My husband and I have been on 4 RCL cruises, 2 with Norwegian and 4 with Carnival. Our two daughters (20's),(who have been with us on 6 of those cruises) and their boyfriends joined us on this adventure! We flew from CA two days before and stayed at the Barbazon on Ocean Ave. in South Beach. Our TA set up a shuttle van from the airport with http://www.fortlauderdaleshuttles.com/ ($15 pp) The Barabazon is a private condo building, we rented a 2 bedroom with a fold out couch for the 6 of us. I found the condo thru VRBO, we really enjoyed being right in SB and all together. We had booked 2 rooms at the Doubletree, but it would have been twice as expensive! The building is an Art Deco style with very thin walls, Saturday night was loud and well after midnight the music from next door was playing, but Sunday night was very quite. Since we had come in from the West coast, we were up late anyway. We rented #218.
We took the same shuttle service to the ship on Monday @11AM for $10 PP. We went right in, thru check in and we're on the ship in no time. Had a late lunch in the WJ, nice selections. We had a JS and the 4 others shared a room on deck 5 (right near the anchor-noisey @CocoCay!) We had plenty of room for all our items and the 4 of them were fine in their room, but we did spend alot of time out on our balcony. We had late dinner at #14 with just the 6 of us, great service, great selections, the guys eat plenty! Breakfast in the dining room was fast and good the 3 AM's we eat there, the kids preferred the WJ. Two of our group enjoyed the rock wall. Always found a chair around the pool area whenever we needed one.
We got off the ship in Nassau and did the Frommer's self guided walking tour that we found here on CC.
After a beer at the HRC, it was hot, we took a water taxi ($3PP one way) to Paradise Island. We walked around, hit the casino, and downstairs to the aquarium. Back on the water taxi for a late lunch at the WJ. That night is also formal night and welcome back cocktails. Enjoyed the show also. A late night buffet was held up on deck around the pool, more food and lots of dancing!
Next day is CocoCay, we took our time and didn't leave the ship until around 11AM. Found a place at the beach, and went snorkeling (we brought our own stuff) had a snack at the BBQ and enjoyed their CocoLoco drink in the take home glasses. A sting ray was seen close to shore, a lion fish and a few other fish, but not alot where we were. That evening was cocktails for Crown and Anchor members. The captain spoke and answered questions. One question was "why did we sail in a circle last night", the captain stated he sailed around a rain storm so the deck party wont be ruined!
Next day was Key West, I had made reservations with Fury Adventures on line to para sail for the 6 of us. We went out at noon and have a great experience! Four of us had lunch, while two others rented a scooter for the afternoon. We all went to the southern most part of the US and took afew pictures. Returned to the ship for our last evening! Enjoyed the Signed, Sealed and Delivered show that night. A few went and enjoyed the Quest game, but had better times playing on other ships. We also won 2 of the trivia games, prizes were bad compared to before.
We decided to not use the preferred check out because you had to be at the waiting area by 6:45AM, instead we put our luggage out, had breakfast in the dining room and left the ship around 8:30AM. Getting off was easy, found all the luggage, got thru customs quickly and caught a shuttle with our rental company right out side the terminal to the airport to pick up our van as we were driving up to Tampa for a family wedding.
It was a short, but very enjoyable cruise!