The last time we were on this island was a couple of years ago and was still under construction. We intended this to be a beach day and had our own snorkeling equipment with us. The island is gorgeous and the weather cooperated. We had a wonderful day at the beach and saw a ton of fish. The snorkeling was great.
My only complaint was the tendering process, which we booked on the interactive television in our room. We were assigned to Group A, which made me think that would get us on one of the first tenders to the island. The tendering process was so disorganized. Groups A, B & C were all called at once to the Breakaway Theatre for tendering and it was basically first come, first served. It took a good 45 minutes after arriving in the theatre before we boarded a tender, all the while listening to Skooter talk. I recommend you get there early even if you book an early group.
Although the weather was overcast, we took an excursion to Blue Lagoon Island. The boat ride through the harbor and to the island was very nice. You will see Gilligan's Island along the way, as well as many beautiful properties and islands. The intent was to spend the day on the beach, however, when we arrived, we first went to the shops which were nice and not overpriced. Then we stopped at a dolphin tank to watch the dolphins because they are absolutely amazing animals. The dolphins and sea lions were well taken care of and seemed to love people and their trainers. Most of these dolphins were born in captivity. There were some who chose to interact in the water with the dolphins and they seemed to have a great time. We spent a good deal of the day watching the dolphins. In fact, at one point, we were on a bridge watching trainers interact with them. The trainers saw us and had the dolphins put on quite a show for us.
The beach was beautiful with abundant lounge chairs, hammocks and umbrellas. There is a water play area with blown up floats that we did not use. The lunch that was included was delicious and they gave you plenty of food. There were hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, ribs, corn, salads and quite the spread. The food was good and was served under a pavilion, where a gentleman was playing the keyboard and singing reggae music. The entire staff on the island were great.
Well worth the $60 per person for this excursion, especially if you want to view dolphins up close or interact with them. There are 3 tenders returning to the ship - one at 1 pm, one at 2 pm and one at 4 pm. Due to the inclement weather and an ominous storm approaching, an announcement was made that the last tender would be at 3 pm and we took the 2 pm back to the ship. We will definitely do this excursion again when in Nassau so we can enjoy the entire beach experience as well.
As I said, we have taken this itinerary several times. We once went to Sea World for the day and once went to the beach. We have no interest in the Space Center. Therefore, we opted to stay on the ship and enjoy the pool and the beautiful Florida weather. Florida, incidentally, was the only state in the US on that particular day that had no snow.
Since we spent the day on deck, I will take this opportunity to review the outdoor spaces on the ship. There are 2 pools and a Nickelodeon themed pool for the small children. On the various decks, there were plenty of lounges and we had no problem ever finding one. In fact on one sea day after leaving the Bahamas, I ventured to Spice H2O, which is an adult only aft deck. I wish I had found this area sooner and I recommend you take a full tour of the ship when you get on it so you don't miss out on some great areas. Spice H2O had comfortable chairs, hot tubs, loungers, a bar and the elusive Sabrett hot dog stand was there all day. There is a small smoking section by the bar and at the bar on the starboard side. There are also double beds with very comfortable cushions on which I was able to enjoy a nap. The large movie screen showed nature pictures and tourist spots when a movie was not playing.
We are smokers and are considerate about it. I have read reviews that said there were too many smoking areas on this ship. I have to say I disagree. In fact, compared to other ships, we had to seek out a spot to have a cigarette. There is the small spot in Spice H2O, and some outdoor sections on the eighth floor. On the main pool deck on level 15, there is only one small enclosed area (with 12 seats) for smoking. I don't understand the people who complain that there are too many smoking areas outside. They were scarce and away from the non-smokers.
Since we were in port, I decided to venture to the sports deck to attempt the ropes course, which I was determined to do. There was a rock climbing wall that we did not try, several tube slides that looked fun but we also did not use, a mini golf course that was fun and a large basketball court. I signed the waiver, got fitted with a harness and walked up the stairs of the ropes course. I am afraid of heights and spent the first 10 minutes or so absolutely terrified and frozen in place. A nice young teenager came by and noted my fear. Mind you, the youth were zooming around this course like they were walking on land. This particular young man took the time to show me how to cross the particular obstacle I was stuck on, which got me moving. I did not get his name but his parents certainly did a great job raising him! Also, one staff member whose name was Elly, was very helpful and patient with me. I did not venture over to the plank because I knew I could hot possibly do that, so I took the set of obstacles that led me to the zip line. Once on the platform for the zip line, you need to run until the floor drops out and then the zip line was amazing. If you do not run, you will get stuck in the middle. Take the leap, it is definitely the high point of the ropes course. I did kiss the ground when I got back to the deck but am glad I conquered this course.