We chose the Fascination (even though we live within one hour of another Carnival port) which required us to drive 7 1/2 hours because of the description of the water slide and the children's waterpark, and children's programs. The children's play area exceeded our expectations. There are three waterslides. Our five year old grandson used the mid size one and our 12 year old granddaughter enjoyed the 4 story high one. Both grandchildren participated in the children's program for their particular age group and they were well supervised and they enjoyed participating in them.
My husband and I had grand suite #U107. This was a mini splurge for us and well worth it. The room was very spacious with a bar across one side with a small refrigerator. The room seemed comparable to a regular size hotel room, with a small but adequate balcony. Our room steward allowed us to remove their drinks from the refrigerator and substitute with our own. This room was very quiet, and well located. We had a sofa bed in our room, and the room steward cheerfully made up the sofa bed for our two grandchildren on two nights of the five night stay even though they were registered in a different room. This allowed our son and his wife to have two evenings out together. This saved us a significant amount of money, as registering the children in our room would have cost us significantly more money.
When travelling with family members who are not booked in a suite, you can use priority check in together and priority disembark together. Priority self disembarkation was smooth and quick. Elevators were only used by those using priority disembarkation so getting an elevator was a non issue. We were on the road by 8:15 a.m.
The $8 per day parking lot located very near the port has a contract with Carnivale. As such, you can board as early as ll a.m. with general boarding not beginning until 1 p.m. They have vans going almost continuously to the port and when you disembark they are right there for you to bring you to your car. They are the closest lot to the port, and you save a significant amount of money by not parking at the port..
I did not wish to spend the exorbitant amount of money to go to Atlantis on Nassau. I instead booked a day room at the Sheraton for $139. This allowed our family of six to have the room for the day and use all hotel facilities including non motorized water toys such as kayaks, etc. The hotel is lovely with more than one pool, a spacious lobby with WIFI and board games. This was well worth the money as the arm bands without the use of the room would have been $120 for our family of six. Thus for $20 more, we had a room to change in, etc. We took a cab to the hotel for a cost of $30 and took the #10 bus back for $1.25 each which dropped us off a couple of blocks from the port, and in the midst of the main shopping area.
The ship was spotlessly clean and attractive. It never seemed crowded or congested in the lobbies, atrium, buffet lines, etc. The cruise director Paul was entertaining and perfect for this job. The Motor town show was excellent. The audience participation as part of the show was a great deal of fun for our entire family. The Diva show was great for our son and his wife and granddaughter, but less enjoyable for us as we did not know many of the songs due to our "age". This is a perfect cruise for a multigenerational family, but I believe less desirable for "older, mature couples" who are not traveling with younger family members. The music, entertainment, and trivia type contests are geared toward families with children and teenagers, as well as young to middle age adults. This is the market I presume that Carnivale seeks.
This was our fifth Carnivale cruise and, as such, we knew not to expect a "five" star experience. This particular cruise significantly exceeded our expectations. I would highly recommend this cruise for young families, singles, or multigenerational families who are cost conscious.
Our room was a large, very spacious room described as a grand suite that was attractively outfitted with a mirror across one wall, with a bar, with glasses, and mini refrigerator. The room was very clean with absolutely no unpleasant odors. There was enough storage for a round the world cruise even though this one was for only 5 days. The balcony was not large, but adequate sized with three chairs. The balcony was fairly private with a high wall. Our room steward was very accommodating including cheerfully making up the sofa bed for our grandchildren who had their own room with their parents when we requested it on two of the five nights of the cruise. He immediately responded with any and all requests. The bathtub was deep and narrow and it was a whirlpool bath. I only showered and the water was plentiful and hot. The bathroom was spacious with soft towels and robes. The location of this room is excellent. It is near the elevators and at the same end of the ship as the buffet areas and pools. "Splurging" on this cabin was well worth the money. It was a spacious and comfortable meeting place for our family of six. It was also a quiet oasis for us, the grandparents. If you are travelling with family who are not booked in a grand suite, you are all allowed priority boarding and priority disembarking.