We got to FLL from Boston and took a shuttle (SAS Transportation) to the port of Miami. The cost was $15pp and I also gave the driver a few $$ as a tip. There were 4 others in the van who were sailing on the Carnival Imagination leaving the same day. When we got to the pier we had to fill out the medical form, show our passports, cruise e-docs and present a credit card. We also had to go through security and place our bags through a scanner as we elected to carry our luggage on-board. I packed a very small rum runner just to see if it would work, and it did! Don't worry my bar bill was still very high, especially for a 3 day cruise! We got there around 1:30 and our room was ready, so we dropped off our luggage and headed up to the top deck.
As we got to the pool deck, we were immediately bombarded by several bar waiters for "bar service" and we ordered a bucket of beers. You get to pick any 6 beers you want and they charge you for 5, the cost was $28 and change with the 15% auto-gratuity. My GF then got a mixed drink, be forewarned, they will automatically bring you any mixed drinks in the souvenir glass unless you specifically ask for a regular glass. Not only is the regular glass cheaper, but who wants to lug all the souvenir cups around all over the ship. We ate at the buffet (great outdoors) and the food wasn't bad (i.e. sandwiches, pizza).
After that, we explored the ship and found our bearings. We purchased tickets for the pub-crawl. It was $25 per person and included 5 drinks at 5 different bars, you do not pick your drink. You are put into teams and at each bar, you have to perform a task or game. The winning team will get a prize (range from a free shot to an NCL Flashlight). All in all, it was worth it. After the crawl we went to dinner at Crossings, it was lobster night. I devoured my lobster tail and licked the plate clean(we are from Boston, so I am bias when it comes to Lobster, there is nothing like New England-Maine lobster). I made a joke to the waiter that I "hated" my dinner, he turned around and brought me 2 more tails! We went to the show that night "Soul Rocking Nights" and it was pretty good. My GF is a dancer and she was impressed with their abilities.
Saturday, January 8th, 2011: Nassau
Ate breakfast at Palace, the service was terrible. Our waiter's name-tag said "Sr.Waiter" but he took our orders as if he were a trainee, he had a blank expression on his face and didn't seem to care. Also, you could see the officer on duty "yelling" at several of the staff to perk up. We ended up going to the buffet for some made-to-order omelets and waffles. We had both been to Nassau before so we just walked around town and went to Senor Frogs for a bit. Came back on the boat and just laid out. The Disney Dream was parked next to us and she is a beautiful ship. Several NCL crew were in awe at the ship as were most of the passengers. We went back to Crossings for dinner and it was pretty good. The menu is 2 pages: the left hand side changes every day and the right hand side is the "always available" and is the same everyday. After dinner we went to the comedy show, Rich Pupura, and he was very funny, much better than the comedian on the Crown Princess. After the show we went to the disco, Dazzles, to watch the funny drunk people on the dance floor.
Sunday, January 9th, 2011: Great Stirrup Cay
Went right to the buffet for breakfast. We got on the 2nd tender, about 10am or so. We must have waited in the tender boat (as it rocked violently back and forth due to waves) for at least 20-30mins. We finally got the island and secured beach chairs. As more tenders keep coming, the chairs filled up fast. Once on the island the bar waiters are very pushy and are constantly asking you for drinks. Just shake your head and say no. Be careful again of asking for a non-souvenir glass. We did the wave-runner jetski excursion and it was awesome. It's a guided tour, but not really, we got to go as fast as we wanted. I'd highly recommend that. For dinner, we went to the murder mystery dinner which was $20 extra per person. It was held in Crossings and the menu was done by the Le Bistro chef. The food was a tad bit better than the MDR, but not worth the $20 in my opinion. The game itself was not all at that great either, bottom line: skip this. After dinner, we went to the farewell show and then called it a night.
Cruise Director: Candi (she was funny, very friendly, and "good")
Good 1st cruise, my GF enjoyed herself, so we will probably cruise again. She wants to go on the Disney Dream since it looked so nice, so we'll see. I'm an NCL fan and I think the EPIC is next. Be wary of extra charges and drinks being offered constantly, just say no! The ship is very clean, but it's definitely an older ship. Overall, a 7.5/10 and no real complaints. Happy Cruising!