My friend and I flew into Orlando Airport on the first flight the morning of our cruise. Everything was a breeze. We paid for the transfers through Carnival so as soon as we got out luggage and located the Carnival desk, we jumped on the bus. We arrived at Port Canaveral around noon and it took us no time to get on the ship. There was a line but not very long and they had all the stations open so we moved along with ease.
I noticed that this ship was a smaller one than what I've been on before. It was still nice and it's always exciting to make that first step on the ship and walk into the center atrium. We headed to the buffet and it took up some time to figure out what was where. Once we did, we grabbed a table and ate. Our cabin was in the center of the ship. We loved that because we were right on deck 7 which was the same level where we entered onto the ship right down the hall from the atrium. We were close enough to the atrium to get to what we wanted with ease but far enough to avoid any noise. Our cabin was midship so we barely felt any rocking. Sometime we weren't sure if we were moving or not. We had a window so we just looked out there. I've had a balcony before but my friend had never been on a cruise before and I knew she wouldn't have wanted to stay in the room. Glad I didn't get a balcony this time. We were only in our cabin to sleep and change clothes.
I didn't particularly care for the way they did the safety drill this time. Normally, you find your muster station, and they take care of the whole drill right there. This time they had us go to the casino area where we sat and got told a bunch of instructions then they had us go to our muster stations where we had to stand there which seemed just as long as if we were to have to stand there the entire time. Seemed like a lot more confusion to me but once it was done, it was done. We got our drinks and headed up to the lido deck for the sail off. Of course, the party had started with people in the pool and all over the lido deck. It was much smaller than what I'm use to but I was still glad to be sailing.
As far as the ship is concerned, I like to get in the pool but there was only 1 pool and it was small. During the times we were at sea, the pool was crammed with adults and kids to where there really wasn't any standing room. More crammed than I'm use to so I passed this time. On other cruises, because I eat late, I would sometimes wait to get in the pool when I knew people for the early dinner were about to head back to their state rooms to get ready for dinner. There are much less people then, but that plan didn't work this time. So that was a minus in my book for this particular ship.
We found a terrific bartender, Michael, at the casino bar. He made the best drinks and he was so nice and friendly. He surprised us when we went the second time and he remembered our names. We only went to him for the rest of the trip. I had gotten a drink at the pool bar once and it was nowhere near as good as the one Michael made me.
We went to one show which was the Motown Show. It was nice. What was the most fun was when the took the show from the auditorium into the atrium of the ship. That was awesome. Everyone was partying right there in the atrium of the ship. Even those people that didn't see the show got to party in the atrium. The performers were dancing on the bar, tables, chairs, steps. It was awesome.
We also saw the two comedian at that adult shows. They were ok. One was much better than the other and he packed the house every night.
I've been to Nassau before. Flown directly there and stayed in a hotel and I've been on other cruises there. I do like Nassau so I was disappointed that we didn't get there till noon. I wish we would have gotten there earlier but that was the cruise we picked so we just rolled with it. I have read other Cruise Critics reviews about Nassau and one person mentioned bahamascruiseexcursions.com where they booked a Day Pass to a hotel where it includes food, drink and access to the other hotel amenities. So before we left, I checked out their website, and chose to do a Day Pass at the British Colonial. I knew that was close to port. Plus, I had been there before years ago and I knew it was nice. Well it was. So, the person at Bahamascruiseexcursion.com sent me an email, giving me very simple instructions on what to do when I get to Nassau and told me to just print out my email confirming my excursion I purchased through them at the hotel. Then just hand that to the front desk at the hotel when we arrived.
I had looked at Carnival's day pass prices to the Atlantis and they were just way too expensive for what we were looking for at that time. The day pass to the British Colonial was $60 per person and it included food and drink (up to $80), a towel, beach access plus chairs and umbrella and we could stay as long as we wanted. It was hard for the two of us to use up all of the $80 and we are drinkers.
This worked out great for us because we were able to get off the ship, do our shopping at the straw market and stores before they closed and then just go straight to the hotel. No cab or bus needed. So we got to the hotel around 2 and didn't start heading back to the ship till about 6:30. We loved that we were on our own time and by us being so close to the ship, it gave us more time we could spend enjoying the water and sun.
The bahamascruiseexcursions.com offers other Day Passes at other hotels and just excursions over the whole island also if you want to do something different.
The food on the ship was good to us. We liked breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They had Caribbean lunch one day and we loved the jerk chicken. I have been on some cruises where they would serve turkey sausage or turkey bacon but this one didn't. I just adjusted. Didn't care for the powered scrambled eggs but once we tried the omelette station, we were hooked. They were good. My friend had the molten chocolate cake that I heard so much about from other reviews on Cruise Critics and she said it was so good that it was sinful. So she ordered it every night in the dining room. Our waiter was great. He told us a joke every night. Some of them were really good. It still amazes me how they put out so much food for all those people.
Tip: If you are an early riser, it is great to eat breakfast early. We are. So we were up and ready to eat between 7:30 and 8:00 in the morning. There isn't hardly anyone around, so it makes for a peaceful morning. No lines for breakfast, and we just sat outside to eat and enjoyed the morning air plus coffee. We even had a really nice guy that was working, but he came and asked us if he could bring us more coffee or tea. We took him up on his offer a few times and wound up just talking to him a bit. It was a nice relaxing peaceful way to start our day.
Half Moon Cay
Not much to say about it except the sand was so soft it felt like walking on soft carpet. The beach was really nice. We had to take a tender over so we got a number and then had to wait in the show lounge. That was great because I've been on cruises where everyone is crammed in the stairwells for at least an hour waiting for them to get everything ready. With the number system, you get a number and wait till your number is called and that group then goes down and just walks right on the tender.
We went and got our number early and were in group #6. That turned out to be really good because we had a huge selection of what beach chairs we wanted and where. We noticed that those people that waited, had problems finding chairs and they were walking around in the heat looking for chairs. Some folks wound up putting their stuff on the sand and couldn't occupy any chairs. My advice, go early.
Overall, we had a nice relaxing time. It was a good short vacation. Just enough time for people who have never been and great for a short weekend vacation.