We have not been on Carnival in many years, and I booked this because the date fit our needs and NCL didn't have anything with this exact date.
This was the ship's 3rd trip out since Covid. The staff are still learning the ship, learning their jobs, but all were happy to be back. Masks were required and for the most part worn. We sometimes forgot to put them on when getting up from eating, but always had them with us to slide on when we realize our error. Very few kids on the ship, due to restrictions on number of passengers without vaccination. No kids camp activities, but the kids were not in anyone's way, other than some being in the hot tubs with no parents.
The layout makes you feel like it's a maze with certain things on certain decks only accessible from a specific staircase or elevator area.
Pizza place on Deck 10 aft was great, he had an awesome sense of humor about a bunch of drunks getting pizza at 2am.
Loved our unique cabin layout and will look for one like that on future cruises. Our room steward decorated the cabin for us on our anniversary day, including writing 'Happy Anniversary' on the big mirror. :)
Overall we met some really awesome people and had a lot of fun on our first post-covid cruise.
5 out of 5
They had multiple stations, each with a simple task. The first checked our Vaccination and Covid tests against our ID. The 2nd was the standard TSA style bag scan and metal detector. They checked our vaccine cards at multiple stations though. Husband decided to just have his on a lanyard, LOL. We had specific appointment and the port building was NOT crowded. very efficient process, we walked right onto the ship.
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
Buffet was OK. same standard stuff. 24 hour pizza place was addictive. Guy's Burger joint on the Lido deck was amazing! Main dining room was fun, with a bunch of the servers dressing up and dancing in unison to a fun song. We did not visit any specialty restaurants on this trip, but did get the steak from the steakhouse served to us in the main dining room. The 9oz filet was absolutely divine.
3 out of 5
Pools were a bit smaller than expected, and there were limited hot tubs so even with ship a little over half capacity, both of the pools and all of the hot tubs were still packed. They had fun mini golf at the top of the ship, and movie nights by the pool were cool. Loved the water slides! Water was not freezing cold and the slides were fast. No line because barely any kids on board.
5 out of 5
Excellent staff at the bar here. Cherry and Jenny kept our drinks full all week!
We did not go to any of the stage shows on this trip.
Kids are old enough to drink with us, so no need for children's programming.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
The bar staff, waiters, room stewards were always smiling (or at least, appeared to be behind their masks) and learned our names and preferences quickly. They seemed very happy to be back on the ships. The wifi went down around day 3, then the Hub app chat went down. No ATM service, no credit card processing while it was down. Guest services refunded our full wifi pkg price and the Hub App chat cost without argument, and left it active for if/when the wifi came back (we were dark for Wed and some of Thurs if I remember right).
3 out of 5
Everything was clean and we saw crew members constantly cleaning all the time. The design of the ship was terrible though. You can't walk from one end of the ship to the other, without going up or down one floor every time you get to an elevator area. The MDR is in the middle of the ship so you have to go around 2 floors of it to get from aft to front.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
Our cabin was next to an emergency staircase, and had a long hall with 4 closets (woohoo) before reaching the bed area. The foot area of the bed faced the balcony, and it had a large window as well as a longer than normal balcony. Good size TV with ship cams and cruise activity scheduling along with some limited TV and on demand choices. USB ports above the bed were a welcome surprise. Shower was nice and HOT, with great water pressure and an adjustable head.
Be ready to walk lots of stairs to get around and find things.
The locals were very happy to have a ship in port and to sell us their stuff. Jamaica was very strict on their rules, masks on both indoors and outdoors. Security was walking around everywhere and they kept track of who came from the ship and who went back. I kinda felt bad for the locals because they were being watched so closely. There were temperature scanners in several doorways and if you scanned hot, you couldn't go into the store. They had the port/tourism area roped off, and if we were not on an approved excursion, we were not allowed beyond the Margaritaville shops. There's a starbucks in the shopping area, and there were a couple of fun street entertainers with tip boxes, that we and several others tipped in.
long walk off the pier, and when you arrive you have to either rent a golf cart for $60 for the day (fun!) or hire a cab to get to the shopping/beach areas. Carnival sold excursions to some of the beaches, but other passengers who paid for those told me the free beach and free beach chairs were literally 10 feet away from their 'paid' ones, which would be frustrating. We chose to take a taxi for $5 each to the Radio Beach area, and enjoyed a free beach. The Food vendor at Radio Beach had huge and VERY fresh fried shrimp available that husband enjoyed thoroughly. There was a vendor kind of hidden behind the little 'shopping' area of tshirts and keychains. They had bottled tropical flavored rum drinks for $10 each. VERY strong and delicious. Happy we found them.
4 out of 5
The face recognition was broken at disembarkation, so they had to manually scan each person off the ship. Normally we would be shoo-ed off before 8:30am, but the last muster stations (ours) were not called until 10am and nothing on the ship was open other than the buffet.. The line was fine, but long.
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