We like to cruise every year my family Husband and two teenage boys. This was our 5th cruise and our second on Carnival.
We flew to New Orleans and stayed at the Four Points Sharaton located in the French Quarter ( not recomemended for families as it is located on Bourbon St in the middle of the French Quarter and the Kids will not enjoy the experience. Young Adults who love to party will love it.
The cruise from New Orleans was a nice change from other cruises as the first part of the cruise we were able to sit on the Balcony and watched the river it was nice to not be out to sea until well after sunset. Again on the return trip watching the lights along the river was relaxing well worth the balcony.
The Embarkation was quick and pain less from the hotel check out to the Lido deck was approx. 30 minutes total. We checked out at 1055 and we were on board at the Buffett by 1130.
Dining we were assigned the Upper Golden dining room
First off our servers in the dinning room were excellent. Sunu, Myat and Tangkas were friendly and quite fun we enjoyed conversations and had a great time with them. The dancing during table service was fun.
However, I do not like the set dining times. I tried to get My time dining and was on a wait list and had the late dining. This is my biggest complaint for Carnival.
They seem to try to co-ordinate shows for the various dining times however, I feel I miss something when I have the late dinning times and there is one show. You really have to look at the Fun Times to get the best of everything.
I did not have very many hot meals warm but not Hot. The meals were delicious. Soups were usually hot but not the main courses. When you are feeding 1500 people between two dining rooms at one time that can be challenging.
The Sea day Brunch was well used on this particular cruise. Line ups when ever we attended. The service was slower but I didn't have to fight the crowds at the buffett. (TIP) Check the Fun Times for the days the dining room is open on Port days there are far fewer people these days in the dining room as most don't realize it is open.
The Kids programs
My kids were engaged and I rarely saw them one was with the Circle C group and the other was with the O2 and both were gone off to the activites and did not come looking for me what so ever. I was usually in bed before they were. They both loved the cruise.
On the first day a parent needs to check them in we did not realize that you could sign them in earlier in the day, and the sign in was at 830 and our dining was at 815 in the middle of our dining time. Our kids rarely ate with us other then the one manditory dinner I make them have with me. The clubs break for dinner if you have an early dining time it works out for you, me not so much.
We were able to get to one show the Motown it was excellent I have seen this production on another ship and it was still a good show. If you like Motown you will enjoy the show.
The Comedy club
This seemed to be a hit. It was a packed room every night for the late show at 10:00. We made the 11:15 show once and we made the pg show with our kids at 7:00 a few times. There were four different Comedians and we saw all four they were great.
The Sing along with Cassidy-Rae
She will be leaving the ship in a couple weeks so If you have the chance go into the Cinn-o-bar and sing along. Cassidy-Rae will try to full fill your requests. She downloaded the song Beth by Kiss listened for a short amount of time and was able to play the song and did an awesome job. Impressive how she is able to figure out the cords and play as quickly as she did.
The Art Auctions
I enjoy the Art auctions it is entertaing during the day. If anything go for the Champagne. Jade the Auctioneer and his team were excellent he did try to put everyone's request up for bidding. He spent a few minutes describing different pieces and moved along quickly as possibe. He did not completly focus on one artist which was nice.
I did not attend the presentations as I had seen the Peter Max and Thomas Kinkade presentations on previous cruises and I was not interested.
The Team were quite attentative during a discusion Kayla had picked up that I liked a certain artist and dug deep into the vault to pull out a picture that would not normally have come out on the floor. Which was nice to see they appreciate the cruisers and don't put what they want out on the floor. If you are looking for an artist be sure to ask this team they will find what you are looking for.
Ports Montego bay; Grand Cayman; Cozumel
Montego Bay there is nothing immediately off the ship. It is quite a walk to the downtown and the beach with the Markets. We decided to do an excursion through the ship as I wasn't sure if I would be left behind with the relaxed Jamaican attitude. Carnival will not leave you if you if you book through them there was a tour who came back late and the ship waited.
River rafting and Beach Adventure.
The River rafting was excellent had a great time not too physical. be sure to bring along some money to purchase drinks along the way. The Beach portion of the tour, I could have done without. We went to the Hard Rock Cafe Beach it was small and you had to pay extra for the use of chairs and umbrellas on the beach. It was a very small beach and a lot of Jelly fish were in that day. Good thing the beach visit was only an hour.
Lots of shopping right off the ship. We shopped till we dropped and enjoyed the day.
Again shops right off the ship. I have been to Cozumel before and should have done an exucursion here this time, to enjoy myself. And since this is a popular port with 6 ships in port. Excursions will book up. If you like the markets in Mexico then it wasn't a bad day. Other then it was soooo hot. but, you can't control Mother Nature.
Carnival Hub App
This is a great way to quickly look up where to eat and the activites of the day. You can track your spending and book excursions. There is also a chat between cruisers for $5 per device. I do recommend downloading the App.
(TIP) Read the Fun Times as well. As not all activities are on the App.
For example The App stated check in to the Camp Ocean was at various times however, this was also for the older groups as well and I would not have had to go during dinner. I didn't know it referred to all the Kids Clubs. And some repetitive activites are not always on the App. They are getting better with the App and I suspect Carnival will go paperless soon however, it still needs some work.
I avoided the Casino and activies near the casino as much as possible since it is the primary smoking area and I don't not enjoy the smell of smoke. Which is hard to do since it is in the middle of the ship. I found there were some ignorant smokers who were smoking practically everywhere. If you can believe one guy was smoking in the elevator. Another on the balcony. The ventilation on the 5th floor is not great and you do smell smoke around the Casino. Most portraits are in this area and I did not wish to be in Elegant dress and walk through smoke.
We had a late flight and wanted the latest possible time off. We enjoyed breakfast in the dinning room and waited up on the Lido deck until they called our number. The line moved with little wait and the whole process was less than 15 minutes.
TIP: Pack a sweater/jacket as the air conditioning works very well on this ship. I often went outside to warm up.
All and all my family and I enjoyed our vacation and will cruise again.
Our cabin was not ready until about 2:00pm however, there is a lot to explore and relax while waiting the luggage was quick and was at our cabin by 2:00.
We had a Balcony cabin and there was a bank of three drawers and two closets for hanging as well as a shelved closet. I always travel with a hanging cube to add additional space to our storage and there was more storage than the newer ships I have traveled on.
On our first day the shower drain was slow and we had water everywhere. After placing a call to guest services a plumber arrived within the hour and pulled the hair clog it seemed to be ok for the rest of our cruise however, I think it may have been starting to slow again at the end and either the people following us or the next cruise will need to phone guest yet again. It is an older ship and these things do happen. They were quick to solve the problem which was great.
New Orleans French Quarter was fun.
We stayed at the Four Points Sheraton French Quarter on Bourbon St. I don't recomend staying anywhere on Bourbon St. if you are travelling with minors. They will not enjoy themselves the party atmosphere is out of this world. I myself enjoyed it however, my teenagers did not enjoy themselves.
Cafe De Mond is a must go it serves the best Beignets.
The French Quarter is easy to walk and the party attmosphere is unbelievable. We didn't have much time to explore other areas of the city. for the most part it was a fun port.
The bus ride was crazy however,I wasn't as frighted as the first time I experienced Jamaica Troy and Tomoia were awesome. At the start of the rafting there are concession stands to sell water beer sunscreen bug spray, at inflated prices. $3 for water. Bug spray is suggested as you are in the Jungle. You do leave your belongings on the bus as you do not return to the site. The river rafting gave a quick safety briefing and you were on your way. Our guide Riccardo was awesome he picked fresh coconuts and made bamboo straws for us. We stopped to swing on the rope swing some participated others watched. If you wanted to jump in you were encouraged. We also stopped along the way to purchase beer at a local bar. At the end of the rafting we enjoyed a snack of Jerk chicken and the best bread I have ever tasted. After we were all back fed and on the bus we traveled to The Hard rock Cafe I could have done without this part. As you had to pay extra for the use of a beach chair and Umbrella the beach was small. I'm not a beach goer so I was not impressed with the Beach.View All 25 River Rafting Reviews
Many high end shops a great day shopping very enjoyabe to just to wonder around. No one pressuring you to come look at my shop.
If you enjoy the markets of Mexico you will enjoy Cozumel. I personnally will book an excursion the next time I visit Cozumel. There really was nothing in the markets that was a must see for me.
There are several shops and bars close to the dock and you can easily walk around and shop.