This was a 6 night cruise which sailed from Ft. Lauderdale to half moon cay, Grand Turk and Amber Cove. This was our first carnival cruise only sailing with Norwegian previously. To start the first views of the ship from the outside compared to the others at the port was somewhat disappointing. It was absolutely the worst appearing cruise ship out of the other 4. Large amounts of rust was noted throughout the ship and below anchor. It did not have much of a wow factor.
Cabin: We had a balcony room on the 9th floor. The room was nice, beds slept great. I appreciated the bathroom seemed a little larger than a previous cruise I had been on. I requested a fan and one was delivered to the room the first evening. Our stateroom steward was great. Overall we really enjoyed our cabin.
Food & Drinks: Overall the food was great. The downside however pretty much any place you went had long lines. I had sailed on a Norwegian cruise before and enjoyed the several sit down dining options that came with your fare. I was unaware that carnival mainly has walk up dining. With the only sit down dining being the main dining rooms (2) I was really excited to eat at the Mongolian Wok thinking it was a sit down restaurant to only find it was a walk up place. Guys burger, guys pig and anchor, blue iguanna cantina, and the main dining rooms all had really great food. I however wasn't too impressed with the Lido marketplace. Food was bland and wasn't very many options compared to the buffet of a Norwegian cruise. We purchased the soda package but found it hard to get our moneys worth as you had to wait in the bar lines to get soda since there weren't any drink options at the walk up food places. So you would end up waiting in 2 separate lines for food and drinks. I also was somewhat surprised that our prepaid gratuities didn't go towards alcohol purchases.
Ship Fun: The ship has 2 very very small pools under 5 feet deep. For a ship with a capacity of 3690 guests it was just inadequate. There are around 6-8 hot tubs throughout the ship which you could usually get space in. Numerous sun chairs throughout ship but it still was hard to find 2 together due to the amount of people the ship can hold. The 2 water slides, ropes course, and serenity deck (adults only) stayed closed for 4 out of 6 days of our cruise due to high winds. We finally made it up to the serenity deck on the last sea day of our cruise. It was a very nice change from the hustle and bustle of the Lido deck. Theres also a bar with little wait time. Movie night was probably our most favorite ship activity. We ended watching 3 movies on the lido deck. Good movie choices and they will provide you with blankets to use.
1. Half moon cay: was absolutely beautiful No dock, must water shuttle over. Water was crystal clear, white sand beach. Plenty of chairs and floating mats. Would recommend to anyone who is able to walk furthest down the beach you can and it will be much less crowded than where you get on the island. The island BBQ is free and the food provided was decent. We would absolutely go back to this port.
2. Grand Turk: Again crystal clear waters. There was another ship at dock when we arrived and between the two ships the cruise port was extremely crowded. Chairs are stacked one ontop of the other. The chairs and umbrellas are supposed to be free but locals will harass you to pay for them. We became frustrated and took our beach stuff back to the ship and opted to do a island tour instead. The island tour was 25 bucks a person and lasted about 90 mins. We enjoyed it. Went to a small market near the ocean and the island lighthouse. It was much slower pace and relaxed than the port. I will not visit this port again due to the crowded beach.
3. Amber cove: waters are not clear. There is no beach that we could find but has a very large pool. We purchases a shore excursion which took us 20 minutes up the mountain and we zip lined and rode horses. The zip lining was amazing, I believe it was 7 different ziplines with the last one being the longest in the Dominican Republic. The staff was very friendly and we had a blast. The horseback riding was fun as well. Most of us in the group was first time riders and all of the horses are extremely well behaved. Dominican Republic has a very jungle/ jurassic park feel. It was amazing and we would love to go back.
Overall the ship is in much need of a renovation. The carpet is outdated, some hallways smell bad. Theres rust everywhere on the outside of the ship. Theres also rust lines on the big TV screen above the lido deck. The lights along the railings are unsightly with wires visible wires running the railings. I would think they could do something better to hide them or put decorative covers over the lights. This and the lines/crowdedness of the ship is the main reason I gave this cruise a lower score.