This was my first cruise in ten years, and my first with my boyfriend. We are 23, and 26 so we were generally younger than most of the crowd traveling this time of the year. We purchased the cruise to celebrate my graduating college. We ... Read More
This was my first cruise in ten years, and my first with my boyfriend. We are 23, and 26 so we were generally younger than most of the crowd traveling this time of the year. We purchased the cruise to celebrate my graduating college. We definitely think that the price of the cruise definitely reflects the experience; all and all we had a fantastic time.
We flew into Miami via American Airlines (next time we know to just pay more for the transfers and go southwest in and out of Ft. Lauderdale.) We stayed at the Ramada near the hotel, the rooms are nice the rest of the hotel is a little off, very outdated in many areas and the staff is less than professional, however their bar area serves pretty good food. There is nothing around this hotel, so if you are looking to dine or shop this is not a hotel for you.
The ship itself definitely could use some modern decor, however all in all we were very satisfied with our room and the ship as a whole. I see where people say that the ship can be confusing at times, however after the second night you can get around pretty easily, you just need to know which elevators to go on to get to certain locations, such as your dining hall. Our room was near the main glass elevator, which made our travels very convenient. There was just as much noise as anywhere else on a ship; we got lucky with our location, as we did not select a specific room.
Activities on the ship most days seemed more for the older crowd, or the family crowd. However the last day held a ton of activities that we enjoyed. I actually won Miss Carnival Glory, which included a $100 dollar bracelet, I also competed in the Hasbro games show (a must go!), My boyfriend and I also were able to do some walking dead and star wars trivia. The cruise director Dr.E is awesome, and kept all activities interesting for everyone. We really enjoyed the dive in movies, and actually wish that they would have made even more use with the screen.
Service on this ship was above par, our cabin steward remembered our names, was very helpful and having the room cleaned twice a day was fantastic. Our head server Reagan and all of our other servers were great, even though we were probably always the first ones in and out in their sections they were very nice and helpful in explaining our food choices. The cruise director was great, and so was the whole entertainment team.
The excursions were by far the best part of this vacation. At Half Moon Cay we did the stingray adventure which was my favorite of the whole trip, even though it was late January and the water was pretty cold, once you got in you had a blast. I love stingrays and the directors of the excursion were so knowledgeable. For the price of 30 dollars a person, and it only takes an hour of your beach day it is a must do! My only complaint is that I wish I could have swam and fed them even more!
In San Juan we did the Hidden zip line tour, after reading reviews we were worried that it would be to beginner level for us since we have zipped multiple times, but if anything it just allowed us to fully enjoy the zip lining! They even let us tandem zip, which was completely awesome, and were insanely friendly and helpful. We saw massive iguanas while zipping, and even had it rain which was an incredible feeling. This excursion definitely has some hiking aspects and really gets you into the forest, and it was fantastic. The driver to this excursion (though kinda hard to understand) was very funny and informative, and even gave us the option of getting off in the deeper part of old San Juan, which allowed us to see the fortress, which is a must see!
Our last excursion, which was, hands down my boyfriend’s favorite was the kayak, hike, and snorkel in St. Thomas. This excursion was great, and you were moving and learning the whole time. The guides take the time to tell you about the ecological history and information of the area. Being a geologist my boyfriend absolutely loved the blowhole and all the volcanic rock that there was to explore. The hermit crab cove and the snorkeling is great, even though it is shallow. The only downside to this tour is the drive there (kinda scary) and that we wish the snorkeling could have been slightly longer.
Our cabin was great, we really enjoyed being near the elevators, and I think floor 7 is just where you would want to be mid ship. The only complaint I have is that the decor is definitely a little outdated. The interior room was the perfect size for two people. My only beef with the room is that the bed was pretty firm and I had a difficult time sleeping the first few nights.
Dining is where I take of points for the cruise, the dinning room was pretty hit or miss, and the emerald steakhouse wasn't really worth the extra in our opinion. Though it was good, I don't know if it was worth an additional $35 a person. Guys burgers was our favorite dining on the ship, the burgers are awesome! The cantina was also great, and we took serious advantage of the 24/7 soft serve! The ship could definitely use more work on their pastry and dessert aspect. The only dessert besides the soft serve we truly enjoyed was the melting chocolate cake, you cannot go wrong there! Also we got stuck in the late dinning section, which we will not be doing again, I recommend that if you get waitlisted for anytime dinning to switch to early dinning. We were starving and spent a lot of time planning around getting to the dining room at 8:15, we did get lucky and our dinning mates never showed up!
Another issue we have as nonsmokers was the amount of smoking on deck, and on floor five. Which really kind of stinks (literally) because the promenade deck has alchemy bar, which was really cool, and they host most of the trivia on that floor as well. Though this is not completely preventable by the ship, I would like to see if there are ships that are completely smoke free.
Leaving the ship was incredibly easy! Just make sure you are out of your room by 8:15, we chose to do the self assist, which if you are physically able I would recommend, why deal with baggage claim when you can just roll your stuff off yourself. There was slight confusion when finding our transfer to the airport; however once we got connected it was a nice ride to the airport. Though Miami airport is superior to Ft. Lauderdale. You can't beat southwest, and the money you pay for the transfer is equivalent to paying for your bag with American Airlines to fly into Miami (southwest does not fly into Miami, at least from BWI).
All in all we had an incredible trip that we will remember for the rest of our lives, we had a pretty permanent smile on our faces at all time. We will continue to travel carnival, however we would definitely like to test out some other ships within their fleet.