I was very impressed at the debarkation process this time. Did not have to wait much at all. It really pays to have your passport in hand along with your Carnival Fun Pass. All in all it took only 30-45 minutes which is much better than previous times.
Having sailed twice on the Carnival Miracle we knew what to expect as far as getting around. I highly recommend a room with a balcony, especially if you are taking a Caribbean cruise. There is nothing like having room service deliver a continental breakfast to you and sipping your coffee from your own private balcony and watching a beautiful sunrise.
Our room was what we expected..nice and clean. The stewards come in twice a day to do the room. The beds are the most comfortable I have ever slept on..wished I could have brought the bed home with me. As an aside, there is no need to bring a hair dryer, beach towels, shampoo, or shower gel (less packing.) Plenty of closet space and drawer space. Room well maintained.
Dining: The first two days we had breakfast in the Bacchus Dining Room. Unless you request a private table for 2 or however many are in your party, you will be sure to be seated with complete strangers. There is nothing worse than being half awake and having breakfast with people you've never met before and trying to make small talk. I don't get to see my husband that much so we like to dine alone, although I must say, we did meet a lot of nice people on board. The rest of the breakfasts we had on the Lido Deck. I actually liked the selection on the Lido Deck. It seems they had more to choose from compared to the Bacchus Dining Room. The breakfast menu is always the same in the Bacchus. On the Lido, you have more choices. And the food on the Lido was just as good as in the dining hall.
For dinner, we always ate at the Bacchus. Every night was always a surprise and the service is second to none and we did have a private table. Lobster and steak were the main favorites on Elegant night. The 24-hour deli and pizza are not to be missed. 6 varieties of pizza, really good.
Unfortunately, I do have a negative to report... we decided to splurge one night and made reservations at Nick 'n Nora's Steak House. For $60, I was very disappointed. The service was great, the food okay (I liked the Bacchus food better) but it was where they seated us. We were seated only a few yards from an OPEN Kitchen...where you could see the steam rising on the grill, cooks/chefs making the meals.. you think at a place like that, the kitchen would have been out of view! To make matters worse, we were seated right near a door from the deck to the steakhouse where kids were coming in and out which was quite distracting. On top of that, a table of 12 rowdy and noisy patrons were close by. The night was anything but romantic. It totally did not meet my expectations. I am sure a lot of it had to do with where we were seated. Perhaps in another area, things might have been better. Live and learn. No more Nick 'n Nora's. Surprisingly we got a phone call from them the following day as I guess they realized we were not happy with the whole situation but they did nothing to compensate us for a horrible dining experience.
We spent most of our time on ship in the casino..the slots are very very tight. You are very lucky if you hit. It seems the last day the slots were a little more generous because at least 3 people hit big. The rockin' guitar player in the casino lounge was awesome. We really got into the music. We did not go to any shows this time because they were all re-runs from last year but if you've never seen them before, they are worth seeing.....much cheaper than the bingo. $10.00 a card for one game. You've got to be kidding!
Ports of call: For Grand Turk, we again chose the Gibbs Cay Stingray Encounter. We had so much fun last time, we decided to do it again. The stingrays are friendly and the Oasis company (who run this trip)have a photographer and sometimes a videographer on board to film your encounter. One of the best excursions ever.
On Half Moon Cay, we decided not to take any excursions this time. Just spending a day on one of the most beautiful beaches I have every seen was enough for us. Last time we took the glass bottom boat excursion through the lagoon. Very disappointing. Expected to see colorful fish..did not. Carnival has an open BBQ on this cay (pronounced key) which was great. Lots of food..always.
The third port of call was Nassau. On any excursion, be prepared to do a 15-20 minute walk to get to where the excursions begin. I truly do not understand why they make us walk to get here but provide a shuttle for our return right to the cruise ship. Anyway, we opted for the SeaWorld semi-submarine excursion and so glad we did. It is a great deal.. you get a narrated harbor cruise past Paradise Island and see the homes of the rich and famous and then board the semi-submarine. It was there we got to see the beautiful world under the sea, lots of colorful fish and coral. You actually at one point are 30 feet under. That was narrated too by a guide who pointed out the different species of fish and plants. I can't say enough about this excursion!
Unfortunately, I must bring this to your attention if you plan to bring a laptop computer along. We paid $55 for 100 minutes, plus an additional $45 hook up charge. We used about 10 of those minutes and logged off. at least we thought we did. It turns out logging out to the desktop screen is not enough. You must hit 1.1.1..of course we were never told about this so this used up our 100 minutes and we in turn only got 10 minutes usage for $100 bucks. Complaining did no good but we didn't know, so be wiser than we were~
All in all, the cruise what was what we expected. Next time might try a different Carnival ship or maybe even a different cruise line.