This is our 8th Carnival cruise and it was probably the best yet.
Embarkation was quick and easy. Arrived at 11 and was on ship by 11:30, even though had arrival appointment for 12-12:30 . Just have your ID ready along with your boarding passes to be scanned. Carnival holds the safety briefing inside in different areas of the ship, including the dining rooms, lounges and the main show room. It will depend on your assigned muster station. It is mandatory, they will scan at least one person's sail and sign card from each room but will ask where each member of your storeroom is and if they are visibly present, then their name will simply be electronically checked off. They will call out names of people who have not been accounted for until they show up, then they begin the briefing. The briefing itself went quickly. We watched sail away from deck 9 foward in a semi-secret location (see photo).
We stayed in room 9216 which is a adjoining room but never had any issues with noise, however our balcony divider had to be wedged with a plastic bottle one very windy night as it was constantly banging. Our room steward Christian and his team were great, they cleaned our room once a day as we requested. We had the option of once or twice daily cleaning but chose only mornings. Christian was available pretty much all day so if we ever needed anything we just asked. We requested a daily filled icebucket which he never forgot. Never smelled any sewage as mentioned in other reviews on this floor, just cleaning products. I never noticed any issues with the ship itself, the crew was constantly cleaning and maintaining her thru out the cruise.
We ate breakfast at the northern lights restaurant 3 times and it was very good, the buffet wasn't bad either for breakfast. Lunch mainly consisted of Guy's burgers - they are so good and usually look for our cruises based on whether the ship has a Guy's burger joint on it or not! We had downloaded the Carnival app and used it to request a table for supper because we had YTD and by the time we got to the restaurant our table was always ready. Our service team Rodren, Aarron and Richard were great, they delivered excellent service and set a high standard. They were in a section that included table 119 where we sat at or near. The app will assign you a random table so each night when when we got to the restaurant we always requested to sit in their section, which was usually accommodated. On the last night, there were no tables available in that section and were seated in a different section. Rodren and his team set a high standard so we had high expectations. The service was lacking in this other section we were sat in. It took forever to get bread or water and they never even gave us menus yet when they finally showed up they asked us what we wanted. Good thing the Carnival app shows the menus because we made our choices that way while we were waiting to be acknowledged.
Entertainment was led by the Cruise Director Leigh, who was full of high energy and funny. He was probably the best CD I have every seen, the music trivia with DJ CUE was outstanding . We went to the 88 keys, America rocks and Flick shows held at the showtime theater, all were pretty good. There was one technical difficulty at one show which was quickly resolved. The best show was John Heald's marriage show that had us laughing from start to finish. The comedy club was also very good with Michael Lebovitz and Edgar Rivera, the PG and 18 + shows are basically the same except for profanity used at the later shows. We were disappointed that there were only a few nights of comedy shows as on other cruises they had them practically every night. On this cruise if you went on the first night it was a repeat the next show.
Our first stop was Half Moon Cay which is a tender port, the wife and nephew had a early shore excursion and I was able to tender to with them even though I didn't have an excursion which I was happy about. We met at one of the restaurants with all the other excursions and were on the first tender out. I left them at the shore excursion kiosk on the island, grabbed all the gear and headed to the far end of the beach which is quieter and less crowded. The buffet on island was burgers, chicken and assorted salads. We left at around 3 pm and there was a line up, but found that the wait was for people taking so long washing their feet of sand at beginning of the line. There is 2 washing stations but people were only using one so go around to the other side it's much quicker.
Grand Turk was our next stop. We got there at around 11 am and the Carnival Pride was also in port. They got there earlier. We booked Gibbs Cay Sting Ray Adventure thru Carnival. We again met at a restaurant and were first off the ship. By the time we got to Gibbs Cay the rays had eaten already and were not as plentiful because the Carnival pride had already been there. However we did manage to get photos with a ray. The snorkeling wasn't that great, thre arent much fish there, we have seen better. They caught fresh conch and showed us how it is taken out of the shell and we had a chance to sample a piece. There are a lot of the conch that is not as edible and that is what is fed to the rays. The excursion ended with rum punch on board only, then ended down the beach by the ship at the Reef Shark Bar and Grill where we were provided with complementary chairs, umbrellas and free shuttle back to the port. We could have walked down the beach but chose the 2 minute ride. We ate some of their food which was very good. We could have went back on the ship to eat then return to the beach but it's always good to sample the local cuisine. I believe this particular bar and grill are affiliated with Carnival, the property is big and seems to be growing.
Amber Cove was our last port. We booked Damajagua waterfalls thru Ismael taxi tours. Technically it's 27 waterfalls but we only did 12, which was plenty. Because Ismael taxi is not a Carnival affiliated excursion, we had to walk 15 minutes to a meeting point outside of the port walls where we met Ishmaet at 9 am. It was a 30 minute ride down a main highway to get there. We had a wonderful day of sliding and jumping down the falls. We also were provided with a lunch which was very good. We left the falls by 1:30 and had plenty of time left to shop in port. We had to get back on the ship by 3:30.
Disembarkation was quick and easy. Because we had an early flight, we received a letter in our stateroom with attached luggage tags #3 if we chose to have our bags waiting for us when we disembarked. We chose to do so and waited in the showroom and were instructed us at 8:30 that we could leave, even though our # wasn't called. We were thru customs and in taxi to airport in less then 30 minutes.
Overall a great experience and I am looking forward to next year where we are considering the Magic once again.
Quite room at end of hall
Out of shuttle and on ship in 30 minutes
1 1/2 informative island bike ride
Sting rays shy but got pictures beach day with chairs,umbrellas and shuttle back to port
12 waterfalls great day with meal