This is my first post. I have been using this site for years to do research and it’s much appreciated. Here’s my two cents on my most recent cruise.
We chose this cruise for our ten year anniversary trip. We liked the itinerary and the six days worked well for our schedule.
We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day prior and stayed at the Renaissance Hotel. We have stayed here before cruises in the past. It’s a nice clean hotel and is right at the entrance to the port so it’s a very short taxi ride.
We left the hotel around noon and were on the ship within about 30 minutes. Smooth embarkation. We are not the type to be the first people on board the ship and I think this helps as we have not waited in lines for the last several cruises.
Half Moon Cay was our favorite stop. We slept in and hopped on a tender after the crowds died down. This beach is beautiful. We found two chairs pretty easily and spent a few hours in the water. The water is crystal clear and the beach is some of the nicest sand you will find. Carnival has done a great job with this island. The one big complaint is getting back on the ship. We went back to the tender about an hour and a half before the all aboard time and found an extremely long line. We waited in line for well over an hour before getting onto a tender. I know there’s only so many tenders, but standing in the blaring sun for that long is a real downer after a great day. Carnival needs to at least put up some shades along the long path people line up on.
Next stop was Amber Cove. We booked the Terracross Off-road Adventure through Carnival. Melvin our tour guide did a great job and this was an enjoyable excursion. We are experienced off-roaders and I will admit there was times it was a little annoying when stuck behind a first timer. But I knew that from reading the reviews. I give this excursion 4 out of 5 stars. One thing to note at this stop is that it didn’t seem like there was anything to walk to other than the typical cruise shops.
Last port was Grand Turk. We had been to this port once in the past and was aware of the decent beach and areas right off the ship. We booked a cabana through Carnival at the Margaritaville pool. This was a nice relaxing day. The cabana was nice with cold A/C and a comfortable couch. Service was good and the food and drinks were just ok. Typical of these type of places.
We had late dining, which we prefer. The only issue is that you miss most of the shows. We don’t mind as we don’t really care to go to them anyway. Our waiters were the best we’ve ever had.
We absolutely loved the layout of this ship and what it had to offer. By far our favorite yet. We spent a lot of time on deck 5 and found ourselves in the Redfrog Pub often. Naomi is an amazing acoustic performer, and she is often in there performing.
This cruise had an interesting crowd for some reason. We have been on several Carnival cruises and expect to see all different classes on board. This cruise was particularly low. I can’t quite figure it out. I know Carnival has no control over who pays to take their cruises. There was several occasions where my time was disturbed by disrespectful people. There was a very loud cabin above us. It sounded like they were letting their kid jump off the bed repeatedly. A couple nights this continued after midnight. Then there was a cabin two doors down from us. They partied in their cabin with loud music and numerous people several nights. I’ve never understood partying in a small balcony cabin. There is so many places on a ship that you could have completely to yourself if that’s what you’re looking for. I saw security there at least once, and that was nice to see actually. I have also never smelled so much marijuana on a cruise. We have smelled it on probably every cruise we have ever taken, but this seemed to be everywhere.
Then there was the announcements. We love to sleep in on our cruises. Especially when we get the chance to leave our son at home. I don’t think sleeping until 10am is unreasonable on a vacation. For some reason the cruise director, Simon, loved to make announcements at 9am. Although they are in the hallway, they are impossible to sleep through. Carnival loves using their loudspeakers. It’s often to tell you something that 90% of the cruisers don’t care about.
On night 3 or 4 we were woken by two announcements about ten minutes apart over the loudspeakers in the hallway at 4am. They were announcing a persons name and asking he call guest services. Then about fifteen minutes later they did it again two more times. This time they blasted it through the speakers in every room in the ship. I can only imagine these poor people that had kids sleeping. I understand someone was probably worried about someone, but come on Carnival. This is unacceptable. We all know the guy is passed out drunk somewhere or is in someone else’s room having fun. There was no reason for this.
Overall all, I had some serious disappointments with this trip but we still had a great time. This was our 10th cruise. 8 on Carnival, 2 on Princess. We are at a point that we intend on cruising twice a year, as we did this year. Unfortunately, I need a break from Carnival. I was really looking forward to getting that platinum status in the next few years. I’m afraid my wife is set on being religious Princess cruisers after this. We shall see, perhaps we return down the road