A quick review of the highlights--
Debarkation--got to the port a little later than I would have liked but literally sailed right on--the lines are very short in the 1:30-2:15 time window. I am VIP on Carnival so lines wouldn't have mattered but it was great to breeze through. Very easy parking ($15/day) with short walk to ship. VERY friendly staff.
Did a meet and greet with our CC friends at 5 and learned about Chef's Table! Limited seating so we RAN to the maitre d to sign up--$75 each (more later!)
Room--The economy has taken its toll so we had an interior cabin for the first time ever--it was just not a big deal and I didn't feel deprived (though I DO miss breakfast on a balcony).
Fun Days at Sea (Days 1 and 4)--gym, spa massage and pedicure, steam room every day, walking up on deck, soaking up the sun on the quiet Sports Deck, a little casino action at night. Oh, yes, and on second try won our 4th (count 'em--FOUR) plastic ship on a stick for trivia. WE ROCK!
Shows--Trevor a terrific CD, shows excellent, including the ever popular, guest talent show, last night cancelled due to high waves, hysterical R-rated Roman worth the late night.
Food--We focused on quality, not quantity and ate breakfast and dinner in formal dining room. usual excellent service and quality food. Great dining partners--a couple from jacksonville on their first cruise. Did the $59 3-bottle wine deal--perfect of a 3 day cruise. the highlight of the trip was splurging on the Chef's Table. A tour of the galley, champaigne, appetizers, followed by sit-down dinner in the library with each course introduced by the Chef and the wine never stopped pouring. Just 12 of us. It was one of the best meals I've ever had. We got a chef's cookbook and a photo as well. 3.5. hours of pure pleasure and worth every penny. Ask about this BEFORE it gets announced in the daily FunTimes.
Key West--We lunched on board and then headed straight to the Art & History Museum. (but took some time as we were at the dock at the naval base--NOT the one right downtown). But this is a terrific musuem that gives you a great sense of the history and significance of Key West. Then we walked to Hemingway's House (after a quick, productive stop at the very toney Fairvilla Megastore store! and some art galleries). Icing on the cake was to be there for the Veteran's Day Parade--not like any other parade, I'm sure. Fun and patriotic.
Nassau--my fifth time there. I always recommend a walking tour for first-timers but this time we grabbed a cab to Cabbage Beach. A little too rough for swimming and the regular sales pitches for hair-braiding, jewelry etc weren't over-bearing. But wouldn't go back again.
Perfect weather except for the rough seas on the last day (a winter-cruising risk). But for my money, Carnival is the absolute best value for fun on the seas.