My wife and kids just retuned from our first cruise as a family. Wife and I are in our early 40's and our kids are 22, 11 and 9. The oldest has was on 1 cruise on Carnival over spring break with 10 guys so probably a little different experience this time. This being our "first time" I spend some time of this site and got lots of tips from past cruisers(thank you) which was helpful. I was also very worried after reading so of the reviews that had been left. I operate a luxury car dealership and customer satisfaction and treatment is key for me and I'm very cognizant of poor service. So again, I was very afraid.
We booked 2 mini suites on deck 9 (9249 and 9253). the 3 kids stayed in one and we stayed in the other. Really saw no benefit to spending more for a higher deck and after returning still feel the same way. Rooms were right by the elevators and stairs right below the pool area, could not have asked for a better location.
When down on Wednesday and stayed at disney for a few days and drove into Miami Saturday morning. Returned the rental car at the airport and loaded the 5 us and 11 pieces of luggage onto the free Alamo shuttle to the port. Arrived at port at noon, porter took bags and we were on the ship eating by 12:30. Quick tip, when the buffet is packed the first day or breakfast time go down the stairs to the restaurant below, access is at the back of the buffet dinning room. Rooms were ready by 1:30 and we were unpacked and poolside by 3. After leaving port we ate steak and lobster in the Manhattan room. Steak was very small not not really good but whatever it was -22 degrees back home. Went to Howl at the moon (1 of 4 times) and it was terrific.
Sunday and Monday was pool days. It was busy but whatever. Ate in the buffet a lot the first 2 days and it was fine. Lots of choices.
Tuesday was Saint Martin and we had rented a jeep from Hertz for $150. Not the cheapest place to get it from but liked the Hertz brand for peace of mind. Had a GPS with all the places to go so we toured the island. First went to the beach by the airport for a few minutes then moved a few miles to another beach and rented a few chairs and umbrella from $15. Had a great lunch at a stand right on the beach and moved on to more sightseeing. Lasted stop at Orient Bay and it was great. Lots to see. My 11 year old saw his first topless woman on the beach so he enjoyed that :)
Wednesday in St Thomas we splurged and did the Second Wind Private Charter. I read about it on trip advisor and could not pass it up. They picked us up from the dock and took us to there beautiful 57' motor yacht. You have a captain, a chef and a dive master and it includes breakfast, snacks, lunch and an open bar. Food and the experience was truly amazing. It was $1200 plus tip for a private charter which sounded high at first but when you consider the cost of a snorkeling trip with 50 other people to a place with 500 people swimming and that cost almost $200 a person this is a bargain. We have be fortunate enough to have done some cool things in our life and this is now at the top of the list.
Wednesday night wife and I left the kids and had a couples massage. It was marginal at best and for close to $400 after tip was not worth it. Thought it was kind of silly that you have to pay an additional $45 per person to use the spa facilities after buying a service but what do i know. We then had dinner at Cagnys. It was good.
Thursday we hung out a the pool and such and friday we went into Nassau and walked around for about an hour. The city was fine but we didnt put a lot of effort into finding much to do.
We saw Legends in Concert which was ok. Steven Tyler was awsome. Katy Perry was not very good, and when did she become a legend anyway? Elvis was very very young looking and the act was just ok but had a great voice.
Blue man group was great a usual. We sat in the second row and had the plastic to wear but didnt need it. Would sit in the 3rd of further back row next time as the plastic go pretty warm.
Went to the Nickelodeon slime show and it was fine i guess.
Kids were sick for Circ show but heard it was wonderful. We had to cancel about 3 hours before the show and they refunded us with out fuss. very nice
Howl at the moon was killed. Drew and mike and the pretty girl(?) where so entertaining. Best show on the ship.
Staff was always helpful and very friendly.