Who we are- We’re from Virginia, I’m 59 and my wife is 56. This was our 20th cruise overall. Our 18th with Carnival and have sailed once with RC and once with Princess. Another couple that are long time friends of ours sailed with us. We took this cruise in celebration of 30 years being married. Overall, this was an excellent cruise, a few negatives, but still give it an A.
Getting there- All uneventful and went perfectly. Arrived at our pre-cruise hotel at 11am and they allowed us to check in. Enjoyed a beautiful day in Tampa down by the Riverfront. Lunch at Ulele’s and drinks later sitting around the pool. Grade A+.
Embarkation- We took the free hotel shuttle to the port and arrived at 10:15. We were dropped off right out front and a porter quickly came to take our bags. Tipped him and straight up the stairs we went. Once there we were immediately directed to the counter to be checked in without waiting at all. After a short wait in the platinum area they announced boarding at 11:15. By 11;30 we had already dropped off luggage in the cabin and was on lido having lunch. Grade A+.
Cabin- As mentioned earlier we were celebrating our 30th anniversary so we booked an aft vista suite, cabin 4228. All I can say is it was amazing! These cabins are definitely as good as everyone says they are. My wife loved the dressing area and vanity and of course that huge balcony. Our friends were in 4230 next door and they spent a lot of time with us out on our balcony. We did not ask them to open the divider but said they would if we went down to GS and signed an agreement form. There are 4 USB ports by the bed for charging. We like our cabin temp to be on the cool side and it kept in between 68 and 70. It had 2 tv’s, one in the bedroom and one in the couch area. We requested twice daily service and our cabin steward was excellent. There is a slight vibration that you will feel throughout the cruise. It didn’t bother us at all as in fact we actually like it. We’ve been in 2470 many times on Conquest class ships so we are very familiar with the vibration of aft cabins. We usually get either a balcony or ocean view cabin so this was the best cabin we have ever had. Grade A++.
Entertainment- The shows are now playlist and I must say that we are not a fan. Went to the first one and did not return to any the rest of the week. Our cruise director was Leigh Xuereb and we thought he was one of the best we have had. We saw four comedians all PG shows except the one R rated that I attended alone. Al Katz, Bob Biggerstaff, and Anthony Scott were very funny. We all thought Cole Parker was way below average. Get there early if you want a seat as it will be SRO. Red Frog Pub was our favorite place to hang out mostly because of the band there Daft Sailors. They were amazing and our favorite band we have sailed with. Sadly lead singer Joel and one of the guitar players contract ends in 3 weeks and will be leaving on vacation. Joel says Carnival will just plug in some new people in their spot and keep on keeping on. We also enjoyed the duo Liz and Lucas. Grade A+.
Food- Have noticed a decline over the years and food on this cruise was not as good as in past cruises. We ate all meals either in the main dining room or in Horatio’s on lido deck. Now granted we didn’t go hungry and we all gained weight but the food certainly could have been better. However, food is subjective and I am sure there are those that thought it was excellent. Grade C.
Ports- Been to them all many times so we didn’t plan anything spectacular to do. Cozumel was Paradise Beach. Belize we stayed on the shnip and hung out in serenity all day. Roatan just stayed on the beach at Mahogany Bay. Grand Cayman we went to Calico Jacks. Grade A.
Chogs- Of course they are always out in full force. You want to be in the sun by the pools or in serenity you need to be out very early. There was some drama the last sea day in serenity. Crew was tagging saved chairs and logging the time to return in 40 minutes. We watched them remove all belongings from 4 chairs right by the pool. Two hours later here come the chogs. One of the chogs went ballistic yelling and demanding to speak to an officer. One did arrive and he continued his loud rant making quite the scene. He yells that those were his chairs and that they had been sitting kin them all week. He did not win the argument and eventually stormed off flailing his arms in disgust. Chogs always get a grade of F.
Weather- Virtually perfect all week. We arrived in Roatan to 2 hours of rain but then cleared off to a nice sunny day. Also encountered about a 45 minute shower the last sea day. The entire rest of the cruise was beautiful, hot, and sunny. Grade A+.
Passengers- It was a spring break week so there were over 1000 teenagers and kids on the ship. They were everywhere but we never saw them being unruly. They were well behaved. Most all of the other passengers were friendly and having a good time. Grade A.
Debarkation- One of the easiest ever. They want you out of the cabins by 8:30 so we vacated ours at 7:45 and went up to lido for our last meal on the ship. Then we just hung out in serenity till they made last call for passengers. We had our own luggage and easily walked down and off the ship. Saw only 8 more passengers come off behind us. An easy shuttle for $8/ea to the airport and we were out of there. Grade A+.
In conclusion this was an awesome cruise that we did not want to end. While food quality to us has declined we still love the Carnival product and will be sailing them again.