We quickly made our way to our balcony cabin 6282 on the Upper Deck, we were right off the main glass elevators, but noise was not a problem at anytime during the cruise due to the location of the cabin near the elevators. We checked out the balcony and then made our way up to the Lido deck for lunch as we had not eaten since around 7 that morning we landed in Charlotte and had 3 ½ hours between flights. We had enough time to eat before the muster drill. We made our way down to muster station D for the drill, the other passengers began making their way as well. By the time the alarm sounded to signal the start of the drill just about all passengers were in place. Gary, the cruise director made an announcement that we would be just a little late in leaving. If you looked over the side you could still set that luggage was being loaded. At a little after 5 we set sail for our first port of call, Nassau. As we had early sitting for dinner we decided to make our way back to the cabin to see if any luggage had made it yet, all 4 of our pieces had made it, I was surprised as we were one of the last groups to embark.
The seas were a little rough, but I have seen rougher. (Shows in the main lounge, the Amber Palace) would be cancelled 2 nights because of rough seas and for the safety of the dancers and performers. Some passengers were upset, but Carnival can not control the weather and since I was not at home and not working this did not upset me, after all I was on vacation and I was going to have a good time rain or shine. By the way it rained 5 days.
We arrived into Nassau before 7 am and we were off to explore before 8 am. I was disappointed in the fact that there were 3 ships in port, Carnival, Disney and Costa that morning and none of the stores or the Straw Market were in any hurry to open. We walked around for 2 hours, had a drink and pastry at Dunkin Doughnuts while waiting for stores to open. We walked through a few and then took a taxi over to Atlantis, 11.00 total for 2 people from downtown to Paradise Island. We explored both inside and outside ( as much as they would allow without a tour ticket or room key.) We caught a taxi back to the ship for lunch as we were to be back on board at 1:30 to set sail at 2:00 for St. Thomas.
We spent the rest of Monday and all day Tuesday at sea while cruising towards St Thomas. We were due into port at 10:00 on Wednesday and were scheduled to be in port until 6. Once again it was raining and an announcement was made that most shore tours had been cancelled because of the weather. We set out anyway determined not to let the rain dampen our trip. The streets and stores were crowed as 6 ships and close to 18,000 tourists were all shopping at the same time. We had pre-purchased tickets to Paradise Point and caught a taxi from downtown back to the tram up to Paradise Point. The lines move quickly as it takes 24 people up every 7 minutes. The views from 700 feet up are amazing. We ordered lunch and drinks, we got our drinks but after 30 minutes still no food so we paid for the drinks and left back to the ship to eat.
The weather began to clear and the sunset in St Thomas was beautiful. It was getting time for dinner so I did not get to see the sail away. The Epic and Disney and Royal Carribean ships had already left port as well.
Next stop San Juan PR, we arrived at 7am and waited until about 8 am to disembark and explore. The cobblestone streets of Old San Juan were small and charming. We set out along the city walls towards one of the Old Forts, once there the biggest downpour began and we had to purchase rain ponchos from the gift shop to keep from getting completely drenched. As it started to let up we decided to take a taxi back to the ship. By the time we arrived it stopped raining so we walked across the street to Senor Frogs for lunch. I had never been to one, we skipped the one in Nassau. This place was a blast, one big party.
After lunch back to the ship and time for the Past Guest Party (can you say free cocktails) I think some people did not attend as it was scheduled 30 minutes after we were set to set sail for Grand Turk. The staff served us drinks and snacks and played a video and thanked us for coming back again and again.
We arrived in Grand Turk to the first real sunshine of the Cruise. The water was simply amazing, crystal clear and shades of blue not seen along the Atlantic coast. Princess had a ship due in at 1 so after some shopping at the Cruise Center shops, we decided to go ahead and grab a table at Margaritaville to beat the crowds. The local population on the island is about 3,000 people, and with two ships fighting for beach space, the population was now closer to 9,000. Still it did not feel crowded.
Well, it was now time to get back on board and head out for one last day at sea and back to Miami and the real world. The last day at sea was sunny as well. I was able to enjoy the water slides and hot tubs and just plain relax. Sad to see the cruise come to an end.
We purchased a Miami South Beach Tour which meant we would be one of the first groups off the ship. We were to meet in the MDR (main dining room Golden dining room at 7:30 am) We were checked in and then they cam to lead us off the ship at 7:50 am. We collected our luggage, cleared customs and waited for the bus to take us to South Beach, we waited and waited and waited some more. Finally the bus moved to the terminal next door to pick up guest who just got off the Carnival Valor. And then we waited some more, finally at 9:10 we were on our way. Not so sure it was worth the 40.00 to get off the boat that early, but our flight was not scheduled to leave Miami until 2:50. After we dropped people off at Jungle Island we were off to South Beach where we had almost 3 hours to explore before the trip back to the airport.
Now some details about the ship. There were really no long lines anywhere for food. The Deli was good as was the Burrito Bar and Mongolion Wok Bar. We did splurge and eat in the Emerald Room Steakhouse one night and it was worth the 30.00 per person. Food was exceptional and you are made to feel as if you are the only people in the room. Would do this again on the next cruise.
Room was large comfortable and inviting. It was cleaned every time we left, even it was for a few minutes, it almost as if the Stewards hide in the closet and pop out when you leave. The crew not matter what their position was friendly and always spoke. They were also always cleaning and working, I don't know when they ever slept or took a break.
This has to be the best cruise (besides the weather) that I have ever been on. We are considering doing this one again next November to see if the weather is any better.