Right about now I sould be sitting on the Lido deck, feet up, watching the big screen and thinking, why did I eat all of that. But.....
Here I am at work. The bright side is I have work!!
Now keep in mind that these are my opinions and your feelings about how things should or could be are your opinions...so grain of salt...
The cruise was great. The weather was perfect the whole trip. Jamaica was not the best as far as just visiting the town and looking around. We took the Dunns River falls with a dolphin swim after. Both were great. I ask about it on here and the advice is right on. Just do a excursion from the ship and if you don't want to spend any time on the ship there make it an all day excursion. I don't think I need to go back there and if I did I would not get off the ship. The locals are about the most pushy I have ever had to deal with. One of them followed us from the falls to the dolphin swim because we did not order the DVD the are selling of you climbing the falls. The DVD cost $40 plus all the tips they are pushing you for. They are not bashful not even a little bit. It is about a one hour bus ride to the falls. The way they drive there makes the ride worth half the $165/pp we paid for the excursion.
Grand Cayman was a beautiful Island. The worst part is getting off the ship. The halls were packed up the stairs 2 1/2 floors waiting for the next boat to take you to shore. We took the Stingray City, turtle farm and Hell trip.
This one thing I would change. IMO I could have done without the turtle farm and Hell. The Stingray part is a "not to miss" part of the excursion. The problem was that the Stingray part was the smallest portion of the excursion.
I would do only the stingray part and do it on the catamaran instead of the boat. The cat had about 15 or so people and our boat was stuffed to the gills with about 50 people or more and we got there last and left first. We had about 20 min. in the water out of a 4 1/2 hr. trip. The shops are good for tourist type stuff, t'S cigars, nik-naks and diamonds. I needed only the cigars. By the way the hand rolled ones are not Cuban. Don't be fooled. The line getting back on board was the longest line I have ever stood in in my life! However I was suprised how fast it went. Hint when you get back into the terminal area get a 6 pack of your favorite beer and try to drink it before you get to the entrance to the tenders. It makes the time go faster. And if you don't drink it is fun to watch. I did not have time to go to any beach there and I snorkeled during my stingray trip.
Cozumel, We just did on our own. The shopping area is large and has lots of shops bars and tourist trap stuff. We shopped and then went to Paradise Beach. We paid $14 for two for the taxi. That was a little higher than they said it would be so that was their tip also. One of the shop owners told us that you can go to the public beach like Paradise and then walk down the beach to the others at no extra cost. She was right. You can parasail from almost any of the beaches so if you want that you don't need an excursion to do that. It is about $50/pp.
Getting back on the ship in Cozumel was by far the easiest of all the ports.
Getting on board in Galviston was smooth and easy, no problems there. The ship is not the easiest to get around on. There was alot of "can't get there from here" places. We had cabin 8452 on the back with a nice balcony. really liked it. No soot or smoke from the ships stacks. The only sound you here is the wake, (not engine noise) and on our floor you could here the chairs moving around on the deck above in the adult pool area. Also the location of our room was right by the buffet one floor up from us. This made going to breakfast very handy. I workout while on ship and thought the gym was lacking in the room and equipment area. But who cares about working out anyway.
The food was average to good. The buffet was not that great but the evening meals were pretty good. I'll tell you the chocolate melting cake should be against the law. I am glad they are not because I would have been arrested may times. They had a midnight mexican buffet one night. I was too full from food and drink I did not eat from it but it looked great. The service was great everywhere. I did not get one attitude from anybody. I would change to second seating so I was not so rushed on shore days. The only problem I would then have is being too full late at night so that is a maybe.
The entertainment was average. The shows were not that good but the comedians were great so that's how I got to average.
One of the best bands was always in the casino so if you don't smoke it was hard to sit there long plus the music mixed with the slot machine noise was a little weird.
Finally a warning to people who want to sit out on the Lido deck around the pool. It is a neat place but you have to get up at 7 AM to save a place. People save them with towels. We decided to do that on the last sea day and someone stole our towels. They charge you $22 for them if you if they are not in your cabin at the end of the cruise. Our cabin steward got us new ones so we would not have to pay. He did this because there were witnesses to the theft. I would not depend on that. I really did not like the whole save the chair thing but if you want one you will have to do it.
My overall impression of the cruise was very good. Would have been better with better food and better entertainment. Those things would not stop me from doing it again.
By the way we had a great server SAM and wonderful tablemates Jason & Amanda (newlyweds) in a booth table. The weird thing was they also were in the cabin next to us and that is important on the rear balconys because of the separation wall shape.
Enough for now. Hope it helps to here some of this. Remember it is just my opinion and we know how many of those there are.
Happy and sunburned also 6 pounds heavier(damned Chocolate melt cake)
EB, I enjoyed your review! I was on Conquest a few years back and had a lot of the same compliments and criticisms about the ship and ports. It was fun reading another opinion. FYI - I gained 10 lbs on the Conquest! I think most of it was water weight though And it's always worth it! (Now you've got me wanting some chocolate melting cake...)
Booked on Carnival Freedom, Feb. 2012 (Cozumel, Costa Rica, Panama)
NCL Gem, Sept. 2011
NCL Jewel, Feb. 2011
NCL Dawn, Sept. 2010
NCL Spirit, Feb. 2010
NCL Gem, March 2009
RCCL Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 2008
Carnival Miracle, May 2007
Carnival Conquest, April 2006
Caribbean Princess, Feb. 2005
Welcome back eb! I really enjoyed your review and am glad you had a good cruise. I won't comment on the chair saving towel incident..other than to say it wasn't me that took them by accident..this time. The chocolate melting cake has been my downfall many times as well.
Welcome back, eb! Sounds like an overall successful cruise. Sorry about the food and entertainment. See, if they would have been up to snuff on food, you might have gained 10lbs. instead of 6 I agree wholeheartedly about Jamaica, however, it is such a beautiful island. I wish they could get their locals to realize how much more profitable tourism could be without them being so dang pushy. Maybe they're just trying to keep people from moving there. Grand Cayman is well worth the pain of tendering, but it is a pain. We liked Paradise Beach, but enjoyed Chankanaab more. We also went to the Cozumel Beach Club, which was really nice. Telum and Xel-ha take up all your time there, and you don't get to see much of Cozumel. Get busy booking the next one, it helps ease the debarkation blues and makes work a little less painful.
We will go back sometime but we have a 14 day to Hawaii in October and planning a 2nd Alaska cruise in 2010.
I agree that the food being average worked to my advantage some. The problem was I kept trying more items to see if it got better. I would also say the buckets of beer and chocolte melting cake are to be blamed for 5 of the 6 pounds.
We will try other beaches when we go back but it may be a couple of years before we have time.
My overall experience was very good and I don't have any bad feelings about Carnival because of the food and entertainment quality. It was a great cruise.
A 14 day to Hawaii-fantastic! Are you on Princess? That's one itinerary I would love to try. We did Hawaii by land, but to have all those sea days, I'd be in 7th heaven. Alaska's just too cold for me, can't snorkel there I could really go for some Chocolate Melting cake right now, bucket o' beer doesn't sound bad either.