We rented a car and drove to the port which we probably won't do next time. 11 hours was just too long to drive especially on the way home. Embarkation- We arrived at the terminal around 11am and were on board for 12:15pm enjoying those killer Lido burgers and the Rum Punch. We were able to go to our room by the time we finished lunch and checked out the view from the balcony. Our luggage arrived in due time and we unpacked everything. Also got the room steward to unlock the mini fridge so that we could put our own drinks in there and put their can drinks in the cabinet. Soon it was time to head to the Burgundy Bar to meet some peeps from the roll call message board. It was nice to put some faces with the user names. lol Before the ship set sail, it was the ever popular lifeboat drill and everyone must attend. This is pretty boring but a necessary evil that doesn't really last that long. After it was over we hoped to change our dinner time to 6:15 which is what we asked for when booking the cruise. We let the Maitre'd talk us into staying with the 8:30 time and since we liked the other couples at our table, we stayed with the later time. It worked out ok, but we still prefer the 6:15 time.
Nassau- We didn't book an excursion here and went straight for the Straw Market to buy some purses and wallets. You can get some good deals but have to bargain and be willing to walk away if the merchants don't come down to your price. After shopping, we took a carriage ride around town which was very nice getting to see the local sights. Popped into the Hard Rock Cafe for a drink and headed back to the ship. St. Thomas- We arrived a little late to this port and got off the ship almost an hour after we had planned on but was no big deal. We booked an excursion thru Carnival called, Meagan's Bay & Paradise Point.($39 per person) The open air truck took us up the steep roads to P.Point so we saved the cable car fee to get up there. The view was amazing and the bushwhacker drink was very yummy! After about 45 min, it was time to head to Meagan's Bay Beach and it was very nice. Calm, clear water bounded on either side by mountains made for a picturesque setting. We even saw a couple sea turtles swimming nearby. The 2 hours here went by fast and we were taken back to the ship, where we changed into dry clothes and took a taxi,($5 per person), into town for some shopping. We ate lunch on the waterfront at a place called The Greenhouse and the food was very good and not too expensive. After lunch we took a taxi back to the ship and watched the sun as it set behind the mountains.
St. Maarten- As with the previous port, we booked an excursion thru Carnival called, St. Maarten Island Tour.($35 per person) This was a bus ride around the island with a stop in Marigot, the capital of the French side of the island. We heard about the fancy public restrooms in the mall there so we checked it out and were impressed. We did some shopping at the flea market on the waterfront and then boarded the bus to return to the ship. We went to our cabin and changed into swimsuits for some beach time. We took a taxi to Orient Beach.($6 per person) We had lunch at a place called the Pirate which was right next to Pedro's. I had found a coupon online for this place that saved us money.( buy 2 lunches and get 2 drinks, 2 beach chairs, and an umbrella for $12. Common cost is around $18 for 2 chairs and an umbrella.) As advertised, there were some people tanning more parts of their bodies than others, but it didn't bother us. The water here was also very nice and after a few hours we headed back to the ship. Ship- Having sailed on the Conquest last year, we were familiar with the layout and had no trouble getting around. We liked the color theme and enjoyed everything.
Cabin- We were upgraded to a balcony room on the Conquest and were so spoiled by it that we will always pay the extra for a balcony room on ships of this size. First of all, it makes your cabin feel bigger having that small outer extension. It is also nice to wake up in the morning and sit out on the balcony checking out the sunrise, weather, scenery, etc.. It is especially nice to be able to take pictures of the ports from the comfort of your room. We have no problems booking interior rooms on the Fantasy but on this size ship and 7 day cruises, you will not regret having the balcony. Our cabin steward was very polite and did a wonderful job with our room including giving us extra mints after dinner that we asked for.
Food- We couldn't wait to get on the Glory to enjoy those great burgers on the Lido deck. Our waiters at dinner, Kokapan, & Rosauro were probably the best we ever had, and the food in the dining room was delicious as usual. Thanks to Carnival for making the warm chocolate melting cake available every night. We ate breakfast in the dining room a couple times and on the Lido deck the rest of the time. Great pizza and the food from the deli was very good. We ate dinner one night in the Emerald Room and found the food quality to be a step above the dining room with great service, although they don't sing and dance like the waiters downstairs.( we do enjoy that)
Entertainment- We didn't catch as many shows as last cruise but the ones we saw were fine. Wee Jimmy is so much fun and the rest of the staff was entertaining as well. Maybe it's just me, but it does seem like they do bingo 24 hours a day.Disembarkation- We were off the ship by 11am and had to wait a while for the shuttle to the airport to pick up a rental car. It went about as smoothly as it can go. Getting over 3,00 people off of the ship is a daunting task and they do try to make it happen as quickly as possible. This was our third cruise, all with Carnival, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. We are already planning our next cruise.