OVERALL RATING SCALE OF 1-10 (10 being great): 9.4
SHUTTLE FROM AIRPORT We flew into Ft Lauderdale in Miami the Thursday night before the cruise. We were picked up at the Airport by SAS transportation (which we booked two weeks before) $30 for two people from Ft Lauderdale to Miami. Driver was prompt and great guy (STEVE) highly recommend the pick up from the airport.
MIAMI HOTEL We stayed at the Doubletree Grand in Biscayne Bay. Great views on water side of Cruise terminals and South Beach in Distance with a Marina Down Below. Fantastic open air pool and Humungus Hot Tub Pool. Pools and Hotel Very Clean. MIAMI NIGHT LIFE Bayside is a harbor/marina down the street 20 min walk or quick cab. Great restaurants, outside live music and shops on a beautiful waterfront marina with great yachts to ogle. restaurants include Bubba Gumps, Hooters, a number of others which I cannot recall plus a couple great cuban places (we ordered appetizers as we barhopped) and there was also a great open air Daiquiri Bar whose bartender makes a mean one. He also looks just like Adam Sandler.
CRUISE SHIP ARRIVAL We took a taxi ride and arrived at the ship 12:30 in the afternoon and handed our luggage over to the outside handlers. (taxi and tip for handlers totaled $20). There was no line to get on the ship and they were serving a wonderful buffet lunch in the Windjammer Cafe. Buffet included Asian, salad bar, Carvery, Healthy Section..etc all good. Our Junior Suite was ready by 1:00. Everything was super awesome. Suite with balcony was very spacious and well laid out and very clean. We were disappointed when we saw one of the pools was drained and was being welded on. However it was fixed by the time we departed.
CRUISE SHIP DEPART Dancers came out on the pool deck with cruise director and started the party. Was a lot of fun on a great night with great music. Dinner was really great that night in the formal dining room with good company at the table. Waiters were great. Comedy show was fantastic that evening.
COCO CAY We anchored off CocoCay at 8:00 in the morning. Tenders came out every 20 minutes to bring folks to the Island. No waits. WE had a great breakfast at the buffet in windjammer cafe. Everything you can think of for breakfast was there. Leisurely left ship for CocoCay and arrived on Island. We rented the all day snorkel gear for $29.00 per person on beach (same as guided version excursion) You do not need a guide however and the snorkeling in the Cococay lagoon area was the best I've ever seen. Bring a banana out with you and the fish will surround you and be your best friends. They come close enough anyway. Could have easily stayed all day there. Fish were as colorful as you would imagine and varied in size from 3 feet long to tiny (2 inches?) very very fun. The CocoLoco drinks were strong and good. We decided to go back to the ship for a late lunch. That evening was the formal dinner which was cool. A nice three piece jazz band went from table to table playing awesome music. We were beat and went the schooner bar to watch the end of the the Alabama Georgia football game. GO BAMA
NASSAU We arrived at the pier in NASSAU early in the morning to a wonderful Caribbean rain shower with a complimentary rainbow. We decided to go to Atlantis to see the resort. If you are going to Atlantis DONT take a tour bus. You'll have to wait until they get enough people (20?) to depart. Go straight through the dockside shops to the main street and get a taxi (there are a lot of them). It was $10 with tip for two people. ATLANTIS WOW....this place is incredible. By far the worlds best aquarium. WEAR SANDALS not SNEAKERS as you will get your feet wet. OK depending on how shifty you are...here's a tip. We paid $70 ($35 each) to tour 'The DIG' which I think was worth it. This starts you through the aquarium section of atlantis from the inside of the resort. You could however walk through the backside by the pools to the beach (which is free) and go in reverse through the caverns and see Atlantis for free. The Beach is as beautiful Caribbean beach you'll ever see with awesome waves. You need to bring your own towel. I can't even describe the plexiglass tunnel that you can walk through under the predator (shark) lagoon. I could have stood there all day long and watched thousands of sharks, swordfish and rays amongst other fish swim at you at eye level then directly over you. Absolutely incredible. We went back to the ship and had another great buffet lunch and sat by the pool the rest of the afternoon sucking on wonderful frozen bar drinks and listening to great music. The pool is saltwater and very refreshing. The last nights dinner was fun and the waiters did a goofy little show. They give you your departure luggage tags this night. We were in no hurry to leave the ship so we went to the guest services and traded in our luggage tags(which are by color and by time) to a later ship departure time. We spent the rest of the night barhopping on the ship and having a great time. (They want all your luggage out side your door by midnight)
SHUCKS WERE BACK IN MIAMI. Awwww.....leaving vacation is always bitter sweet. You don't want to leave but you want to get home. We had a leisurely breakfast (ends at 8:30) then went back to a window lounge and rested and read our books until about 9:30. We strolled down and stood in a quick moving line for about 10 minutes before we were off the ship. (Customs is much much quicker if you are a US citizen) Customs only took about 5 minutes.
SHUTTLE RIDE TO AIRPORT OK....SAS transportation was great from airport to cruise ship. But we had to wait quite a bit. We finally saw the SAS van drop some people off who were now getting on Majesty for the next cruise. We went out to the Van with our luggage and he seemed surprised that we were his customers. He picked us up then we had wait to go to the Carnival ship and pick up 5 more people. Then went to the airport. The cost was $30 total for two people. Taxi to Ft Lauderdale for two people is about $60. So you save half the cost for very little wait inconvenience. If we were smart we would have went back to the Air Conditioned Royal Caribbean Departure Gate to wait for the shuttle. I don't know if they'd let you wait there with luggage however.