Baltimore- Sailing out of Baltimore was a deciding factor for this cruise. We live about 40 minutes away from the port so our daughter dropped us off to save the parking cost. We also did not have to fly to the port or stay in a hotel etc.
We arrived about 12:20 and were checked in by 12:40. We sat until 1:45 before we were able to board the ship. There were two wedding groups that were allowed to board first along with VIP boarding.
This was our 6th cruise but our first cruise on Carnival. We had 5 cruises with RCCL with one out of Baltimore. Carnival was the cheapest in price. In fact, this was our first balcony. The rooms were large with plenty of space to store our clothes and things. We put the suitcases under the bed. We brought our own water which was no problem. The bed was a little harder than ours at home but ok. I wish I could have brought a memory foam topper but the rest of the room was great. The bathroom and shower were larger which made my husband happy.
Once we were on the ship, we went up to the buffet to eat. The food was great but the pattern on where to get food was confusing. It was several stations in a large area. We eat mainly in the dining room so we were only in the buffet on port days for lunch.
We then explored the ship because the rooms were not open until 3:30 pm. Others have mentioned the decor and we were fine with it. One area had candleabras and looked like the Haunted Manison in Disney. There were 3 pools, 2 for families and one for adults. The slide was near the adult pool and we tried it (We are both 57.). There were plenty of chairs for the sunbathers although we are not pool sitters.
We like to look at the water and are usually walking on the deck but this time we were able to do some of our looking from the balcony. Once we saw dolphins from the top of the ship. Another time we saw dolphins from our balcony coming into Port Canaveral.
The first night in the dining room was sit whereever. I did not understand it. But we sat with some nice, young people on their first cruise. We always eat the first seating. The ship went under the Key Bridge while we were eating but we had seen that on another cruise. We went under the Bay Bridge after dinner and we have pictures of it.
The entertainment was ok but similiar to other cruises. They had their dancers and singers several nights. We went to the ventriloquist who was great.
The casino was tight until the last two days. We played 4 out of the 7 days. I won some money on the nickel machines the last two days. On sea days, the casino opened at 8:00 am. We played bingo several times but did not win. Bingo is cheap, $10 for one card or $20 for a triple card. They play more than one game on a card which saves on paper. They also had a second chance drawing if you signed your used card and put it in a box. They all kinds of raffles and we tried every one but did not win. I got my ship on a stick the first time at Bingo for checking the balls.
They had the Love and Marriage game in the afternoon on the second day. I was happy to see it in the afternoon because on other ships it is usually late at night. My husband and I were chosen for the "old couple" because another older couple did not want to do it (They were married 50 years.). The new couple was one of the couples married on the ship. For the middle couple, they had plenty of volunteers. So they had to do a few things before they were picked. We had a great time and enjoyed every minute of it. We got a couples head and neck massage at the Spa as a gift. We also got some wine. They played the show 24/7 on the tv and every one knew our names. Of course, we had to buy the video.
We were lucky to have calm waters until the last day. Most of the time we did not know we were moving. On the last day, it was windy so people were not allowed on the deck. People went to the casino and the buffet which we busy.
Port Canaveral We had been to Disney and Kennedy Space Center before so we decided to go to Coco Beach. I guess I should have asked more questions. It was a shuttle ride to an area near the beach and a few stores. I thought it would have a boardwalk like Atlantic City or Ocean City, MD. But it was a beach and a few stores. The shuttle was not supposed to go back until 1 but one bus went back about 12:15 which we took. We could see Kennedy Space Center in the distance from our balcony.
Nassau-We took a cab to Atlantis and looked at the grounds and the fish tanks in the hotel. We missed the outside part of the tanks because we did not know how to get there. I was going to buy a t-shirt but the cheapest were about $35. On the way back, we were the only 2 people in the cab. So the driver took us to a few places. We saw the Queen's staircase. He also took us to their government house. He talked to the guard and he let us in. We had our picture taken with another guard in the front of the building. Then we went to the straw market. Someone on another site said that they had alot of fake purses. The Coach purses were not fake just older models. I bought one for my daughter for $25. The same one in an outlet store in the US was $99. We bought a few things and then went to the Pompey Museum next to the straw market. It had a display about slavery in the Western Hemisphere. It was $2 to get in. You could not take pictures which I would have liked to do for my students. The building itself was used to sell slaves so we got pictures of the outside of the building. We stopped at a few stores and then headed back to the ship. It was hot that day so we came in early. We could see Atlantis from our balcony.
FreeportWe only walked around the port area which had several stores and a band playing. This was the third day of ports in a row so we took it easy.
David's We went there on Sunday and had a great meal. It was well worth the extra money. My husband had a 24 oz. steak and I had lobster and steak. Great service. I had a hard time eating the dessert. Music from the bar in the Atrium came up to David's so it was perfect.
Soda cards and coffee cards - On the first day we bought soda cards at the main bar. We can't drink so these were great. We could also get juices. Katherine at the atrium bar knew after one day that we liked cranberry and pineapple juice. The music at the atrium bar was wonderful. My husband bought a coffee card for $11 which gave him 5 speciality coffees.
Pictures -We posed for several pictures and bought 4. They were about $21. One day they had dress up in Western outfits which was fun.
Spa-My husband likes acupuncture (It helps with his nerve problems.) so he went twice. We went when he could get a discount (usually the first or second day). You get another discount with a second or third treatment. Plus we had a free massage from the Love and Marriage game.
The Morning Show with Kirk and Matt-If you are up at 6:00 am, watch this show on the tv. It is funny and you become a part of a secret group.
Have I forgetton anything? We really enjoyed our first balcony whether we were sitting on it or looking out from the room. Carnival gave us a great price on it. We will cruise on Carnival again especially out of Baltimore.