Second Mate

Hometown: Chicago
Joined: 02/09/2014
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About IslandGrl

I am a forty something single cruiser!!! I love traveling and seeing and experiencing new things. I don't let the fact that I am alone stop me from going places and having fun. If you see me on a ship sitting alone, please don't feel sorry for me. I am having the time of my life. I didn't take my first cruise until I was 38 years old, but I always knew that I would love cruising. It's in my blood. The very thing that people complain about cruising, I love. I'm new to Cruiseline and will be uploading some photos soon.



IslandGrl's Past Cruises

Norwegian Getaway

August 2015 - Norwegian Getaway to Caribbean - Eastern

Carnival Freedom

April 2015 - Carnival Freedom to Caribbean - Western

Galveston on the Freedom! I might think twice next time.....or not!

This was my fifth carnival cruise and 1st cruise out of Galveston.  I think the feel and vibe of the Texas Cruise was a lot different.  I felt that Florida cruises are a little more of a party atmosphere.  I also felt IMO that the Texas cruise was a little less culturally and racially diverse.  Even the comedian made a joke about it.  I felt there was a little catering to Texans.  For example there was a country singer in the Red Frog Pub EVERY night.  The Freedom is a nice ship. I could see areas where it is definitely aging and needed some small repairs.  I'm not into decor, so to me it didn't look any different than the Liberty. This ship has the 2.0 upgrade, which means it has the Guy Burgers, and Blue Iguana which I love.

There were plenty of trivia and dance classes etc.I felt entertainment was great.  The Playlist productions were awesome.  I really enjoyed the 80's to the Max and the Getaway Island Shows.  The standard Hairy Chest Contest and Love and Marriage game were hilarious and always fun to watch. Also the Big Screen movies were new DVD releases. There was something for everyone. I saw Guardians of the Galaxy and Big Hero 6.  We had plenty of popcorn and warm blankets, which made it more fun.  I was charged $20 for bingo, which I didn't play.  I was given the run around and it took 40 minutes for the charge to be removed. Also my balcony was cleaned on the last sea day without notification.  Other than that, I have no other complaints.

PORT AND SHORE EXCURSIONS:                                                                                                                                                                                The weather was perfect!!! :)      Cozumel: Awesome!       I did the Sea Trek Helmet Belize:    Awesome!!      I did the Alta Hun and River Wallace TourHonduras - Amazing!!!    I did the Dolphin Encounter at  Anthony's Key

CABIN:                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Balcony 8348.  The cabin was clean and roomy. Although the mattress was not very comfortable the pillow were great. I could hear some noise from the Lido Deck.  The noise didn't disturb me too much, but I'm not a light sleeper. 

DINING:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I ate in the MDR 4 out of 7 nights.  The food was good and so was the service.  I actually prefer the buffet.  All the food was really good, especially Guy's Burger.  I had brunch on a sea day and it was the best.  I ate alone and enjoyed my quiet time. 

DISEMBARKATION AND EMBARKATION:                                                                                                                                                                        A breeze..... I had FTTF (faster to the fun) it took me only 15-20 minutes to get on and off the ship.  I did self-assist meaning; I carried my own bags off the ship.  I heard some people waited 2 hours to get on board.  Until I make platinum I will always get FTTF.

Overall a good cruise.  I'm glad I tried a different homeport this time.  I think I will continue to sail Carnival and try different US homeports to see if there is any difference.  I do understand the itineraries; time of year can also contribute to the feel and vibe. So I'm open to trying them all. 

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Carnival Ecstasy

June 2014 - Carnival Ecstasy to Caribbean

Carnival Liberty

April 2014 - Carnival Liberty to Caribbean - Eastern

Overall A Great Cruise!

Overall not many complaints.  I purchased the faster to the fun so my check in was very fast and smooth.  I basically got off the shuttle and pretty much walked right on the ship.  I checked in late so my luggage had not made it to my cabin.  By the time I returned from guest services to complain my luggage was at my door.   I had a balcony on the 8th deck.  My cabin was clean and very roomy.  There was lots of storage.  There was a slight odor the first night.  I don't know if I got used to it or it was taken care of.  Also, the bed was not very comfortable so my steward keep adding padding until it was to my liking :)  Every morning and night my room was cleaned immaculately. The bed was turned down with chocolate and a cute towel animal.  This was my first solo cruise and as a woman it was important for me to feel safe and comfortable with my steward.  My steward (Ida Borgarus) was wonderful.  


The food on the Liberty was for the most part delicious.  I ate in the main dining room 4 out of the 7 nights.  The dinner buffet on the Lido Deck was hit or miss.  Most nights it was a miss.  Lunch was much better.  Guy's burgers were very good ( a little greasy) but still really good.  I really like the Mongolian Wok and obvious everyone else because the lines were very long. Breakfast on the Lido deck in my opinion was always very good.  


The entertainment on the Liberty was outstanding thanks to the wonderful cruise director Brittany and her trusty assistant Wally.  The Lido parties and games were so much fun.  Because I was cruising solo, I pretty much did every activity except for bingo.  The dance classes were so much fun.  Karaoke was an absolute joy thanks to Kim (Karaoke King). I never really got around to going to the Hot and Cool Disco.  It was always very empty and boring.  I  guess it was too early.  


The ports were beautiful.  I went to Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk. Getting on and off the ship was smooth.  The security on this ship was much nicer and polite than the security on the Valor.  I purchased my excursions before I cruised.  I'm glad I did.  That was just one thing less for me to worry about.  All of the excursions were good except for the Coast to Coast in Grand Turk. There just isn't much to see in Grand Turk.  I didn't do  an excursion in Nassau.  I hoped on the ferry for 8 bucks and walked around Paradise Island.  I did St. Johns in St. Thomas, Walking Tour in San Juan and an additional excursions in Grand Turk the Gibbs Cay Stingray Encounter (amazing)! 


My biggest complaints with Carnival are the smoking when you walk thru the promenade deck and in Karaoke and the millions of kids that are allowed to run amuck. If it weren’t for the rude, out of order kids running everywhere this cruise would have a five. Even with the wild kids and smoking overall this was a great cruise!!

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Carnival Valor

August 2013 - Carnival Valor to Caribbean - Southern

Very Good

I really enjoyed the itenerary on this cruise.  All the ports were beautiful and so much to do.  I enjoyed eating in the dining room.  All the food was very good.  Some days I liked the Lido Deck food more than the dining room.  Because the itinerary was so jam packed I didn't spend much time exploring the ship.

I had an Ocean Suite and my mom and sister had a Grand Suite.  Both cabins were amazing.  There were granite tops and flat screen TV in both rooms.  The closet space was unbelievable.  


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Majesty of the Seas

July 2012 - Majesty of the Seas to Caribbean - Bahamas

Radiance of the Seas

February 2010 - Radiance of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Not What I Expected!!

I had so much fun on my 1st Cruise (Carnival) that I decided to take another.  Most people have so much negative things to say about Carnival that I decided to take  a Royal Caribbean Cruise.  I was very disappointed.  The food was not good at all. Coming back from the port.  All the food in the Windjammers was horrible.   There was never anything good to eat there.  The fries were always cold and hard.  People would be so hungry they were trying scrabble for any morsel they could find.  The staff was so rude.  It so bad that they would literally pull food trays as people were trying to get food.  The MDR was not much better.  My room was small and cramped.  You could hear every sound outside and next door.  I was glad to get back home.  

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Carnival Fascination

February 2009 - Carnival Fascination to Caribbean - Bahamas

Wonderful 1st Cruise

This was my first cruise and it was amazing!!!  The food was delicious and there was always something fun to do. I had a ocean view cabin and was shocked at how big it was.  The beds were so comfortable. The service was definitely five star.  My only complaint was the debarkation process.  It was a nightmare.  There were people everywhere trying to get off the boat and not following the procedure.  Nothing was said to make the process run more smoothly.  

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IslandGrl's Tips

Cozumel, Mexico - I've been to Cozumel many times. It's still a nice port.
Galveston, Texas - The wait to get on the ship was 2 hours. I'm glad that I had Faster to the Fun.
Belize City, Belize - This is a tender port. I enjoyed the tender ride. I enjoyed visiting this country and learning about it's culture, history, and nature.
Carnival Freedom Carnival Freedom - It seems like no one knows about the fish and chips. The food was delicious and there was never a line.
Carnival Fascination Carnival Fascination - Avoid the mad dash to the Lido deck for that last breakfast and have breakfast in the calm atmosphere of the MDR.
Carnival Valor Carnival Valor - To avoid long lines try to arrive to the ship about an hour before the ship leaves
Carnival Live Concert - I did enjoy Jennifer Hudson. Don't pay for the VIP. If you are willing to stand in line you can get the same great seats.
Carnival Ecstasy Carnival Ecstasy - Here's a tip for the Carnival Live Concert- You don't really need to pay for the expensive VIP seats. If you are willing to stand in line you can get the same great seats. There were people with VIP seats sitting right next to me! The ship's theater is small and every seat is good
San Juan, Puerto Rico - This port is great for stocking up on water and other items. There is a CVS in waling distance. There are many good places to eat and shop. You really don't need to purchase a tour. You could really sightsee on your own. I did the Walking Tour. It was ok. Not sure if I would recommend this tour but the port is amazing.
Grand Turk Island - Not much to see in Grand Turk. I would only recommend visiting the beach.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas - I went to St. Johns Trunk Bay Beach. It was amazing. The water is so clear you can see fish swimming around in waist deep water.
Nassau, Bahamas - I did the ferry for $8 round trip. I didn't see much other than Atlantis Resort Lobby and shopping areas.
Carnival Liberty Carnival Liberty - Get up early on "at sea days" and enjoy the Sea Day Brunch in the Silver Dining Room. It was so worth it. You can always get back in bed and nap on a full tummy. Try the adults only pool and hot tub. I also ate breakfast and lunch there in that area. Emile's was always so crowded.

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shared a quick tip for Carnival Freedom"It seems like no one knows about the fish and chips. The food was delicious and there was never a line."

reviewed their Caribbean - Western cruise on Carnival Freedom and gave it 3 stars!

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reviewed their Caribbean - Western cruise on Radiance of the Seas and gave it 2 stars!