Let me start by saying, four months ago when my wife and I booked this cruise, my children protested beyond belief. It was so rigorous, my wife and I really thought we may have made a mistake.
We arrived in Baltimore the night before and stayed at my sisters for the night. The next day she brought us to the port and dropped us off. Traffic on the way into the port was a little busy, but not bad. We dropped off our bags at the curb. Tag your bags with the printable tags from your online check in as early and as often as possible. Really speeds things up. They took our bags to be loaded on to the ship. We had priority check in from our OS suite stateroom. This allowed us to get VIP passes through the lines. Even though the kids didn't have priority, they allowed them to go with us. First of many awesomes. The boys were particularly impressed with the fact that we were bypassing about 1000 people in lines.(THOSE LINES SEEMED TO BE MOVING FAST) From the time we dropped our bags and walk the ramps and made our first step on the ship was about 30 minutes.The first thing you hear as soon as you get on is the awesome music playing in the atrium. It really sets the pace for the rest of the cruise. Awesome!
We took the kids to their room to get them settled in. Then we went up to our room, so they knew where we were going to be. The bags got to our room about an hour or so later. So after we went up to the Mermaid grill we went out and sat by one of the pools where the DJ was mixing some great and very fun tunes. That's when it happened. It was almost the last time I saw my boys on this cruise. If it wasn't for my wife insisting we get together for dinner every night, we may never have seen them again. A group of teen boys and girls walk by. "THEY GONE!" Off they went. Hanging out mostly with this crew for the rest of the cruise. They spent a lot of time in and out of club O2, I guess they only went there if the group was in. They did like the dances and deck parties. I saw them several times on the TV in the morning as the ship replayed high lights of the day before. Now for my daughter, she was moping. My wife took here up to the Circle C club and showed her around. It wasn't until about 8-9 o'clock that night when we were walking through the Atrium when a group of teens walked up and asked how old she was. "SHE GONE". Apparently Circle C was doing a scavenger hunt of teens. There were several groups going around and gathering kids up and bringing them back to the Circle C for some fun and games. Awesome!
Now for my wife and I. "WE GONE" We enjoyed literally every thing that was to be offered by the Ship and its Cruise Directors. We enjoyed David's Steak House with a nice quiet dinner with friends. We did this on the first elegant night, so we didn't have to dress up again till Friday. Great food. Great food every where. We never ate a bad meal or snack. The drinks on board are poured very stiff. Every thing is done at a great value. The theaters were a lot of fun and very versatile. They used them in conjunction with several dance, music and comedy goings on. The directors of the event are always a lot of fun. One of the things that really impressed me was how the different attendants, whether in the dining rooms, the room stewards in the hall, they all new our names with out skipping a beat. Very nice touch Carnival. Almost everyday at sea we spent it up at the sun deck with friends and cocktails. We had a blast!
We didn't get off the ship in Freeport. We went and got breakfast from the Mermaid Grill, ate it at a table pool side on the lido deck, grab a couple of pool chairs beside the pool and my wife and I hung out with our daughter at the pool all day. We had shade and sun and almost nobody around us. A very relaxing pool day. My wife finished a book, my daughter and I swam most of the day, sunned ourselves, or played games with cruise directors at the lido deck stage. I even went down the slide at the back of the ship. Very very fun and relaxing.
On the last day, we woke up in the morning with cell service. At times we missed it, but all in all, not bad without it. We where busy. It would have been nice to get ahold of the kids a little easier. After we checked in on our daughter a couple of time and gained confidence in the councilor at Circle C we relaxed a little more. The rest of the morning went very fast. From the line off the ship through customs and to my waiting sister in the parking lot, was about an hour. The kids slept the whole way home, except when we stopped to eat. This is when it hit me. LAND SICK! Not so much as an upset stomach on ship and I get land sick. Just a little dizziness, with a headache. Legs felt weird like I was trying to sway. Nothing two Ibuprophen didn't fix.
WE HAD A BLAST! I would recommend the The Pride and its crew to anybody. JUST AWESOME!
My whole family loved this port!
For the girls, My wallet weighs about 10 pounds less, the shopping was amazing! Everything is negotiable, and I mean everything! They have every type of store on the main strip that you can ever want to visit. While on the cruise the girls found station 17 on the TV in our room. They found out that the stores on the main strip run a scavenger hunt of sorts, obviously to get people to visit the stores and promoted by the stores. They simply got there treasure maps as they got of the ship and off we went. Upon visiting these stores the girls received free trinkets of appreciation. Of course we took the opportunity to look around. My friends wife was with us and at one of the jewelry stores, I was able to negotiate from about 1500 down to 800 for her. Realistically it was probably a 900 -1000 dollar ring. Make sure you try to negotiate everything or you will pay tooooo much. Then I took the girls into the Straw Market. There are several vendors to choose from, mostly selling the same thing in different styles. So make sure you walk around first, then go back to the vendor who has the style you want. This will be hard to do, the vendors are very, very, very aggressive to earn your business. They are also very very very willing to negotiate.
I let my boys, both in there late teens, go off on there own. Not to much trouble there. But you need to know that off the main strip and away from the straw market its not that good a place for young men to step out of line. Its not horrible and really never in danger, just don't step out of line. So I gave them my rules, time tables, and where to meets. Then "They Gone!" Know that there are no drinking laws, that are enforced in this area, so if you have teens going off on there own do your best. I anticipated this, gave my warnings of death and destruction. They did come back with rum and cigars as gifts for dear dad, and they were full bottles and un-smoked.
After we met up with boys, I carried the girls bags back to the ship, we then went off to cabbage beach. It was absolutely beautiful. Our cab driver came to check on us a couple of times, to make sure that we were ok. The beach again was beautiful, but the vendors are incessantly pushy. He helped shooo them off a couple of times. once they got the picture, they left us alone. we were right smack dab between cabbage beach and the Atlantis beach resorts. The boys took a walk with mom up the beach and all shared that its beautiful as well. My wife said that there isn't as many vendors on the Atlantis side.
After the beach on our way back to the ship.I rewarded the boys with a cocktail at Sharky's Restaurant and Bar. When in Rome? The bar was about to close, one of the owners met us and promptly sat us down on there upper deck. The Conch fritters are awesome and the frozen drinks are smooth and we had a great view of the port. The service was great and friendly, even though they were closed well before we left.
Boarding the ship on the return, they had two gang planks open, and might have been 5 minutes to get back on. No problems. We turned in the bottles of rum my sons bought me, and on the last night of the cruise, they where in my stateroom waiting for me to pack.
The only bad thing about Nassau, is we didn't spend more time there. Every one had a BLAST!
We rented a car and drove up to Daytona Beach to spend the morning with family, and the beach in the afternoon.
The shuttle to Budget Rental was waiting for us and the ride to the office was less than 5 minutes. From the time we left our stateroom, off the ship, in our rental car, and on our way, was less than 20-30 minutes. We had a great day up in Daytona Beach. Getting back on the ship was a breeze. It may have been 15 minutes from rental car drop off to our stateroom and ready to freshen up for dinner.