We sailed on August 14-19, 2006. Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau. Have been back for a week now and miss the ship. LOL We had a direct flight from Toronto to Orlando. Even with the new restrictions everything was a breeze...as long as you follow them you will have no problems. I didn't mind all the security checks...lets me know they're doing their job and makes me feel safer. Once we got to the airport there were people all over with Carnival signs so we just walked up to one and he let us know where we were to go. The shuttle was already there so we didn't have to wait long to go. It took about 45 mins to get to the port from the airport which was nice because I was able to get a little nap. And the shuttle had AC which was really nice. Once we got to the port there was a porter standing at the bottom of the stairs when you got off the shuttle with his hand out saying "Don't forget your Porter" as all the other Porters unloaded our bags. So we all started digging through our pockets...well not really, we had ours ready. Boarding the ship was REALLY easy! They are very organized and efficient. We got our room keys, our sail and sign cards and off we went to board the ship. The photographers were all ready set up to take our first picture just before we got on the ship. We were on around 11am and just spent 2 hours looking around the ship, had the buffet lunch (which was just okay) and around 1:15pm our room was all ready. Since the ship didn't sail till 4pm we decided to take a little nap....we were so tired from travelling since 3am that if we wanted to stay up at all we needed it. The room had AC (thank goodness) and was very clean. The bed, pillows and duvet are SOOO comfortable....I wish I could've taken it all home with me. Heehee.... Our luggage was at our door before 4pm which was nice. We were on the Main Deck in cabin 153. It was in the middle of the ship right by the elevators. We were very happy with the location. We did hear people getting back from the clubs at night, but it wasn't that bad. We're deep sleepers. Haha!! And that's what we get for wanting a room right by the elevators. Our room was an oceanview and no we didn't have a little fridge...which I didn't mind but I did think there would be a hair dryer. Our cabin steward was very friendly, was always there to tell us where we were going and made some nice conversation about the Islands. Our ice tray was always filled, cleaned towels were always supplied and our towel animals were very cute. I was surprised the first night when we came back after dinner to see the towel animal on our bed, with the sheets pulled back a little, curtains where closed, lights were off except for the little night lights above the bed. Chocolates where left on our bed along with the next days activities. I wish someone would do that for me at home. LOL On the first night we didn't do the formal dining because we didn't feel like dressing up. Although later on we found out it was casual night and if we had known that we would've gone...especially now knowing how good the food is! Actually we only planned on going to formal night 1 time (Captain's dinner) which was on the second night but then ended up going 2 more times because it was so good. And the people at our table were fantastic. We all clicked and had a great time during our meals. The waiter was very friendly and his service was great. The 3 nights that we ate there all the waiters performed at the end of the night and they always acknowledged a Birthday, Anniversary, Honeymoon etc....by all singing. And before the Captain's dinner there is a reception in the Universal Lounge where you get to meet the captain and enjoy free alcoholic drinks. I only got 2 glasses of wine but the people next to us did not waste any time I think they went through 5 glasses each. For lunches, we were all over the place....the first day when we first got on the ship we went to Windows by the Sea for buffet and it was just okay....the second day we went to the buffet on the Lido deck and had a burger with fries. This is an everyday option and we enjoyed that. On the 3rd day we were at Grand Turk and debated weather we should eat there (since we heard all good things) or wait till we got back on the boat. But we decided to eat at Margaritaville and the food there was great, plus our free Margarita coupon we got from their website. On the 4th day we were at Half Moon Cay and all the cooks off the ship go to the Island and prepare a huge buffet there. It was amazing at how much work they do, there was sooo much food and even all the waiters from the formal restaurants were out there working. The food was good...not spectacular but I'm not picky therefore I enjoyed it all. And on the last day in Nassau we just held off till we got back to the boat to eat at ate in the Windows by the Sea again...and this time the buffet was amazing...for me anyway! =) Entertainment was great. We missed Adult Comedy night but heard it was really good. We liked to watch all the game shows they had. Newlywed Game was really good. Bingo was too expensive but hubby did play once.....couldn't resist trying to win a cruise. We felt the boat move a lot on the first night....I was feeling a little sick from it. But went to bed and woke up fine the next morning and was fine for the rest of the cruise. We did feel it a little here and there but it wasn't that bad. Tipping was added to our bill at the beginning. $50 from me and $50 from my husband for the 5 nights and we gave our cabin steward a little more in cash during the week because he was doing such a great job. You have the option to adjust it at the end...but we just left it as it is. We didn't have too much bad weather which was nice. We were able to make all of our stops and enjoy the Islands. It rained at Grand Turk an hour before we were suppose to leave so it didn't spoil our stay too much. Half Moon Cay the weather was great, Nassau was on and off towards 1pm. By the time we were leaving at 3pm there was a storm coming in. Lots of lightening, dark clouds and rain. But within 10 mins of when we left it was all gone and there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky.
Okay, the Islands.... GRAND TURK - Not much here but we still enjoyed it. We knew coming on this trip that we probably weren't going to do any excursions so there were no disappointments there. The beach I could do without....the sand was nice but trying to get into the water was another thing. Way tooooo many rocks! Everyone was hurting their feet trying to get in....and even once you're in there were quite a lot of rocks. So we didn't stay in there too long. We headed over to Margaritaville...which is right there in front of you...literally!! We enjoyed the pool. The DJ was great!!! The contests were entertaining! We shopped a little, ate lunch went back in the pool and were heading over to the wet bar but it started raining so we decided to pack up and leave instead...along with everyone else. The long line trying to get back on the ship in the rain wasn't fun but what are you to do?? No one can help it and I'm not a complainer so I made the most of it. HALF MOON CAY - The most beautiful beach I've ever been too. The water and sand was just amazing!!! They have very little shade there but you can rent a clamshell that they put over your beach chairs to give you shade. They have a lot of them....they build them as you come and order them. Again, we did no excursions here we enjoyed the beach and water all day long. A little too much because we got sunburned. LOL Like I mentioned above....the cooks came off the boat to cook lunch. The Island is owned by Carnival so all the staff come off and work on the beach. The entertainers do their thing with contests and stuff. They blast music from the bar. They have a whole children's area with a fountain, waterslide etc. And then they have a playground off one of the paths which we saw on our way to the buffet area. The Island is very nicely maintained. When we were eating lunch there were a few lizards that came out of the bushes which made me jump. LOL Shopping area was nice too....we were able to use our sign and sail card in one of the shops which was nice. All in all...we loved this place and was by far our favorite stop. NASSAU - There was 5 ships there in total including us. Pretty crowded everywhere but it was nice to experience. The Straw Market was very busy, it was so hot in there and everyone was selling mostly the same stuff. I personally don't like crowded area's like that so we didn't spend too much time in there. Got some stuff for the kids and that's pretty much it. We then took a water cab to Atlantis. We waited like 20 mins before they filled the whole boat up so it felt like forever before we left but once we did it was a nice ride. Atlantis was absolutely beautiful!!! I'd have no problem going there for a week vacation. We walked around the place, went to the aquarium and looked around the shops. We then took a regular cab back. It was nice seeing different parts but our driver was a crazy driver. We thought we'd get into an accident at one point. She was very impatient with the traffic and wasn't too happy about taking us back to the port area. She kept complaining about how busy it is over there and not sure how she's going to make it over. But nonetheless...she finally made it over. We did some more shopping and headed back to the ship at 2:30pm. As we were leaving a storm started approaching us but once we left it took like 10 mins before it was clear again.
Leaving the ship was a piece of cake for us. Not a lot will agree but you have your good and bad right? Not everything will be perfect. We had to be downstairs in the Conference Room at 6:15am for Immigration since we're from Canada. That was a little tiring because we had to get up so early and then just wait around. But I believe we were done at 7:30am and went off to breakfast. We had to leave our rooms by 8am so after breakfast we went back to our room and got our bags. They give you the option to leave your luggage outside your door the night before and they'll take it off the boat for you or you can take it off yourself. We took it ourselves which was a lot easier and saved us a lot of time. Once we left our room, we went to the Universal Lounge and just waited around. There were 3 meeting spots and they called you in order to go down. I guess we were the first ones or something because we waiting maybe 40 mins not even and got off. Once off the boat it wasn't that bad either. Yes, there were lines to get ID and papers checked but it didn't seem that bad. Once we were off, there was confusion as to were to find the luggage and that's what delayed a lot of people. We were just able to pass it all since we kept ours and just kept going. Before we knew it we were out down by the buses and there were people waiting calling out to you asking where you're going. We got lucky because ours was the first bus....we were almost the last ones on so we didn't have to wait too long to leave and off we were to the airport. We decided to stay in Orlando an extra night to go to Universal Studio's and made it to the hotel around 11:30am. I don't think I would suggest doing that to anyone though...I think next time if we ever wanted to do something like that again we'd do it a day before the cruise because we were just so tired from waking up so early and going through all that trying to get off the boat. Plus, it was a rainy day in Orlando, we didn't get to the park until 12pm and after paying all this money to get in we found out the park closes at 8pm. Which was really surprising to me! And then a lot of the outside rides were closed down early due to the lightening and rain. So that day was a bust for us. LOL We both said that we would've preferred just going back home to rest (since my husband had to go back to work the next morning) and it would've saved us a lot of money. But I'm still happy I got to see the place and would never stay at the Holiday Inn across from Universal again. LOL Not because it was bad or anything, but because there really isn't anything walking distance to do. And that's it in a nutshell. This was a perfect vacation for us. There really is something on a cruise for everyone. We really enjoyed ourselves and hope to do it again sometime. This was our first vacation since we've been together in the last 10 years, we didn't have a honeymoon so going on our 7th year Anniversary was great! We loved just sitting outside and watching the ocean. Staff were all friendly, the cruise director was a blast and all wait staff was great. There was one guy who seemed to be in a bad mood a lot but I just think it's time for him to take a break and go home. LOL