We left SC for Port Canaveral on Friday 5/9 at around 1 am. After making a few stops along the way, we arrived at the Radisson on the port around 10 am. (I suggest that if you are going to be staying at the Radisson and will be arriving before the normal 3pm check in time, you should do the online check in on their website and you can enter your arrival time and they will have your room ready). For the price ($129 which includes breakfast for 2, free parking for the length of the cruise, and a shuttle over to the port) this was one of the nicest hotel rooms I have ever stayed in.
We arrived at the port around 11:30 a.m., and were on the ship within 30 minutes...I was expecting at least an hour wait but...they rush you right through which was awesome!! We had lunch on the Lido deck and then went to our cabin (Upper Deck 6373) at 1:30 pm to put away our carry on's. We met our cabin steward Renato from the Philippines, who was great and took really good care of us all week. We then changed into our bathing suits and headed back up to the Lido deck to get some sun. We headed back to our cabin around 3:30 p.m. to get ready for the dreaded muster drill, and our luggage was already there. We had time to put a few things away and then the announcement was made to head to the muster stations. This wasn't so bad, but I was really mad that sail away started during the muster drill...I mean come on, you can't wait 5 more minutes!!!! Anyway, we pretty much ran through people with life jackets in hand and up the 5 flights of stairs to get back up to the Lido deck to be able to enjoy what was left of the sail away.
Nassau: We were some of the first in line to get off of the ship. We walked through town caught the #10 A Jitney over to cable beach and got off right in front of the Wyndham and Sheraton resorts. We then went inside and bought a day pass for $15 each which includes the use of their beach, lounge chairs, pool, and other facilities. The beach was beautiful, was not crowded, and the pool was awesome. After hanging out here for a couple of hours we took a cab back into town and then had lunch at Senor Frog's. After lunch we made a mistake......and walked through the straw market. Not fun......people pestering you to buy something, braid your hair, give a $20 donation and they will give you a little beaded necklace, etc...oh yeah and it is at least 100 degrees under this big white tent with so many people and stuff everywhere that you can barely walk through. We got out of there as quickly as we entered, and headed down the street to get a T-shirt from Hard Rock. At 2:00 p.m. we were sailing away from Nassau, and on our way to St. Thomas. After enjoying the sun and the waterslide we went in to get ready for formal night. We then went and had some formal pictures made which all turned out great and we spent way too much money on them. We had late seating for dinner (8:15 p.m.) in the Platinum dining room and only ate dinner in the dining room on both formal nights (Sun & Thurs). The food in the dining room was delicious. Our waiters were great and brought my husband an extra lobster tail without us even having to ask. Our table mates never showed up either night....but that is ok, it would have been nice to meet some new people though.St. Thomas: We had to go through immigration before getting off the ship which was a pain. It took about 45 minutes of waiting in line until we were finally cleared and able to get off. We had a tour with Godfrey's tour company (which I highly recommend!!) Godfrey was great. I just can't say enough good things about him. He was 30 mins. early to pick us up and since not everyone that had booked the tour had gotten off of the ship yet, rather than make us wait he took us downtown and dropped us off for some shopping and told us he would be back to pick us up. Next we made our way to "Mountain Top" for some great photo opportunities and Godfrey told us some more about the island. Afterwards, we were then given the choice to spend 2 hrs at Coki Beach, Megan's Bay, or Sapphire Beach. We chose Sapphire Beach since we heard that it would be the least crowded.
St. Maarten: This was my favorite port!! Orient Beach here we come.....It costs us $14 (for both) for the taxi ride to Orient Beach since there was another couple that rode in the taxi with us. The taxi driver was very informative and told us about the island being half Dutch and half French and the reasons for this. We were let out at Bikini Beach which seemed to be in the center of Orient Bay. We then walked onto the most beautiful beach we have ever seen and will absolutely be going back there for sure!! The sand was so soft and powdery, and the water so clear! I pretty much had to pry my husband from the lounge chair and drag him back to the taxi because he did not want to leave...lol. The only problem we had at Orient Beach was that every 5 minutes there were people walking up and down the beach wanting you to buy necklaces, or bracelets, or towels from them....and they seemed to get mad if you said no thank you...but I didn't care...I was on vacation and did not want to be harassed! After getting way too much sun and ready for some lunch we took a taxi back to the ship. This time it was $18 since no one rode with us. We had lunch on the ship, took showers to get the sand off and headed back down the dock to take the water taxi over to town for some shopping.On the last 2 days the seas seemed to be really rough. The ship swayed back and forth pretty bad and you could see people walking side ways down the halls including me. I also have to give major props to the Glory Dancers, it still amazes me at how they can get up on stage and dance with the ship moving back and forth so much...they were great!! I talked to several people who had actually gotten seasick on these days, and our cabin creaked and vibrated even though the captain said there 10 ft swells. My last cruise on the Carnival Imagination, you could not even tell you were moving but on this ship.....you could most definitely tell!! I never got sick but I was taking Bonine twice a day. My husband only took Bonine on the first day and was fine for the rest of the cruise....he still says that it is all in your head....and if you think about it too much you will make yourself sick.
I also have to say that Ami Castro, the main singer on the Glory did a fantastic job....she is really talented and I am sure that Carnival is not paying her what she is worth. The other guy that was singing with her in the Rock down Broadway show was terrible. They could have probably found someone out in the audience that could sing better than he could. The shows were good especially Justin Illusion and the Legends show on the last night. During this show guests dress up as different musicians and sing and dance on stage. We had James Brown, Elton John, Gloria Estefan, Britney Spears, Madonna, Ricky Martin, Aretha Franklin, Elvis of course, and Frank Sinatra who brought down the house. The cruise directory Mark Price came out dressed as Dolly Parton and danced to 9 to 5 which was hilarious. He did a really good job all week.
Debarkation was slow and we were some of the last people to get off the ship (around 10:15 am) Next time we will carry our luggage off ourselves so that we will not have to wait so long.
This was a great cruise and we had a lot of fun.