August 14, 2006
We arrived in Tampa the day before and rented a car to take up to the beach in St. Petersburg. This was terrific and since we arrived before 1 pm the day before, it worked out perfect for us.
The next day we found the Carnival representatives in the airport (we booked transfers to the pier) and waited a bit. It was very smooth going through to get on the ship and we were on by 2 pm. We found our room- we had booked the inside guarantee and got room U17, with 2 portholes. It's small but worked fine for the two of us. I could see it being really uncomfortable if we had 3 people though!
We ate on the Lido deck. It was okay. This was the only meal we ate here. We ate in the dining room for every dinner (which I highly recommend!). We finally had some company for dinner on our 3rd night- our booth held 6 but we were alone until then. Our waiter was Leroy and his assistant was Wini. Both gentlemen were terrific and made sure we had everything we needed or wanted. The food was great too- we always had plenty and did 2 desserts, 2 appetizers, etc. Not a problem at all! We did wear nice clothes every night too though our tablemates wore jeans each night. We did see people in shorts and a lady in a bikini top at night as well.
Our room steward was Diego and we saw him in the hall often and he was very pleasant.
We booked our first excursion to Grand Cayman on our own, through Captain Marvin. We were supposed to be there by 9 with the ship arriving at 7 but we were still in the long line in the hallway at 9:20. This was probably the worst moment of our trip, waiting on the stairs with hundreds of others. There's got to be a better system for this. It's such a short time there as is and the tendering took forever. We ran to the tour and they saw the ship and waited for us. It was a great tour, but short, and I would recommend it. We went snorkeling and to see the stingrays.
We booked through Carnival for our Cozumel excursion. We did the clear kayak/snorkel trip. While the trip itself was very good the price was quite steep, I thought. I think I'd do this on my own next time. And this time, the ship was right at the pier and we got off quickly.
The ship was in good shape. We didn't gamble at all and had just a few drinks. The captain's party is a must- free drinks just flowed! We ate breakfast at the Brassiere most of the time and took it out on the deck. The pizza is good too! We didn't do the subs though it looked excellent.
I was disappointed in the pools. I would love to see a bigger, deeper pool. Also the two I did go in are salt water- I'm not sure if any of them are fresh water. The 3rd pool was never opened.
We did do 2 shows- the fire gauchos and the Inspiration dancers. Both were good. We also saw two comedians. Each of these comedians only were on stage for about 30 minutes. It seemed very short.
We had a late flight back and they said for people not to wait in the hallways to disembark. When we came back from breakfast about 7:45 obviously this was ignored as there were hundreds on the stairs again. Gosh, we thought we were going to Grand Cayman again! We pushed through them to go back to our stateroom and waited about 15 minutes until they called for self assist. Then we went and didn't have to wait very long at all.
Overall, we loved this trip. I was ready to come home though. (we left our small boys with grandparents) If you have any questions feel free to email me!