I had checked the website prior to leaving home and knew we would be detoured to Key West. Many of the passengers did not realize we would not go to Nassau until they arrived at the port. It was not the cruise line's fault that the port in Nassau had closed. Luckily they were able to secure a dock in Key west rather than float out in the ocean for 3 days.
Since the purpose of the cruise was to celebrate my daughter's birthday, I splurged and booked a mini suite. It was not a typical suite as you would see on other cruisers, however it was larger than the regular balcony rooms on this ship. Although the cabin was located near the front of the ship and provided for a bumpy ride, it was comfy. Because we had an upgraded cabin, we were given VIP status for embarking. It was wonderful not having to stand in any lines. After checking in on our cabin, we headed to the buffet lunch. It was plentiful and I was quite impressed with the various stations on the Lido deck, including Italian, Pizza, Deli, Salad, Mongolian Wok, Caribbean, Desserts, and the main station of burgers, hotdogs, french fries,etc. Having had terrible food on another carnival cruise, I was pleasantly surprised at how good the food tasted. This includes the meals in the dining room also. Actually, the entire design of the ship was impressive. I had read complaints of this ship, however the renovation made it appear modern and nicely decorated. For a budget ship, I found it to be quite classy with a variety of great activities and entertainment.
The first night on board was difficult to say the least. My daughter get seasick easily and although we were prepared with dramamine and ginger gum, she ended up throwing up her lunch. Luckily were in our cabin. The dramamine helped her to fall asleep early, and sleep through the night. I decided to go to dinner alone. We had late reservations in the main dining room. It took awhile to actually locate the dining room which was at the other end of the ship. When I arrived, I was taken to a 10 seat table. The dining room was practically empty, probably from many people being sick. I asked the waiter for a menu, however he wanted me to wait for others to arrive at the table. I informed him that I did not want to wait. He asked me where the others were from my table. Quite agitated, I told him that I had only two in my party, and that she was ill. I had no idea where the other people were. He then asked if I were in a hurry and I said that I was. I was very annoyed that I was expected to wait for people I did not know. I never requested a table for 10! The waiter took my order as another couple arrived to the table. A second couple also came, looked over the menu, then got up to leave. It was clear that thw woman from the first couple did not feel well. She ate nothing that she ordered, Both my entree of escargot, and entree of beef brisket were brought at the same time. I ate both quickly, which were quite delicious. I did not bother to order dessert and left for my cabin, hoping I would not pass any sick passengers on the way.
The next day was at sea. It was my daughter's birthday and a beautiful day with blue skies and calm waters. Luckily, we were headed away from Sandy. I;m glad that my daughter was not sick on her birthday. Everyone on board appeared to be having a great time with all the activities. This was supposed to be the day we docked in Nassau, so the staff had to scramble to make alterations. My daughter was able to make it to dinner that night, which was lobster night. The same couple from the previous night were at the table and the woman looked much better. Surprisingly, the remaining 6 seats at our table remained empty, although the dining room was quite busy. The lobster tails with the broiled shrimp was delicious. We all had multiple servings. My daughter and I then went to the show, which I found entertaining.
The following day, we docked at Key West. Another gorgeous day of blue skies and warm sunshine. Actually, it was downright hot. We were only in Key west for 4 hours. They were in the midst of an annual festival, and were having a big parade that evening. I've visited Key West in another cruise, and knew what the town was like...lewd! However I did not expect the topless women walking through the streets this time. Nor the men walking around in thongs. There was one passenger standing in line with the thongs and a tee shirt. From the back, it appeard that he was naked from the waist down. Since he was behind us, I don't know if he were allowed on ship in that attire. Key West is not Nassau, Bahamas, so there was much disappointment, including no duty free items or casinos. However, there was plenty of conch dishes and I had my fill.
We did not feel rough waters until late that evening thank goodness. My daughter and I decided to eat on the lido deck instead of going to the dining room. That was a wise decision, because she took the dramamine and was knocked out the remainder of the evening. I made sure she packed her bag before drifting off to sleep -lol We needed to put our bags out in the hallway by 11pm if we did not want to carry them off the ship the following morning. That night was horrible, with the waves pounding the ship. I went to the purser's desk to settle my account and could barely stand up. I retreated back to my comfy cabin.
The next morning we were supposed to dock back in Port Canaveral at 7am. Everyone was up early to eat breakfast. We could see the shoreline in the distance. Then, the captain made an announcement on the loud speaker that we could not dock due to the storm surge. He stated that we should be able to dock at 6pm. In the interim, he told everyone to make themselves comfortable. The ship sailed back out to sea in calmer waters. The cabin crew had to bring everyone's luggage back to their cabins. I felt terrible for them. They looked so tired. The Captain and crew did their best to make everyone comfortable. I was so happy to have the upgraded cabin. It made quite a difference. Food and entertainment was provided. The ship was not able to dock until 9pm. Passengers were offered to remain on board for the evening. Although we were local, we would have remained on board if my daughter did not have classes the following morning. I felt bad for the people that had to change their airline reservations. Since the airports up north were closed, some passengers could not get home for days. I feel that Carnival did a great job in an unfortunate situation. I understand that the passengers who were to depart that day were given a retroactive refund for the day that was missed. I am looking forward to sailing on the Carnival Sensation again.