by Pamela Myers
January 25, 2004
I have been waiting to write my review for 18 months. That how long this trip has been planned. It is long but I hope it will be helpful to future cruiser as your reveiws have been for me.
We left 5 inches of snow in Columbus Ohio on Sat 24 before the cruise, first time I have flown since 9/11. Big changes, but did just fine. We stayed at the Radisson on Biscayne Blvd. Great! We went to the Bayside Market via the people mover(free) but took the hotel shuttle($1 per person) back to hotel.
The room was to die for two of the wall were all windows over looking the bay. King size bed, down pillows and comforter, I felt like a VIP. The hotel also had a shuttle to the port ($4. per person)
We went to the port at 11:00 am got there by 11:15 and was on our ship by 12:30. This was our first cruise the ship is fantasic. Just like the pictures of seen.
We were upgraded from Rivera deck to Upper an inside cabin. It suited us just fine. Plenty of closet space. I really like the one closet was made to hang long gowns very nice. I also liked the free use of the safe. I used my AAA card it worked just fine. We met our stewart Amick first thing and shook his hand, he was great, we saw him twice a day, they work so hard. Anything I need he got. Our luggage came before dinner. I told Amick, he was my new best friend. We got the lay of the ship and started eating (ha!) that's all you do. We,( we traveled with 32 people from my church adults only this time) walked around and stood up on deck to get a view of the bay. The crew did push the drinks and pictures, but we just said no thanks and that was that.
The muster drill could have made me sick and clostrophobic but it didn't last too long. If you aren't tall it could make you feel closed in. I'm 5'8" so that only bothered me a little.
Anything you want and as much as you want.
Dinner was something else, we had the sweetest little girl, her name is Patcharee, but she likes to be called Lilly, we were so fond of her that everyone in our group that had her gave her extra tips. She remembered how I liked my steaks, and how my husband likes two containers of dressing. She made our trip and she has only been working for Carnival for two months. Her helper didn't have much personallity, but maybe she was new too. But she worked hard also. You could have anything you wanted and if you wanted two you got it. She always wanted to make sure we liked our meal. If you added up all the meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner, 24 hr. pizza, mid-night buffet, and ice cream and room service for two it would have totaled at least $1000 for 7 days. I thought the food we ate was top notch. I'm not going into detail about every meal, but we were a group of 32 and had nothing but praise for the food.
They were good also, I especially liked how the comedian had a PG show and then they told you in advance that they also did a late night R show. There were 3 men they were really great. Two dance shows and a magic show. Wonderful.
Our CD Steve Castell was nice and a very talented juggler. They had bingo every day a little pricey $20 a game but lots of people participate.
They did alot of games during the day. Sorry to say after the first night of trivia, which I love, I quit going. The young lady in charge was being heckled by a man who had too much to drink, it was hard for anyone in the crowd to have fun. But at one point she nicely went over and put masking tape over his mouth, the whole place applauded. There was something truly for everyone. My husband did what he wanted and I baked in the beautiful sun.
Ports of Call:
San Juan, St. Martin, and St. Thomas
San Juan was a wasted stop, we all felt with all the history that could have been experience, we missed it because of the late time 5:00 pm. Also it was very dirty and we felt unsafe and we were traveling in a pack. You would think it would benefit the city as far as tourist money to come earlier.
St. Martin was beautiful, the shops, what bargains. the further you walked the cheaper things got. The water was gorgous. The venders really need to learn the work no. But I'm sure that's how they make a living. but beware, if you act like your interested they will swarm you like a hungry animal.
St. Thomas, was beautiful too. The bargain weren't as good as St. Martin. All three stops had a great amount of poverty, which really broke your heart.
This was a trip of a lifetime for us, we have been married for 27 years and this was the first trip without kids. Speaking of kids there weren't more than 150 kids on board if that many, and the ones there I thought were well behaved. A great time if you would rather be with mostly adults. There is something for everyone. Good music can be found everywhere, I especially loved the classical piano music in the lobby. I was surprised that there was no country music though.
I only had a couple of things ore this trio would be perfect but it was so close that I'm almost afraid to try another but I'm afraid I'm hook.
1. I only came across two people not pleasant but rude. One was at the excursion desk and the other was at the casino, okay so I just wanted play nickels and she wouldn't take my pennies. Then I need to cash a traveler check for some extra tip money and I got the same unpleasant girl.
2. The excursions, don't to it. They are overpriced.and buyers beware of the wording on the Carnival excursions..read the fine print. We only took one,(first cruise and limited budget) so we choose the best one for us. Trip to Mageans Bay and Paradise Point $35. NO water mat, no snorkel gear, and no tram ride. All we got a very expensive taxi ride. I wasn't the only one upset, there was four taxi-vans full that we not happy. At St. Thomas there is a Taxi commission that sets the fares for the rides and someone needs to give it to Carnival. I went to the desk and told them I felt cheated and why. The 1st Purser(title on his badge) heard me and tried to tell my the the tram ride was included and I just didn't give my ticket to the right person. He said he even heard the tour person and I just didn't do something right with my ticket. Then he read the description of the tour, yes it was nothing more than a taxi ride. I just about cried, and I told him how wonderful my first cruise had been but I was disapointed in Carnival for taking advantage of a new cruiser who trusted Carnival to giv eme the best for my money. The next day a received a letter from the person in charge of excursions with an apology and coupons for photo and he thank me for my input. I bet that poor cab driver didn't get much of that $35. But this didn't ruin my trip, but next time I will do my homework.
We weren't in any hurry because we were staying an extra day. The rest of our group took their own bags and left early. After everyone had their turn we were off the ship by 11:00. What a zoo though after you left the ship. Our luggage wasn't too are to find. But next time I'll invest in a bigger suitcase.
I hope this review is helpful. I had a great time! Thankyou CruiseMates for all your education. I know I was better prepared because of you.
Pamela S. Myers