No-one need be concerned about taking this cruise. I've been on newer and bigger ships and I've paid a lot m,ore money to do so. This ship, however, is a happy ship. It may be old and it may be small but the crew are on the ball. They keep it spick and span and are as good as any crew in the RC fleet.
Sure, some of the design and decor looks a bit dated and it lacks the wow factor of many ships. But, to be serious, for the money paid it would be hard to be critical.
We stayed locally the night before - at the Residence Inn Port Canaveral. Dropping off a one-way Hertz hire car from Orlando was very convenient because it's co-located with the Residence Inn. I paid $6 per person for a shuttle from the hotel to Port Canaveral although Hertz run their own, frequent, free shuttles when ships dock.
The shuttle only took 15 mins to get us to the port. We arrived at about 12:15. By about 12:30 we were aboard! Registration was quick and painless.
We headed straight for the Windjammer. Not unexpectedly it was very full! Be ready to clear a table if you arrive late. First impressions of the Windjammer were good. Not as extensive as larger ships but the Indian food was authentic and to a high standard and there was a modest carvery in operation.
The sailaway party was OK. The skies were grey and rain threatened which always puts a damper on things but we enjoyed exploring the ship and taking a tour of the spar and health club.
The rooms were small as advertised elsewhere on this forum. However, for the price paid they were OK. The TV was small but we still managed to watch a few films on it during the cruise. The bathroom was basic but the shower was quite good. To be honest the room was as good as the one on our first cruise on the QE2 a few decades ago - and for a lot less money. It also had sufficient storage space for two of us and we could communicate with our kids in a separate cabin on the same corridor via the in-room phone.Our stewards (two rooms Roy and Austin) kept everything in good order throughout.
We were on My Time Dining but were able to be allocated to the same dining room team on 3 out of 4 evenings. My reason for choosing My Time is that I can hopefully move if the location or service is unsatisfactory. In this case everything was good and we thought our waiter Syed and Assistant Marlon were professional and welcoming. They certainly added to our experience.
Unhelpfully we didn't undertake any activities or see any of the shows! I always say I'll cram it all in but it's a good sign that we were happy just to relax.
The first port of call at Cocoa Cay exceeded expectations. I was worried it might not come up to the high standards of Castaway Cay but it proved to be more than satisfactory. It helped that the weather was scorching and the tender across from the ship on a blue sea with a blue sky was a great introduction to the Island.
We walked far enough away to find a quiet stretch of beach and stretching out in the shallow warm water on a sun longer was absolutely idyllic. We took snorkels but found little of interest - other than the fact that you could walk out a very long way and still only be up to your knees in the clear, warm water.
Lunch was OK. I needed something basic and a lot of drinks in such fierce heat. Burgers, hot dogs etc. salad. Nothing special but adequate. We sat and ate on picnic benches in the shade while big iguanas wandered around.
I was sorry when it was time to take the return journey on the tender.
Next stop Nassau. We'd visited before so took a taxi to Atlantis in the morning - $4 each plus a tip if the driver is entertaining - and he was. There's a lot to see but its expensive. Not sure I'd want to spend a lot in advance to buy access to their beach and water park. The day we visited it was rainy in the morning so a water park wasn't the most attractive option. We tried to find the public beach instead. We eventually did do and it was OK with good sized waves and clean sand. However, after walking for a certain way towards the Atlantis the beach becomes private and you come up against security who need evidence of residency etc. We just wandered through the villa type accommodations instead where there are lagoons full of rays and sharks.
Then we took a ferry back to the ship - $4 each - for lunch. After lunch we took a walk towards Junkanoo Beach Fort Charlotte. Not a great deal to see but it was a nice walk. Dropped into Mcdonalds for an ice cream on the way back.
The last day was spent at sea and it was another hot day. The deck pools were a bit busy but a great way to cool off. The Caribbean band were excellent.
Overall fantastic value - even though it costs more if you're paying from GB. I really can't fault it as a short, fun cruise especially as a way to chill out between two manic sessions in Orlando's theme parks.