We sailed for the 2nd time on the Carnival Dream on May 19th. Living in Tampa, FL is only took us a couple hours to drive over to Port Canaveral. We used the Park & Cruise facility which was such a great convenience! We have sailed out of Port Canaveral a few times and never really had any trouble with check-in and boarding but this was the easiest ever. We arrived about 2 and by 2:30 we were aboard - too late to attend the M & G, but still pretty good.
We had a cove balcony stateroom which is our favorite room. Very private and the best place to have breakfast from room service. Our room steward was Ron and he was the greatest. We've had good stewards before but he was the most congenial and helpful We were on the port side of the ship and didn't have any issues with our room, unlike the starboard side.
Nassau was okay. We have been there before and it isn't our favorite. My husband had never been to Atlantis so we did the Discover Atlantis excursion. Getting off and on the ship in Nassau requires that you walk through this huge building full of little shops everywhere. This building is not air conditioned and the walkways are very narrow. I truly hate that building. Coming back on to the ship I had a panic attack and nearly passed out due to the lack of AC and too many people crowded to close together. I was so glad to get back on the ship! When we got back on board our Carnival back pack got mixed up with another Carnival back pack. Ours had 2 cameras, my cell phone, and my glasses. The back pack we got had a couple tubes of lotion and a sweater. My husband was upset but we took the other back pack to Guest Services and told them what happened. For a couple hours I had to wear my sunglasses everywhere, but finally they called to say someone had turned in our back pack. When we picked it up, everything was there, so it turned out okay.
St. Thomas was next. We have been there before and enjoyed it. We did the helmet dive and had a blast. You walk down a ladder and they place a 75 lb helmet on your head that has an air hose attached to it. The water only comes up to your chin and we were even able to keep our glasses on! We have done a lot of snorkeling, but walking around the coral reef with fish all around was amazing! I would recommend this excursion to anyone who enjoys the undersea world.
Dinner every night was great - head waiter wasn't over the top wonderful, but the assistants were really great. The food, as always was very good. We ate in the dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner at different times throughout the cruise and each time we enjoyed it. Eating in The Gathering was very nice, also. The variety of choices was huge and it was always a dilemma. Chocolate was always the order of the day, however. There can never be enough chocolate!
St. Maarten was the star of the cruise! This was our first trip to this island and we were very excited to visit it. What a fabulous place! We absolutely loved it. We did some shopping downtown early since we had a very limited amount of time there. After shopping we took the water taxi back to the dock for our excursion - Scenic Coastal Hike. This is a must-do for anyone physically fit enough to do it. I used a walking stick and it really helped get up and down some of the tough spots. This is a hike up and down the undeveloped "hills" of St. Maarten along a goat trail - really, a goat trail! The goats and sheep were grazing on the hillside. The views of the Caribbean were breathtaking and worth the effort. I have never experienced anything like this hike and, while we have always had pretty good guides on our excursions, Juan and Leigh were so passionate about their tour! They answered every question, gave us plenty of rest breaks to enjoy the views, walked us down onto a rocky beach to enjoy the "singing pebbles", explained the ecological importance of the area, supplied cold drinks at the end of the hike and were all around fantastic guides. I wouldn't mind doing this excursion again the next time we go to St. Maarten and I recommend it to everyone!
We enjoyed this cruise so much that we have booked another for November and the Legend out of Dover in September 2013.
Happy cruising everyone!