We drove to our port, which was Port Canaveral, Florida. It was about an 8-hour drive for us. We did sight see on the way...St. Augustine and Ormond Beach. We spent the night in Ormond Beach area. The drive to the port the next morning was about an hour, but it went very quickly with the 4 of us talking about what we are going to do once we get there.
Parking: We dropped off our bags...you would have thought we were running away from home for all the baggage we had...we tipped a dollar per bag...we expected that and planned for it. Parked the car $12.00 per day cash or credit card ahead of time. Parking is NOT COVERED. Walked to the building. Short walk, with small carry on, not a problem.
Embarkation: We were told to go right on in and start the process of checking in. We were practically the first ones there. I do like being early. It was about 10:30 or so. Showed our documents, signed our sign and sail cards, the declared us cleared and sent us on our way to the waiting area. We were in the front row to board. I don't think we waited long maybe about 45 minutes and were told they were ready for us. We proceeded to get our first picture taken of our group.
Photo stations: Stop often and have fun. I have a small picture fetish that must be fed. I purchased only 3 on this trip, but it didn't stop me from having my photo taken at almost every opportunity. The small photos are (I think) $7.99 for a 5 x 7 or a 6x 8. There are all kinds of stations...dress up western, black and white, formal and casual...and many others. No obligations to buy, I never felt pressured to buy (wanted to, but would have spent a small fortune). They now have a digital photo station that will print your photo off your digital memory card. The price is the same as the local CVS or Wal-Mart...29 cents...I did print about 20 or so wanted something to show off when I got back.
Food: I love food. Our group loves food. We didn't go hungry. The Lido deck rocks! Food was plentiful and lines were reasonable. They had sandwiches, pizza and the buffet. The dessert bar...YUMMY! If you went hungry you didn't look around much. They would make you any type of sandwich you asked for and put on extra meat or even toast it. Pizza was delish.
Formal dining room: We were at a table for 8. We were all ladies sitting at this table. The only bad thing was it was the late dinner sitting. I prefer the early one since I like doing other stuff after dinner. Our waiter was "Sammy". He was great. He knew how to work us ladies, he had us all laughing and smiling. Sammy made sure we wanted for nothing. He learned what we like to drink and had it waiting for us. He also knew we liked to order multiples of everything. He never made us feel like it was a hardship. One night I was pondering between one appetizer and another one...he said...you know you want to try them both...I will bring both of them for you! On the last night we celebrated our friends' birthday...almost a month early (they didn't mind), they brought her cake and sang to her...it was the best present we could have given her.Shows: First off I love watching the shows. My friends were not into the shows like I was so they left me to watch and wonder how they learned all those moves. They did catch parts of the shows, and were impressed, but they wanted to see more…and they did.
Ports: Freeport was our first stop. Since I was there just a few months before, I knew going to the beach at the Westin/Sheraton in Lucaya was our best bet. They had shopping and restaurants. We hailed a cab and it was $10.00 (I think for all 4 of us) each way. We lazed on the beach, shopped in the shops, saw the casino (I deposited a small bit there-my money was visiting the money I left there during the summer). We then went back to the ship and looked around at the pier shops. Our second stop was Nassau, since I hadn't been there another one of our group took charge and we booked a snorkeling excursion. We were sailed out to a private island, given a lesson, mask, snorkel and fins if you wanted them then led out to the beach and let loose. We were there for about 2 ½ hours or so. We were given a lunch and a drink (plain or alcoholic). They had loungers out and if you wanted to rest you could…ours just held out stuff. This place was beautiful it looked so untouched. I think I could have stayed all day. We boarded the boat back to Nassau where we split up to shop and sightsee. I found Senor Frogs and made my purchases (a friend wanted a t-shirt-so I got her one and me too!). Went to the straw market…think very big tent, very crowded and narrow aisles and you will have a picture of it in your mind. I looked and touched, but no one pressured me to buy. Since it was a late sailing my friends went ashore that night to look around while I was at the show (you can see Senor Frogs from where were we berthed but to get there was a longer walk than I wanted to take that late at night).
Debark: We elected to take our luggage off ourselves. We packed the night before and were ready when the call came. We ordered room service for breakfast, which was promptly delivered. It took about 40 minutes to get off from the first call. So we were in the car and leaving the ship by 8 am.
Conclusion: A good time was had. I know I had a great time. I am already thinking of where I am going for the next cruise. My friends also had a good time, but I don't think they are as "cruise crazy" as I am. If you haven't cruised before try it and you will like it. Always remember you make your own vacation, if you go into wanting to have fun you will. I am an optimist, you make your own happiness. GO CRUISE!