We flew to Orlando 2 days early and stayed one night near the airport and one night at a hotel on Cocoa Beach. It rained but we did manage to play in the ocean waves for awhile. We rented a car from Budget one way from Orlando to Cocoa Beach and it was only 36 for one day through Budget using either the SW Airline code or Walmart code I found on Mousesaver.com.
We had a great time. I had been on 2 cruises many moons ago but my husband was a first timer. We opted for Your Time dining with a set reservation time. We only ate in the formal dining room at night 2 times. The first night seemed light the service was alittle slow but not bad. The last night was a lot better. We just decided we didn't want to dress for formal night and a couple times we had a late lunch so wasn't that hungry for a set down dinner. When we arrived we carried on 2 small bags and checked 2 bags at the terminal. My bag arrived when the room was ready but my husbands bag didn't show up. The room steward looked around our floor without success and then told us to go to guest services on floor 5. When we got there we noticed several unclaimed bags. Ours was there missing the room tag that must have come off. I thought we had taped it securely but next time I'm going to staple it.
There was a lot of teenagers in a group so the pool area seemed very crowded. We liked the adult only pool but didn't like the salt water. However, it was less crowded.
We decided after we got on board to purchase the soda package. I probably wouldn't do that again because I preferred iced tea or juice. A couple of times the soda machines were out of ice and Coke. The Coke seemed a bit watered down. I think there should have been atleast one more soda machine.
We went to a couple of shows, watched a movie on the deck and participated in the Love and Marriage (Newlywed type show). We had great fun on the show and immediately was recognized and stopped by many other cruisers where ever we went and was told how much fun they had watching it. When we got to the Orlando airport heading home we even had other cruisers still recognizing us. The last night we went to the Quest game in the lounge. We really didn't know what we were getting into and most in our group were a lot younger. We quickly joined in the fun and was on the team that actually won. It was adult entertainment and we had some great laughs.
We enjoyed the private island and after awhile decided to go to the other side of the island. We weren't interested in snorkeling so the other side was less crowded and we were able to find a lounge chair over there. Also got off the boat in Nassau and took a ferry to Paradise Island. We walked around the grounds of the Atlantis and casino but didn't purchase the shore excursion. It was quite warm and I had a terrible headache so we didn't stay too long. We now wished we would have gone to the free beach. However, it was nice seeing the Atlantis even though the areas are restricted. The security guard was nice enought to let me walk down the walkway to take a photo. On the boat ride back we took a smaller boat and the ride took twice as long. It was hot and I was getting cranky. But for $4 each was it was ok. You can also take a taxi for $4 each way if you opt to not purchase the RCI shore excursions.
We opted to carry our own bags off the ship when we disembarked. We left the ship at 730am and there were only a handful of people ahead of us. Went through customs, waited about 10 minutes for the Budget shuttle, rented a car back to Orlando from Budget and was in the rental car all withing 30 minutes of leaving the ship.
I wasn't sure if my husband would enjoy a cruise and I had not been on one in many moons. However, he enjoyed it and I was able to keep him from being bored. We played shuffle board, ping pong and enjoyed the pools. The rooms were clean and of course the bathrooms were small but manageable. We had an outside room with a window which I was glad my husband talked me into spending the extra.
We would go on another cruise and maybe leave from Miami or Ft Lauderdale so we wouldn't have to pay for a rental car. However, the airfare was alot cheaper going to Orlando so I guess it probably the same as flying to Miami if you count the motel room and car rental. But it was nice to go two days early.