April 22, 2000
Background Info - I'm Linda, 43, and I've been on 8 cruises before this. My daughter, Danielle, who is 13, has been on 7. My father, in his late 60s, also came along. He was on 6 cruises before this one.
We flew down the day before and stayed at the Sheraton Biscayne Bay Hotel. It is very nice but my father wished they would have had a coffee shop instead of just the restaurant. However, we found a Coffee Beanery across the street and even had breakfast there the next morning. Our room had a view of the cruise ships which we really enjoyed.
We took a cab to the ship rather than use the transfers. It just seemed more convenient to leave whenever we were ready. Since we were able to do our cruise check in at the hotel, we were able to walk right on the ship when we arrived at the pier. We were in our cabin by 12:45. After a quick look around, my father had to go to the welcome aboard buffet and my daughter and I just relaxed for a while.
Our cabin was category 8A, midship, on the port side. It was a good location. We really enjoy the balcony and are now too spoiled to go without one. We were assigned to the Paris Dining Room, main sitting. I went down to the dining room to check out our table assignment. It was a table for 8 in the center of the room. I asked if we could change tables to be nearer a window...they were able to put us at a table of our own just a few feet from a window. Our waiter was Christian from Trinidad and our assistant waiter was Thomaslav from Croatia. Both were very friendly and attentive. The food was also very good and we fully enjoyed our dining experiences. Besides dinner, we also ate a few breakfasts and lunches in the dining room. (Breakfast was open seating which I appreciated since we had early seating.) Our other meals were in the South Beach Club...either the buffet, Chinese, pizza or the Grille. It was nice to have so many options.
The shows were also good. I enjoy the production shows and all the other entertainment. Corey Schmidt was the cruise director and I thought he did a fine job. I really enjoyed his exotic bird show.
Our first port was Cozumel. We had decided to go to Chankanaab Park and had made arrangements over the internet for my daughter to swim with the dolphins. When we got to the park, I checked in at the Dolphin Discovery area and found out that her name was not on the list to swim that day. I asserted that we had booked and paid for the swim in February and if there was a problem, she should check further. She called her office and even had me get on the phone with them. After waiting a while, (maybe an hour?), they finally apologized for the error and made room for her at the 12:00 swim. All in all, it was worth the wait. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the photos and video they take are also great. It was well worth the money. I highly recommend swimming with the dolphins. I would suggest that if you book over the internet, you should probably confirm your reservation a week or so before you go to avoid what happened with us. Other than the dolphins, Chankanaab Park has many other things to do. We walked through the archaeological area and took a quick swim. Unfortunately, we didn't get to the botanical gardens.
In Grand Cayman, we took the Mermaid Party Boat. I hadn't heard much about this excursion prior to going but it turned out to be a lot of fun. The boat had 3 decks...the bottom deck with glass bottom sections, the top deck was open and the middle deck had the bar, tables and chairs, music and a ‘dance floor'. The rum punch was available as soon as you got aboard. We went to Seven Mile Beach where we had time to swim and on the return trip really had a party on the boat. My daughter even won the limbo contest!
In Ocho Rios, we took the Cool Runnings excursion to Dunn's River Falls. We had been to the falls before by bus and decided we would go by boat this time. My father swam at the beach while my daughter and I did the climb. It's a beautiful spot and we enjoyed it. Since we weren't going anywhere else on the island, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to buy my Blue Mountain Coffee. When we returned from the excursion, I went to the building at the pier and found 3 small shops....not a lot of choices, but I was able to buy my souvenirs from Jamaica.
Back on board, we had one more day at sea. I enjoy taking the dance classes, shopping and the entertainment. My daughter spent much of her time working on her tan with the friends she met the first night at the teen get-together. They've been e-mailing each other since we got back. My father just enjoys relaxing....and the casino! Although we each had different experiences, we all enjoyed the Carnival Triumph. We have already made plans to sail the Southern Caribbean on the Carnival Destiny next year!