We arrived in Fort Lauderdale the day prior to our cruise. Stayed at the Four Points Sheraton Cruise/Port which was a 5 minute drive from Port Evergaldes. For a small fee you could book a shuttle to your ship. They also offered a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel.
Arriving at Port Everglades was a smooth process though the port is under renovations. The shuttle dropped us and our luggage at the ship where porters where waiting to greet us and load our luggage onto the ship. The embarkation process was very fast and smooth. Each passenger was required to fill out a questionaire regarding their recent travel overseas due to the Corona Virus. I must say Carnival handled this wonderfully. My boyfriend has MS and uses a walking stick for balance and support. As soon as we entered the terminal he was offered a wheelchair as it's long walk to the ship. We were taken through the boarding process and onto the ship within 15 minutes of arriving at the port. As we're Platinum cruisers we were able to access our room as soon as we boarded. After unpacking our carry-ons and putting our valuables into the safe we were off to get some lunch on the Lido deck. Prior to leaving our cabin Rolan our cabin steward arrived to introduce himself and his partner Diana. Throughout the 8 days on the cruise Rolan and Diana were there day and night to take care of our cabin (twice a day). Anything we requested was provided and questions we had were answered. We were greeted by our names from the moment we boarded the ship and acknowledged by every employee we encountered whether they were passing us in the hallways or helping us in another way. We've been on 15 cruises (all on Carnival) the service was always good but I think Rolan and Diana were the best steward we've ever had.
There were many offerings for lunch, Guy's Burgers, Blue Iguana Cantina and the buffet. There was no lack of food and the lines weren't too long, but your on a ship with thousands of people so you have to expect lines, your on vacation, what's your hurry!
Checked about an hour later to see if our luggage had arrived, I'm not happy until everything is in it's place, then I'm ready to start the vacation. We had an inside cabin on deck 10 (Lido), a good size and all that we needed. The cabin was clean and well taken care of the beds are amazingly comfortable and the bathroom was also in order and clean.
The ship is an older one but is well taken care of. Staff are always cleaning, painting or refinishing something.
We had early dining in the Northern Lights dining room where Team Headwaiter I Wayan, Team Waitress Anastasia and Asst. Team Waitress Gayathri took excellent care of us. We had a table for two and every want and need was provided and more. We were greeted every night as we arrived at our table and even sometimes greeted at the dining room entrance and escorted to our table. I Wayan, Anastasia and Gayathri were I think the best dining room staff we've ever had on our 15 cruises. I'm the first person to bring something that is wrong to the employees attention but there was no need as the food was excellent. Appetizers, main course and dessert were all very tasty, portions were good and presentation was delightful.
After dinner were generally spent our evenings in the casino at the 3 card poker table. Met some very nice people who we ended up spending most of the week with and also ran into 5 pit bosses and dealers we'd had on other cruises. It was an great experience and we both ended coming home winners!
The ports of call were Grand Turk which we had been to many times so opted for a little shopping and a drink at Margaritville, then returned to the ship to grab a spot on Serenity before others return to the ship. La Romana Dominican Replublic was the next stop where we did Extreme Ziplining. I'd recommend this to anyone that is looking for a good time and who is an adventure seeker. 12 runs, well trained staff and a good time had by all. Curacao was a 1pm docking, so we got off and grabbed a drink with some new friends from Colorado got back on the ship had a bite to eat and got ready for our Night Bar excursion. This excursion is excellent, the company that runs it were friendly, efficient and lovable. They took us to 3 bars and a quick tour of Curacao with a free drink at each bar. "27" the last bar was the best and I highly recommend it. Aruba was our last stop and we roamed the town, shopped, stopped for a drink at Iguana Joe's and wandered back to the ship. All of the tours that we took were from Carnival. They maybe a little more expensive but they are safe, well run and they will always make sure you get back to the ship on time or the ship has to wait as it is a Carnival tour. Always make sure you always leave your watch on ship time.
Sea days were always lively, people need to remember your on vacation with 1000's of other people, so don't be a chair hog, if you aren't using a chair don't leave your belongings on it. It was difficult to find a chair even at 9am after breakfast but we did and soaked up the sun. There were always many options for meals, the buffet, Guy's burgers, the Blue Iguana Cantina, Guys Pig and Anchor, Bonsi sushi, Prime Steakhouse to name a few.
Debarkation was a breeze as well, as long as you listened for the zone and deck number they were calling you were off the ship in no time.
Since we were staying another day in Fort Lauderdale we arranged for the same shuttle company to pick us up and bring us back to the Four Points Sheraton. They were right there when we got off the ship and once again we were back at the hotel within 10 minutes.
All in all the weather was great, the ship perfect, the staff the best we've ever had. Hats off to Carnival for a job well done. Already booked for next Frebruary!