We flew in the day before(highly recommend doing this). Stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Blount Island on New Berlin Rd. It was less than 10 minutes away from Jaxport. The staff was super nice and the room comfy and clean. Dinner at Ruth's Chris in Downtown Jacksonville was a great start to our vacation.
Port: The hotel offers a nice package for those coming by car or for those staying at the hotel on the way home which didn't work for us so we opted for a cab. It was close to $20.00 (we stopped to get wine on the way) also, the driver went through security which took some time. She was told by the first attendant that she didn't have to as she came through earlier...kind of bothered us but oh well. We got there around 12:30pm. Embarkation was smooth. We had "VIP" check in. From taxi to check-in line to Lido Deck with our drink, it was about 20-30 minutes. Nice! We got to our room about 1.5 to 2.0 hours after boarding the ship.
Cabin: It was a junior suite, Verandah, More
forward. The location was good. The room was about the same size as a regular balcony on the Conquest Class ships we've been on. The balcony was tiny...stack your chairs and it will work. The bathroom was small but was clean and served it's purpose. Closets were a good size and lit up when opened. I always way over-pack and there was plenty of room. Cabin stewards Michael & Jonni are sweet and hard working guys.
Ship: She's a little bit older but is well kept and easy to navigate. The Serenity Deck was very small but never crowded like past cruises. The pool area seemed to always have room which is a plus. We didn't find the decor to be too over the top and gaudy.
Food: Overall, the food was quite good. We had late dining in the Sensation. The service was decent. We had awesome people at our table. We ate at Coconut Grove a few times for lunch, always good. The salad bar was my favorite and my husband loved the pizza bar which is always good on CCL. There is no steak house so we went to the Chef's Table. It was better on the Legend. But overall, it was nice.
Entertainment: Didn't go to any of the shows, went to the piano bar one night and enjoyed that. Went to the past passenger celebration where they now serve full sized drinks (they were sooo strong we only had one). The appetizer style food was good. We played a few trivia games and went to bingo a few times. There was a singer/guitar player in the atrium nearly each night as we were in line to get to dinner. Sorry but he was TERRIBLE. I was embarrassed for him. Really.
Fellow cruisers were among the best we have encountered on any cruise. People were so friendly and polite for the most part. The way cruising is meant to be.
Some minor cons: There were very little announcements as we encountered on other cruises. What announcements they did make, we couldn't hear in our room. Not a huge thing but still a thing. CCL doesn't offer the future cruise vouchers like they once did. You have to purchase your next cruise on board and you get vouchers for friends and family.
This cruise was a good one and we really had a great time. Thanks again CCL! We will be back. Less
Key West was AWESOME! Hubby is from FL originally and we met up with a friend who now lives in Key West. We had a blast at Sloppy Joe's, Fat Tuesday and Captain Tony's. We also walked around town and down to some docks where Jimmy Buffet has a recording studio. That was cool. Overall, Key West is a great place with friendly people and inviting shops, restaurants and bars.
Nassau wasn't what I remembered. We went to the straw market but was bombarded with sales people to the point of feeling unsafe. We walked around town and shopped a bit and left after seeing a guy peeing on the side of a building. I'm sure it's safe and fine there but we just didn't feel good in this port. Atlantis seemed like a lot of fun after talking to fellow cruisers. If we ever go back, this is where we will go. We wanted to do the segway excursion but the website stated it wasn't open the day we were in port. Not true. We met people on board that did this. Bummer.