My name is Melody and I have a serious love for cruising. For this fall sailing, I chose the Western Caribbean Carnival cruise for my daughter and I as my first Florida resident discounted cruise since moving here. The price was right and the ports included: Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Mahogany Bay, Honduras; Cozumel, Mexico; and Belize City, Belize.
It has been several years since I have cruised with Carnival, but the length of days for the price and itinerary were the deciding factors. On the day of check in, after dropping our things in our stateroom, we headed out for lunch. Carnival has paired with Food Network Star Guy Fieri to create ‘Guy’s Burger Joint’ restaurant located on the lido decks of their ships. This may be one of the best decisions ever for a cruise line! The service, the food, and the perfect portions were cleverly thought out. The menu offers five choices of burgers (one even made with a woven bacon patty on top) and they are served with hand cut fries. A toppings bar allows you to dress your burger as you choose, complete with sautéed mushrooms, onions, chipotle mayo, and all the traditional fixings. Even though the food was prepared fresh, there was practically no waiting in line and the results were delicious food and happy cruisers.
The buffet did not offer many choices, but there were great side dishes and baked potatoes to choose from daily, as well as healthy salad bar options. We tried the Sunday brunch in the Platinum Dining Room, which was a nice choice. I had the huevos rancheros and cheesy grits. If you are an iced tea drinker, make sure to have it in the dining rooms, as it is better quality than the tea they serve in the buffet and lido deck. The saving grace for delicious breakfast and another great lunch option is the Blue Iguana Cantina. There, you select your meat, flavor tortilla shell, and all the other add-ins (tomatoes, rice, black beans, refried beans, queso, sour cream, guacamole, etc.) and they do the rest. For breakfast, they add eggs, turkey bacon, and potatoes, as well as feature a breakfast tostada, which was scrumptious. The fixings bar for the cantina contains different salsas, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and more. Make sure to try the watermelon jicama salsa; delicious!
Trivia was generally held at a small bar beside the casino, which I felt was a perfect, central location. We participated in the following trivias: general, 70’s music trivia, name the song, super trivia, and history. Needless to say, we brought home 7 plastic ship on a stick awards. Winning. On a technology note, if you need to purchase WI-FI, there are several options, but we chose 240 minutes for $89. Other great things to do on this cruise were: visiting the EA Sports Bar, Dive-In Movies, Camel Club Casino, The Punchliner Comedy Club, Hasbro the Game Show, Twister Waterslide, karaoke, and the Serenity Adults Only Retreat, which offered the best hot tubs on the boat.
Our stateroom was typical for an inside room, but this ship had the most comfortable beds I have ever experienced on a cruise. Our room had plenty of storage from drawers, to a full closet for hanging goods and another with shelves. A third closet held our suitcases. Carnival should rethink the bedside tables that have a lamp built in the middle, which leaves basically no room for any books or electronic devices.
Another great cruise under my belt and a big thumbs up for Carnival for doing a great job, and making me a believer once again. Carnival Corporation owns 11 individual cruise line brands: AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Holland America, Cunard, Ibero Cruises, P&O Cruises, P&O Cruises Australia, Seabourne Cruise Line, Carnival Cruises, and my favorite, Princess Cruises. Statistics say that in 2011, Carnival Corporation controlled 49.2% of the total worldwide cruise market. How is that for staying power?
Tip: Look for Mr. Potato Head and the Folded Towel Animal to have your pictures made with.
Tip: Buy a Cuban cigar at port and enjoy smoking in the designated area on the ship.
Where is your favorite place to cruise? What is your dream cruise? Do you have a favorite cruise line and why? I would love to hear from you.
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