I went on this cruise with my DW 41 and DD 17. This was the third cruise for all of us. I was on a business trip in Tampa the week before the cruise. On Friday My DW and DD flew from Dallas to Tampa. I met them at the airport and we flew together to Miami.
Hotel: We stayed at the Homewood Suites by the airport. The hotel provided a free shuttle from the airport and within a 3-mile radius from the hotel. We took the shuttle to a strip mall that had a grocery store and liquor store. The mall also had a nice little Cuban restaurant where we ate dinner. The hotel was going under renovations and had a paint smell in the hallways. The suite rooms were very nice.
Embarking: We took a cab from the hotel to the terminal. The fare was $30 with tip. We arrived at the terminal around10:45am. We were able to start the check in process immediately. We had a short wait before we boarded. We boarded the ship at 11:45am. We went straight to our aft balcony room 8434 to drop off our carryon luggage. We were having lunch on the Lido deck by noon.
Room Stewards: Our room stewards did a very good job in cleaning our room. We had a small cooler that they keep full of ice. My main complaint about them was the timing of the turn down service. On our previous cruises the turn down service done during our dinner dining times. I signed a form the room steward provided verifying our dinner time. Except for one night the turn down service was well after we got back from dinner. This was annoying because on several nights we wanted to watch our TV shows before we headed to the lounge shows at 10:30pm. Also the night we were in San Juan the was no turn down service at all.
Dining Room Staff: Our dining room waiters, Arifuddin and Dewa were excellent. After the first night when we ordered iced tea, they had the sweeteners and lemon already on our table when we arrived. They were very helpful in explaining some of the items on the menu, asking on how our day went, and giving our DD an extra scoop of ice cream for her warm chocolate melting cake through out the week. They even went the extra mile on the second formal night when my wife did not join us for dinner after our day in Half Moon Cay. Without even asking they gave us warm melting chocolate cake dessert to bring back to my wife.
Saturday: The Muster Drill was at 3:45pm. We headed down early to the Oxford Lounge on deck 4. We were allowed to stay there with other pax for the muster drill. As soon as the drill was over we went back to our room for sail away. At 5:30pm we went to our Cruise Critic meet and greet by the rear Lido deck pool. It was nice to finally meet our fellow CC roll callers. Our dining time was 6:15pm in the London Dining Room. The food was very good. We went to the Welcome Aboard Show. The CD, Brad was not very entertaining onstage throughout the cruise.
Sunday: Was a lazy day for us. After breakfast I went out on our balcony to read a newspaper I brought with me. I laid down on the bed to watch the football games. Due to the gentle rocking of the ship I fell asleep and missed most of the game. Today was the first formal night. I went to the r rated comedy show, which was very good.
Monday: The weather took a turn for the worse as tropical storm Olga formed south of us. The seas were rough. The main Lido deck pool was closed as was all outside decks except for the Lido deck. I was in the Big Easy Lounge participating in a trivia contest when an 80mph wind gust hit the ship. This caused the ship to list. Everything that was on the vanity shelf in our room fell to the floor. It broke our digital recorder in the process. The rough weather caused us to arrive 1 1/2 hours late to San Juan. About 30 minutes after we got off the ship, it started raining. As we did not anything planned we took a taxi back to the ship. After eating dinner at the buffet I watched the football game in the sports bar.
Tuesday: St Thomas The weather cleared up. It was still windy. We did a tour with Godfrey. This was an excellent tour. They picked you at your ship and brought you downtown for shopping. Then they brought you up to Mountain Top. The view from there was breathtaking. The banana daiquiris were very good also. The tour proceeded to a hotel resort for a two hour swim. Along the tour they made frequent stops so you can take pictures. It was well worth the $25pp price.
Wednesday: Today was a sea day. It was raining in the morning. I decided to some laundry. Apparently many people had the same idea. The self serve laundry room were very crowded. It took about 4 hours to get 2 loads of laundry done. After we put our clothes up my wife and I went up to Lido deck for some ice cream. The rough seas caused a nice wave action in the rear pool. The kids in the pool enjoyed this. We went to past guest party. After the past guest party we found the sushi bar by the casino. It was very good.
Thursday-Half Moon Cay: What can I say? This is the closest as you can get to Paradise. This being December the temperature was in the upper 70s. The sand was very powdery. We rented a clam shell covering for our beach chairs so we would not get sun burnt. There were no rocks in the water. The BBQ lunch Carnival provided was very good. Some people brought some bread and cookies back to the beach to feed the fish in the water. Many schools of fish arrived. I can not wait for the pictures to come back.
Friday-Nassau: When we got off ship we found a local tour bus for an excursion. It took us to a fort and then to the hotel Atlantis. The Aquarium there is amazing. Afterwards our tour bus dropped us off by the straw market. That evening we went to the Carnival Legends show. It was very good. Debarking; We had a 4:40pm return flight. We thought about getting a Carnival excursion for Miami. That meant we would have to be in the Rome Lounge at 7:30am. After the excursion we would be at airport at noon. We decided when we got off the ship we would try to find a taxi to hire for a tour.
Our debarking number was 14.We heard our number called while at breakfast. We proceed back to our cabin to get our carryon. We headed to the Rome Lounge. After a short wait our number was called again and we debarked the ship. Once we got to the terminal we easily found our luggage on the carousel. I got a porter. who led us straight to customs. We could not find a taxi to take us on a tour. We headed straight to the airport. The fare from the seaport to the airport is $24. We were at the by 10:45am. The Miami airport was a zoo. It took us over an hour to check in at American Airlines. We were put on standby for a 1:40pm flight. We could not get on that flight. Our scheduled 4:40pm was delayed over an hour due to bad weather at DFW. We finally arrived back to our house at 9:30pm.
My DD enjoyed the Teen O2 club. She said it had a WII system. The Teen O2 director said there were about 45 15-18 year olds on the cruise. She met many new friends. My DW loved our balcony. She loved sitting out there watching waves go by when it was not raining. She said we can never cruise without a balcony. She noticed a lot more staff on this cruise. They were very friendly and helpful. Overall we had a great time despite the bad weather.