The embarkation went incredibly smoothly. We were there at our specified time and walked through the metal detectors and upstairs to the ship. Since we did not have our room key I turned around to the processing area but they said I was pre-registered on the internet and everything was fine. We found our room key in the mailbox. This was incredibly quick and the fastest I have every got on the ship in 15+ cruises. We got there at 1:30 so the room was already made up and ready for us. I did note the cabin steward immediately appeared to verify the correct people were in the room. This ship has a new feature where you need to put in your room key to turn on the lights and I noted several times the cabin steward must be aware when the room key has been placed in the slot so he knows the room is occupied.
Our first port was the Cayman Islands. It was a short water taxi ride to the pier. The free Wi-Fi at the pier was barely usable but I did manage to reach a few sites. The Duty Free store had an extremely powerful Wi-Fi signal which led only to their site and my phone continually grabbed their signal over the free one. We went to the seven mile beach which is highly recommended in other reviews. We found numerous vendors with glossy place cards recommending 7 mile Beach at the pier. Apparently all of them go to the Royal Palm Beach Resort. The taxi turned out to be a minivan holding about a dozen people. Our vendor flagged down one of these minivan after a short wait and we got there to pay the $2 admission chart to the beach. We found the beach filled with chairs that state it's a $12 rental fee and $15 for umbrella. Undeterred, we walked down the beach and found an open area to place our beach towel at no charge. The free internet was unusable for me and the bartenders were not attentive so I was never able to get a beer dispute being seated at the bar. On the positive side, they provided cold water and showers with a clean restroom. It was an enjoyable beach and we spent many hours there. Our ship was leaving in the early afternoon so a group of us got into the nearest taxi cab next to the entrance. The taxi immediately filled up with only two spots next the driver left. The driver place plastic sheets on all the seats so it was hot and sticky. We were parked right next to the exit so we thought would leave immediately. As our group sat in the hot minivan the driver would show up about every 8 minutes claiming she needed to fill it up. This was not true as the taxi was right at the exit and she could have gotten anybody to fill up the van. After about 25 minutes this short older taxi driver virtually had a revolt on her hands with us yelling out the windows we needed to get to our ship. Finally she relented and took up without any additional passengers. It was frustrating to watch other taxi drivers take their occupancy to the ship immediately without this long delay. I don’t understand why the Royal Palm Beach Resort allows one taxi driver to block their exit for twenty minutes while she apparently takes a break.
Our next port was Honduras and as we pulled up to the port and could see Mahogany beach within walking distance. Mahogany beach was excessively crowded as another Carnival ship was already there. All the spots on the beach were taken but we managed to place our blankets near the woods and make the best of this stop. They had a $5 all day internet service, which once you paid for it, flashed and incomprehensible code that you needed to remember. Fortunately they had a technician at the pier that quickly retrieve my code and I was able to use it all day. If you are going to use that service bring a pen and paper or stop at the internet store near the pier. They had a chair lift that would take you to the beach, however if not much faster than walking so we did not pay the $12 for the all day ticket.
Our next stop was Belize. This is a 5 mile water tender drive on shallow boats so this can be fairly bumpy. The Belizepier is nice and locals cannot get to it so you don't get the begging. We walked around outside the pier to sight see and the minute I opened up my wallet to buy something ,the beggars appeared. We return to the pier where the internet was decent and they were a few good bars too give a nice break from the ship.
Finally we stopped at Cozumel there were seven ships in port so it was busy. We went on the dolphin excursion with free food and drinks. The dolphins were enjoyable and the drinks were nice. The transportation was by local cabs so it was pretty much at your own leisure when you came back. This was booked through carnival and was certainly enjoyable. I did not see any Internet in the pier or at the bars.
We chose an inside room on Lido deck as we use our room for sleepy only. This is a great deck as you're close to the pools and dining In fact, our TV did not work but it didn't bother us. We recently traveled on a much larger cruise ship so I was concerned that the downsizing to a smaller ship would have been noticeable. However, we were always entertained despite the smaller size. We like the food especially at these specialty restaurants, for example the Italian restaurant is free during the day and the food was very good. The formal dinners had a nice variety with only the breakfast buffet stayed the same. The guy burgers are certainly delicious. The entertainment was lively and they must have brought in a few extra singers for the rock show as that was very entertaining. We do get tired of the amount of recorded background music at each of the shows, and the fact that most shows are a whole bunch of songs that unrelated but Carnival was able to get the rights to them.
As usual you need to bring a power strip into your room as there are very few outlets and everybody needs to charge their cell phones. We also bring along a night light as we have interior room.
I noticed the room steward and the dining staff that went out of their way to use your name.
If there was any downsize to the cruise it was the very large ships cruising nowadays fill up the ports with a large number of people for only a few hours and leads to overloaded facilities. The ship itself did not seem overloaded except for the lines at a few of the buffets.
Carnival has a nice cell phone app called Carnival hub which allows you to text your friends on the ship and learn about all events and importantly check your balance so you don't get a big surprise bill the last day
Carnival has a soda pop program, bubbles, which allows unlimited soda drinks. However, you must get it at a bar and they pour warm pop into a glass of ice. Other cruise lines have a pop machine which yields better tasting pop and you do not have to get a bartenders attention.
The disembarkation went smoothly as we carried our luggage off the ship and the lines were long but did move fast. This was a “budget” cruise as as many of the passengers were from Florida taking advantage of the reasonable price. Overall, we are planning our next cruise with another Carnival ship!