We were planning on parking through a cheaper location but my husband liked the idea that we pay to walk right back out to our car when we get back, so we decided to use the ports $16/day parking. We pulled in and had boarding passes and ids looked at then had to go through a long line to drop us all off with our luggage and wait for my DH to go park and come back. We then walked in to go board! Mind you we were first timers to this all so we had no idea what to expect. We also brought a 12 pk of soda for each of our 3 kiddos (which we didnt drink all of the liquor or soda). We took our carry-ons and soda and went through security easily. Put luggage and purses through machine, walk through xray machine. Then got in line with Carnival reps. Lines weren't that long but we weren't instantly up either. Gave them ids and birth certificates and took each one of our pictures for our sign and sail cards. They stop you for a picture as you board and then we were on the ship!
Our room was already to go so we instantly went to drop off our carry ons so we could walk around and eat lunch. We put 2 adults and 3 (13,12,11) kids in one room. snug yes, but we weren't there to enjoy the room, we were there for the cruise and the Bahamas! After lunch we did our Muenster Station and then I ran to the spa giveaway (didn't win). Then met the family to finish the kiddos Club C registrations. I pre-registered so it was an easy process. Gave them names and got itinerary. DD is 11 (going on... well... yeah) but is mature and bday is in March. She tried out the younger group the first night and we paid to have her stay until 12:30 after we went to the adult comedy show (GOOD TIMES with Scotty K). She was quite bored so the next day we asked to move her with our two DS (they were not happy LOL) but Club C had no problem moving her up. They were gone every day for the most part usually until 1:30 am! Met lots of friends and we never got a call from security so we figured they were behaving. We also demanded dinner together and left post-its in the room for all of us to update each other on whereabouts.
1st night was a bit rough seas and my first time on a boat.... I took dramamine a bit late and left dinner early... when we returned to our room we couldn't access it. Nobody could. Turns out the battery in the room lock was dead. It was not fun sitting outside while waiting to get in (though they did have our stewards boss come and wait until maintenance arrived to let me in). Got in my room and laid down while they switched out the battery. Tried sleeping but kiddos kept running in and out. Eventually when my husband came back to tell me how the servers just danced to Apple Bottom Jeans I figured I should get out of bed and force myself through my paid vacation. We went to the show Motor Works (I dozed off and on) but my DH said it was great. We then went to the adult comedy show and sat in the front row, which of course meant we got picked on, which we didn't mind.
2nd day which was at sea began and I already felt MUCH better. We tried our luck at the casino, sat by the busy pool (don't dare try to get in the luke warm hot tub with the 30 kids that need their parents to actually correct them). We dressed up and went to meet the captains and get all those fancy pics done to have some options to pick from and went to dinner. Many of us ordered 2-3 starters each night in the Sensation Dining and even 2 entrees occasionally. Loved our servers Anold, Dunja and Andre! Kids then disappeared for their elegant night dance party and we changed and went and enjoyed the 21+ hot tub for a bit, back to the casino and then this mama tucked herself in for a long day at port in Nassau for the next day :)
3rd day we woke up and got ready. We went and grabbed breakfast then got off to go meet Captain Freddy to parasail. We paid $350 for 5 of us to parasail and had a BLAST! I am afraid of heights so a few obscene things may have fallen out of my mouth... but I took advantage of my lifetime experience! We were done around 10:45 after we began at 9 and then walked around the island a little bit ending in Junkanoo beach. My daughter and I got our hair braided for $25 each from Bridgette. She will tell you more, just bargain.. I am sure I could have gone lower even. We got drinks and chairs and my daiquiri tasted like koolaide with no rum :( for $8. Didn't order more drinks from them! Left at one and went to find a place to eat lunch at. Stopped by Senor Frogs which was expensive and a long wait. Ended up at Sharkees after grabbing some rum from Tortugas. 5 of us with 2 sharing a plate and 2 daiquaris was still about $90. Then hit up the straw market. You will be pressured yes. But say no and keep walking if you don't want it. My oldest turned 13 that day and used it to his advantage with bargaining his own money. Kid had skills! LOL By this time we walked around downtown then headed back to the ship after grabbing a few cuban cigars. Got on the ship and handed over our rum then went to the room with our goodies and then we were off for the night on the ship again. We had a BLAST that night. Danced on the deck, drank, made friends and then headed back to the room. They did announce during dinner that due to weather, our day at Freeport was cut an hour early to try to beat the weather back to Jacksonville. Understandable but not great news though.
4th day. Woke up, got dressed and headed out for our excursion to Paradise Cove to Deadman's Reef for snorkeling. 2 other families joined us from our ship and it took about 25 minutes to get to the Reef. Driver was nice, talked about history and culture of Freeport and answered questions. Got to the Reef and was given equipment, then explained about what to do in the water (don't stand on certain areas etc.) went into water and 1st timers like us were given directions for equipment and we were on our way! Was gorgeous! Only downfall was no warning about sea lice. Which all but 1 of the 7 of us are still itching from 9 days later. Son got stung by a small jelly fish. They did give us vinegar for all the bites though back on shore. Headed back at 11:45 to hit up Freeport's small Straw Market. Far less pushy than Nassau and not as big on bargaining. That night though back on the ship was the roughest yet as the storm was hitting us. They closed off all upper decks for access. Went to bed early..... felt like we were sleeping on a waterbed that someone was jumping on.
5th day. Woke up and got out of room a little after 9. Went up for breakfast. They were running behind on debarkment.... was told in the chaos of leaving that it typically wasn't like this.... Good. It was terrible leaving! Didn't get off the boat until 12:30ish....
Would we do it again? Sure... was told if we could survive that last night then we could do any rough seas on a ship. The kids LOVED it and the activities offered. Was a great cost and the employees were all nice on Carnival! We did tip our Steward and servers on our last night additionally. I work in the service field for 16+ years... in my blood to over tip :)