Embarkment was a little slow. There had been a virus outbreak and they were not boarding the boat until 1 (actual time was about 1:45). When we got on the boat around 2:30 we dropped our bags in the rooms and headed to the buffet. The buffet area was really crowded. Realized afterwards we should of kept walking and we would of found a whole bunch of empty tables and buffets that weren't as busy.
We had four rooms together. The kids shared a room and the couples each had their own rooms. The rooms were adequate. The cabin steward was good, rooms were clean, only disappointment was our towel animals were not real exciting (lol). Also when we booked we didn't realize that my husband and I were in a room in a different muster station that the teens even, though the rooms were next to each other. Probably could of changed it but left it, as the other two adult rooms were in the same muster station as the teens.
The kids should of been in two separate clubs. The boys in Circle C and the girls in Club O2. The first night they let all four teens register in Club O2 since it was off season and not a lot of kids on the boat. The kids had an amazing time. They spent time with new friends in Club O2, but also just hanging out on the boat. During the time on the boat we only saw the teens in passing and the required dinner. A few times we did the family comedy show together.
The meals in the MDR were great. The food was always delicious and we got to try out many different things we normally would not of (frogs legs, shark, alligator). The dining staff was very attentive and friendly. The chocolate melting cake is amazing.
The hours and options on the buffet were kind of limited. Pizza was available 24 hours a day and the sandwiches were available until 11. We never did find a time when we were able to go to the main buffet. Seems that every time we got there it was closed. Our fault, not Carnivals.
We watched the show the first night and then never went back again. It wasn't because the show wasn't good, just that we found other things to do. The kids watched the hypnotist and said it was hilarious. We typically did watched the Punchliner Club for the family and adult comedy shows. Always a lot of laughs, but not for the sensitive or easily offended type.
In Florida we booked Islands of Adventure. It was a little pricey, but the girls really wanted to see Hogwarts. We ended up being a great day, the weather was nice and the park was really quiet. We were able to go on all the rides and see the attractions that we wanted to. We were back on the bus and ready to head back to the boat by 3:30.
We could not find an excursion that seemed to interest us so figured we would go with the flow. When we got off the boat we booked an island tour with an independent operator. The tour was okay, he took us around the island. We felt the island was a little run down and not a lot to look at. We crossed over the bridge to see Atlantis. We were not able to go past the casino or the back deck. After he dropped us off at Junkanoo Beach. It was okay, but there were a lot of rocks and shells and it was hard to access the water. The highlight of the day was dinner at Senor Frogs. I wish we had gone with our first thought to go to the Sheraton for the day. We would of also liked to do the AquaAdventure at Atlantis, but it was pricey for a group of 10.
We had booked a private excursion through Chad4Nature. Chad picked us up directly off the boat. Unfortunately other groups who had booked were not on time meeting the tour guides and we had to wait for them. This seemed to put the whole tour a little off schedule and kind of rushed (not Chad's fault). He took us on a tour around the island then over to see where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed. We stopped at an old abandoned restaurant and got fresh coconuts. After we went to a secluded beach where we snorkeled and kayaked. A delicious lunch was provided. On the way back we stopped at Lucayan National Park. Great time for all ages. I would definately book another excursion with Chad. My mom had stayed at the boat and said it rained all day long. I guess we got lucky, because where we were the sun shined and the weather was nice. Only had a few minutes of rain on the drive back.
Four sea days is a lot. Especially when you have two of them back to back. The teens didn't mind it at all. If anything it gave them more time to hang out with their new friends. My parents spent a lot of time reading and we spent a lot of time playing cards and pool.
The pool areas were open and were never crowded. Even though the boat went out of NYC in December the weather was okay. I couldn't get myself to lay by the pool or swim, but there were plenty of people that did. I had heard that the Atlantic could be rough, but we had smooth sailing the whole time except for about 24 hours after leaving Freeport. The wind was strong at times, many times they closed the upper decks. As a parent of teens on the boat, this made me feel better to know they weren't out on a windy open deck. Most of the time on the boat we were able to wear shorts or capris. On the open decks a sweater or sweatshirt was usually necessary. Both pools were open. One was covered and the other open to the fresh air.
We went back and forth about self assist or waiting for our zone to be called. We finally decided to go with zone thinking it would be less crowded (we were zone 15). Disembarking started around 9, but they had to continuously call some non US citizens to a room. This went on for over an hour. Afterwards they called self assist. We were watching from the pool area and the line just went on and on as people walked off the boat. It seemed that most of the people exited the boat using self assist. When our zone was finally called, after 11, we went downstairs, just to find wall to wall people. After getting off the boat we walked in to get our luggage. There appeared to be 1000's of people in the room waiting in line to go through customs. There was another boat in port also disembarking at the same time. Unfortunately at this time peoples tempers were getting short and people were getting snippy at each other. While walking through the ropes we lost most of the family members while others cut us off or pushed their way through. At one point my husband went to cut under the rope to meet try to catch up with us and a women told him that it was very rude to cut others, he stated that it was very rude that people had cut him off and he was no longer with his family. We finally all met up again at the exit. Even getting out onto the street was a mess. There were people everywhere and you had to cross the street immediately. The taxi line took up one whole sidewalk and we had a difficult time finding our ride.
Other than disembarking the cruise was amazing. We all had a great time (especially the teens). Four days at sea is a long time and I don't think I would do that many again. The boat was beautiful and well maintained. The food delicious and plentiful.