We decided to fly down a day before our cruise being that we live in NY and could have weather issues. We took Southwest and stayed at the Marriott Springhill Suites. It was a nice hotel and they did provide transportation from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the ship.
When we got to the ship they allowed us to move to the head of the line being that we had a child in a stroller with us (I HIGHLY recommend bringing a stroller for this process alone) and we were onboard within about 20 minutes of arriving. The rest of my family had to wait in the normal lines and it took them about 45 - 60 mins I believe to get on board. Overall they said that the wait was not to bad. I have read some reviews saying that you should bring an umbrella stroller. I have a graco metrolite and it worked perfectly. It fit in the door of the room without a problem and when not in use we folded it and put it in the corner. We opted not to take a car seat and I am glad that we didn't More
bother. None of the cabs have seatbelts so we wouldn't have been able to use it anyway.
Once on the ship we were not able to get to our rooms so we decided to go eat lunch. We went to the deli and had tuna and also went and got some fries and chicken nuggets from the outdoor burger area. We decided to get the fountain pass as well. WARNING ABOUT FOUNTAIN PASS: The bartenders totally ignore you when you have the fountain pass. Apparently they do not get tips from it and therefore do not want to serve you. It is a hassle almost every time to get a drink! You are allowed to bring with you a six pack of drinks per person so we decided to bring bottled water and it worked out well. The ports were beautiful and we had perfect weather. The big screen on the lido deck was awesome. The movies and superbowl were great to watch as long as it wasn't to windy out. We were getting totally blown away the day of the superbowl. The food was very good for the most part. There is a sundae bar always set up in the aft (back) corner on deck 9 (Lido Deck). The deli was very good but kind of hard to find. It is in Emilie's on the Lido deck on one of the sides (if you are standing at the doors where the slide is and are facing in looking at Emilie's it would be on your right side). The slide was a ton of fun and was open several times during our trip. As for our ports of call the only thing that I would say is DO NOT GO TO CORAL WORLD in St. Thomas and don't bother booking the tours of the island from the ship. There are always cabs waiting to take you on tours or to a beach and it is 1/4 the price of the ships price. You can also strike a deal with the driver to come back and get you if you want to go to a beach. Coral world was a complete waste of money. It was $15 per person and we were done in about 45 minutes. It was a complete joke. However, I would definitely go to Atlantis in the Bahamas. Don't take the water taxi, take a land taxi. It is $1 more but the water taxi is a bit on the dangerous side. THE ROOM: Ok, I decided long ago that my review was not going to be like others that I had read prior to my trip. I wanted to give as much detail about the ship and stuff instead of the ports of call.
We were on deck 1 and had a full window. My 3 yr old is 38" tall and was able to stand in the window with a bit of room above her head(just to give you an idea of the size).As a side note, the rest of my family was on deck 6 and had balconies. The room itself is the same exact room (minus the balcony of course) but their room was about 3 ft smaller in length due to the balcony. The room had tons of closet space, including 2 HUGE drawers under the couch/bed (most people don't know about these drawers). We had the mini bar emptied so we could put the water that we brought on board with us in there. Quite honestly, that wasn't worth the effort as it didn't stay very cold. In the bathroom there were disposable razors (bic), soap, toothpaste, pepced (all sample sizes of course) but you could get replacements if you needed to. Though they did give a bunch of hangers, I would bring more, especially if traveling with a child who has smaller clothes. I was going to do that and chose not to at the last minute but wish I had. There are 2 actual available plugs in the entire room (1 in the room itself and 1 in the bathroom) so I would HIGHLY recommend bringing a power strip. I did this and it was perfect. There are no clocks in the room so make sure to bring one with you. The beds were very hard to us so we asked for them to make it softer and they put extra blankets over the mattress. It did make it bearable but was still to hard for my liking. They give you 2 beach/pool towels in your room but don't be afraid to ask for more. We had 6 in our room at any given time. Camp Carnival was not great for my daughter. Though she did love it (it is a big playroom with a house and kitchen and toys etc) the counselors were not very attentive to her. At any given time there were no more then 5 kids in the 2-5 yr room. One day my husband went to get her and they didn't know where she was. It turned out that she was playing with keys in a door to the office of the play area. The next day when I went to get her she was playing with a garbage can (having the time of her life mind you) but there were no counselors anywhere in sight. To me this was completely unacceptable. Camp carnival is great (at least it seemed great) for the older kids but I don't know if I would put her in again until she was in the 6 yr old room or higher. The only good thing is that they give you a cell phone in case there is a problem and they need to get in touch with you. THe nice part about this is that you could call anyone on the ship and they could call you so you always knew where people were (we traveled with a group of 14). I did bring walkie talkies with us which were also a god send. I highly recommend doing this as well with or without children.
RECOMMENDED PACKING LIST THAT YOU MAY NOT THINK OF: bottled water or soda ziplock bags (to put ice in so your drinks stay cold in the cooler) soft cooler (to take on the beach with you or to the pool) clock hangers power strip pen walkie talkies plastic bags for wet bathing suits from the beach over the door hangers for drying bathing suits