buses or water taxis would eat up too much of the time. Plus it was nice having a down day between Roatan and Cozumel on a quieter ship.
We chose a later debarkation since we were not in a big hurry to depart. Picked zone 27 and were in the last group off the ship at around 10:30. Plenty of room on deck 5 to sit while we waited. It took a little over an hour to go from deck 5 to being on the road. Tip: if you park in the port lots, go east beyond the terminal entrance, make a loop, then head west on Harborside and turn right into the terminal for pick up. I did this by accident but it was one of those favorable mistakes.
Hits: The staff! Front-line staff like room stewards and MDR waiters were very outgoing and contributed a lot to the experience. Our room steward (Korn) and MDR waiter (Oscar) in particular deserve a shout-out for their excellent service. They remembered all four of our names right away and never failed to call us by name when they saw us - I don't know how they do it with new people week after week. I don't know if we hit things just right or what, but we waited very little for much of anything. Only one evening we waited for Sapphire for 20 minutes, rest of the time it was 0-5 minutes. Seaday brunches were excellent.
Misses: Some of the food. I had a strip steak in the MDR for the extra $20 one evening. Can't fault the preparation but the quality of the meat was only fair. Your average steak from a chain restaurant like Outback is better. Based on this I would not spend the extra money for the Fahrenheit 555 experience. The Lido buffets were not all that appetizing either, and the lasagna at Cuchina del Capitano missed with sliced beef instead of ground beef. The mousse-style desserts had more of a tofu consistency. Even so, we managed to find enough good food to eat to satisfy us.
Overall we loved the ship and the experience and the misses we had with some of the food wasn't nearly enough to put us off cruising again. We're already looking forward to our next trip!
The cove balcony was perfect for us. We liked being closer to the water and being shielded from the sun most of the time. Some salt spray up onto the balcony at times depending on the wind but not a big deal.
Embarkation was speedy. Lines kept moving and we were on the ship inside of an hour from arrival, including time to park the van and return on the shuttle.
Booked a van with Tours Plaza and had Leo for our driver. Saw many highlights of the city and the south half of the island. Make sure you go to the east size to see the beaches. Though they were seaweed-covered that day still very pretty.View All 92 Island Tour Reviews
Sky Reef has a great spot for novice snorkelers and very tasty food at their restaurant. Lots of fish not far off the beach.View All 485 Snorkeling Reviews
Ronald from Bodden Tours gave us a great tour of the island. Spoke excellent English and gave us a lot of history of the island. He's very proud of the island and works very hard to give guests a great experience. Ask for him when you book with Bodden!View All 259 Island Tour Reviews
Took a little time to find where the fish were. As you face the water, go to the left side nearer the rock formation. Great for novices like us.View All 345 Snorkeling Reviews
Son and I had a great time. Very safe, had 10 separate zip line runs. Part of Bodden Tours and Victor's Monkey Business.View All 193 Ziplining Reviews