My wife and I booked the 4-day trip to the Bahamas for our first ever cruise. The boarding process was very simple and easy. We arrived a little after 10:30 because we weren't sure how long the process would take or how the parking situation would be. It took us less than 15 minutes to go through everything. They started boarding the ship at 11:30. We were directed to the Lido deck where we had lunch from the buffet. We had the burger and it was alright, better than expected.
We went to our room at 1:15 and it was ready, even though they said 1:30. My wife's luggage came soon, while I had to wait until around 5:00 for mine. We went to the Plaza Lounge for our muster drill that seemed very boring. They took everybody out to the lifeboats and it was very hot and crowded. We did not leave at 4:30 like the schedule said because of a "technical difficulty." We watched the Freedom of the Seas and the Disney Dream sail off while we sat in port. We finally left port around 7:30.
Room: We chose the "fun saver" option to get a locked in, lower priced room but where Carnival picks the room for you. We had an oceanview state room at the Aft. The view from our room was the wake behind the ship. We loved it. We could feel the ship moving more in our room than other places on the ship, but it wasn't that bad. The last day was the worst at feeling it but I believe that had more to do with choppy waters from the storm.
We saw the "Welcome Aboard" show and enjoyed it. The comedians were great each night in the Plaza Lounge, Jim Brick is hilarious. The "Curves" show wasn't that great, disappointed. The "Far From Over" show on the last night was an 80's-themed music/dance show and was amazing. The sports trivia in the Touch of Class Lounge was absolutely terrible. Everybody in there was ripping on the questions and answers. We also caught one karaoke session and had a lot of fun. The casino was fun, we are sort of new to gambling, so we tried our hands at some slots and blackjack. The lady working the computer-based blackjack table was super nice and very helpful to us. We also hit up the Kaleidoscope night club one night and it was funny watching people trying to dance. It never seemed crowded walking by every night.
The buffet was OK. The breakfast grill was pretty good, though I would avoid the eggs. We tried the "Off the Grill" section for burgers, hot dogs, fries, and chickent strips. The chicken strips were the best. The lines were too long to try the Mongolian Wok. The Caribbean Grill on tuesday had excellent jerk chicken and pork. The pizza left a lot to be desired. We had one slice that didn't even have sauce!
We had late dining in the Fantasy Room. Our table was all couples, so that was great. We were worried about any awkwardness or sitting with a family of 6 with just the two of us. I had the fried chicken, jerk pork loin, flat iron steak, and prime rib as my main meals. The prime rib was probably the worst I've had. The wait staff was friendly, though the last night everybody at our table wanted to try several things since it was the last night and our waiter was getting annoyed, for no reason. We asked nicely to try things and he was getting mad about it.
We took a taxi to Port Lucaya and were dropped off in front of the shops. We went to the public beach and found a nice spot. Water was great and we had a great time. There were a couple of people peddling their stuff to sell, but not bad. We tried a Sands beer brewed in Freeport. It was great. We did not try the shops.
We woke up a little later than planned and it set us back in time. However, there was a schedule change and we stayed the night in port at Nassau. We took a taxi to Paradise Island and did the free version of Atlantis. This means you can walk around most of it, play the casino, and visit the shops, but you had no beach or pool access. We walked to Cabbage Beach, which is public. Many people selling or offering things here: chairs, umbrellas, coconut drinks, jet skis, you name it. The water was prettier than Freeport but the beach was WAY more crowded. We had a local Kalik beer at a beachside dive called the Naughty Pirate. We had a hassle with the cab people to go back to port because they want to fill their van, but we had to be back at the shops before they closed at 6. Finally, he left with 6 of us in an 8 passenger van. We walked around the shops at the port and visited the straw market. We had been to Montego Bay on our honeymoon last year and there was WAY less hassle in Nassau than in MB. We wanted to go back out and try Senor Frogs that night, but it started raining and we did not want to walk those few blocks in rain.
Fun Day at Sea:
We enjoyed time on the Serenity Deck and in the hot tubs. It rained this day. But, we used that to our advantage. Right after the rain, we went up to the water slides and had them all by ourselves for about 15 minutes before people started to venture back outside. We also hit the pool. It was not crowded as it was overcast with a mist of rain here and there. Kids were there though and were loud and obnoxious. Some people obviously don't care what their kids do. Going off subject about kids, we saw the Camp Carnival "Night Owl" kids walking to the buffet at 1:45 am for ice cream. Where are your parents at this hour? Drunk in the Casino? Ridiculous
Easy as pie. Once they got to calling zone 10 to leave, stewards and staff came by where we were on Promenade to say we could all leave no matter our zone number. We were back to the truck in 20 minutes.
This was a wonderful first cruise. There were many positives: great entertainment, fun at the casino, great ports of call, and a nice room. Negatives: lots of kids, with most being rude. Adult-only Serenity deck could use a small pool so we could have avoided all the kids. I also thought it was ridiculous they charged me a corking fee for a bottle of wine I had opened myself in my room when I took it to dinner. That's crazy, but I know for next time. Overall, we had a great time, loved the ship, loved the Bahamas! Nicer water than Jamaica!