We planned this cruise 2 yrs ago. We booked a group through Carnival so we could get a good rate. We needed 8 cabins to get a refund of $900.00 to be divided to each cabin. We only got 7 rooms booked but we had 18 people and still got the upgrade on our cabins to the 8th and 9th floor, and each cabin received $75.00 onboard credit. We flew American Airline from Des Moines, IA to Ft Lauderdale the day before on March 25th. We stayed at The Springhill Suites by Marriott in Dania Fl. They had free shuttle from the Airport and to the cruise ship and signed up for a shuttle from the port to our next hotel for $10 per person.. We really enjoyed this hotel. We walked to Kmart (about a block away) to pick up some soda. We ate at a Mexican grill restaurant across the street from the hotel and I asked if they had pop to drink. The gal looked at me and said "what is pop?" I laughed and said its soda. We enjoyed the swimming pool at this hotel. We signed up for the shuttle to go to the port the next day. The rooms are large and have a sleeping area and a living room area.
On March 26th we ate our breakfast at the hotel. It was a great breakfast. They had hot food and the usual stuff like bagels, toast, and yogurt. I was surprised by the amount of people and bags waiting for the shuttle. We had to wait longer than our 10:30 time for a shuttle. We were picked up at 11am. When we got to the port it went pretty quick. We were on board by Noon. We ate lunch and couldn't find tables so we ended up in the back of the ship by the adult pool. The buffet was good, and I ended up also getting a hamburger which was tasty! When we were done with lunch we went to our rooms. We had a balcony room 8315 and our daughters ages 10 and 13 shared the room next to us in cabin 8319. We tried to switch the room but Carnivals policy is an adult must be in the rooms. So we asked for extra keys so we could get into their cabin and the girls could get into ours. We wanted to open the balcony's but by doing that one of the balcony doors would be blocked. So we just went with 2 balconies. We endured the muster drill, at least this time we didn't have to bring our life vests with us. I decorated everyone's doors to there surprise. Everyone seem to enjoy that, it made it easier to find there room! My daughter's door had gel decorations and a red crab. Someone kept taking the crab and putting it on other doors. It was broke by the end of the first day and stolen by the second day. That mad my girls upset but I told them it didn't matter they still had some decorations on there door. We ate in the dining room we had 2 tables. My brother, his wife and 15 yr old granddaughter switched from late dining to early. The rest of us had late dining. Our head waiter was Mark from India. He was so funny! Our other servers were Slammit and some name that sounded like Guthega. Mark to an instant liking to our grandson and every meal would hold him and always catered to him. At the beginning of the cruise it was hard to get ice tea but by the end of the cruise they knew we would ask. After dinner we to the welcome aboard show and then off to bed.
Sunday march 27th was a sea day. We ate in the dining room for breakfast. I enjoy the dining room for breakfast because I can order my eggs the way I like them and they have corned beef hash. The women went to the shopping talk and then went to the pool. I was going to go to the Cruise Critic roll call meeting but time got away from me and missed it. It was elegant night in the dining room. I had prime rib and it was great. My 10 yr daughter tried the lobster and didn't like it, but I figured it was a good time to try it!
After dinner we went to the Big Easy Show. It was awesome!
Monday March 28th. Our daughter turned 30 today so I had bought her a T-shirt and a tank top from Carnival that said "30 never looked so good" and had a picture of the ship on it. We were supposed to be at San Juan today but they took it out of our cruise to make it a sea day. We ate breakfast at the buffet and it was good. It was a lazy type of day. We laid in the sun, and had lunch in the buffet. I took my 10 yr old to get a Beary cuddly animal at the Camp Carnival. My 13 yr old decided she wanted one too. It was a great deal, they choose the animal and stuff it themselves for $20.00 it comes with a Carnival T-shirt. And extra outfits are $5.00. I let them each pick out an outfit. One got a pink jogging suit and the other got a sailor skirt and shirt with a hat. We got our daughter, son-in-law, my son in laws brother and wife and my husband and I together for a card game of Canasta. We ate at the buffet for dinner because my daughter wanted to do karaoke. She is a great singer and so we skipped the dining room to cheer her on. She did great at karaoke. She ended up being the legends show the last night of the cruise. We went to bed late but ready for the next day!
March 29th St Thomas.
We arrived in St Thomas at 7am. We had ordered room service for breakfast to save time. We got off the ship and had a couple of hours to kill so we went to the shops. They were all closed till 9. What a let down! So we just hung out and talked until or excursion time. We booked through Carnival a snorkel over a shipwreck. We had to walk to the end of the pier and around the bay. I didn't know there would be so much walking. When we arrived they offered us a glass of cold water. We needed that after a long hot walk. We got on a catamaran they called the "CAT". The boat was only a year old. The crew made it fun and a girl named Emily gave a tour when we were in the water and explained
a lot of stuff to us. She would tell us the different kinds of coral and sea urchins to us. She went down and got a porcupine sea urchin for us to hold. The Ship was cool, but I really enjoyed the divers and the air bubbles that were diving under us at the sunken ship. I think everyone enjoyed the excursion. Afterwards we went to the ship to shower ate at the buffet. Then we girls took a taxi downtown to go shopping. The guys took a taxi to a beach for more snorkeling. We went to Diamond International and got our free charm bracelet and charm. We enjoyed some of the signs, like pot fish...that must have been a happy fish! And another sign that said LIVE SALADS,...umm not sure what that was. Also a police parking only sign and the car in front of the sign had 2 wheels on the sidewalk. We stopped at the Harley Davidson store to buy the guys a T shirt. It was a hot day, but we had a fun day. We enjoyed our balcony on this day, as we cheered and clapped at the late runners. Our girls thought that was a hoot! We ate dinner in the dining room. The guys went to the comedian and we girls went to bed.
Wednesday March 30th we arrived at Antigua at 7am.
We ate breakfast at the buffet and got off ship after 8 am. The vendors are pushy on this island. We asked for a taxi to take us, we had a group of 9, to Valley Church Beach. A couple of ladies asked if they could join us, they were on a Princess cruise. The ladies had asked for a taxi and they were going to charge them $10 each way but we were offered $8 per person each way. The taxi driver called himself Doctor Mark. He told us things about the island on the way to the beach. When we arrived at the beach it was Beautiful. The water was so blue. It was a great beach. Not good for snorkeling as the water was cloudy blue. But shells are everywhere. We never have seen so many shells. The sand is so fine and soft in the water. They have chairs and umbrellas to rent. We rented chairs but skipped the umbrella. We sat up under some trees so we had shade the whole time. They also had jet skis for $45 a ½ hour. There were venders on the beach carrying there wares on their heads. We didn't buy anything. But they have restrooms and a shower that didn't have much water pressure but was nice to have. They also had a bar and a tent set up cooking Jerk Chicken. We bought 2 lunches to share so everyone could taste it. It smelled so good! The meal was $12 but you got jerk chicken and hot fries. It tasted great and was a large portion. The taxi came back when he said he would and took us back to the port. The taxi didn't have us pay until he picked us up. We went back to the ship for lunch at the buffet and went shopping. I would not recommend shopping at Antigua. They are pushy and won't leave you alone. I did enjoy a sign that said "Please do not relieve your self indiscriminately" So of course the guys line up with one hand on near the sign. It was the best picture ever! We left early to go to the ship as no one was enjoying the shopping. We again cheered on the late runners from our balcony. My 13 yr old blonde fair skinned daughter was now red as a lobster and in much pain. We used Neutrogena 100 SPF on her but she didn't reapply it often enough. She stayed in her room and ordered room service and the rest of us went to the dining room.
Thursday March 31st Tortola
We arrived at 7am in Tortola. We didn't really have any plans for the day but ended up doing an island tour with a taxi. 2 people in our group wanted to go to a beach where the son "Cheeseburger in Paradise" was written by Jimmy Buffett. It is called Cabbage Beach. There is a place called Stanley's bar and Restaurant that sells T shirts and of course Cheeseburgers. So they found a Taxi that for $20 per person will give you a tour of the island and stop at Cabbage Beach for 45min. So we agreed to go. There was 9 of us and we started to go to the open air taxi but was steered to the small bus. We were told it is better, it has air conditioning. Not given a choice we got on the taxi bus. The tour was good. The driver took us to a look out spot that was a bar with a look out on top. The bathroom was a dollar charge unless you bought a $2.50 soda then it was free. My son-in-law bought a Coke and handed it to anyone who wanted to use the bathroom so they didn't have to pay. The driver told us what the islands were. We could see St Thomas from there also. I will say the roads are very steep in Tortola. I would not want to drive there. The driver told history of the island but those in the back could not hear him. Some people in the front of the bus was complaining because the air was not on. The people in the back would not close there windows so the driver would not turn on the air. When we arrived at the beach it was a awesome beach. If I ever go back to Tortola I am going to go to Cabbage Beach and beach it the whole day! We found the place for cheeseburgers and of course ordered a cheeseburger. It was not bad! I was surprised by a swimmer, a lady about 40ish was swimming with no top on. It looked like she did that often as the Ta ta's were hanging low as the song goes! Do your ears hang low, o they wobble to and fro!
So we walked back to the hot bus and now everyone wants the air on. The driver said all windows need to be closed. So we all close our windows and the air is on but not very cool. So we are heading up a steep, and I mean steep mountain side when the bus starts smoking and stops in the middle of the mountain. Now picture this, the road is 2 way but is very narrow. On the side of the road is a wall of mountain rock and the other side is a very long drop! So the driver tells us to get out. We all get out dodging traffic going downhill. When you got off the bus you walked at an angle because it was so steep. The bad thing is we had old people with canes who needed help. So the driver has us walk to the top. Now I thought I was going to die. I was hot and walking a steep mountain with my daughters ages 10 and 13, and my grandson was with us who is 2. We took turns carrying my grandson because he got heavy real quick. So we made it to the top and of course tempers were flaring. The driver got the bus running but my husband and son-in-law refused to get back on the bus. Another taxi van picked us up and took us back to the port. The first driver was there waiting for his money. The second driver told us to pay the first driver and he would work it out with him. Come to find out they were ½ brothers so we paid the first driver and did some shopping. We found a place that sells spices and bought some spices and Jerk seasonings. The shopping was better than Antigua, but still lacked in shopping. We went back to the ship and laughed and cheered at the late runners again.
Friday April 1st another Sea day.
Me and my girls ordered room service because we booked the "behind the scene fun tour" The guys ate at the dinning room and played Bingo. The tour was really cool. We started in the library and went to several places. The control room, the bridge, laundry room, kitchen for the staff and seen there dining rooms, and the main kitchen, the steakhouse kitchen and the stage and back stage where the props and dressing rooms are. We had 3 pictures waiting in our room and a plate of chocolate dipped strawberries an several cupcakes. We also got a "Behind the Scene" lanyard and a back pack and a swan carved bar of soap. The tour lasted 3 ½ hours. It was a great tour. We also seen where the morgue was, it can hold up to 3 bodies. I will say the ship was very clean. No lint on the laundry room floor. The kitchen was spotless! We shopped on the ship and bought t shirts and they had a watch sale for $20. You got a watch and necklace and earrings. They had men's set also. I bought a man and a women set for my daughter and son-in-law who stayed home this trip with there new baby. We ate at the steak house for dinner. It was good. We went to the show afterwards. It was "a ticket to ride show", a tribute to the Beatles. It was very good. Then we went to the comedian show. When they say rated R they mean it. I guess I think you can be funny without vulgar stuff. But everyone else seemed to enjoy it. By the way since it was April fools day and the Fun times listed the captain as Captain Planet, Hotel Director as Mighty Mouse, the Chief Engineer as Professor X, and the Cruise Director as The Bionic Woman, Our CD for the ship was Ryan Fitzpatrick and was an awesome CD.
Saturday April 2nd Nassau
We arrived at Nassau at Noon. It was fun watching us go into port. The ship backed into port. We had a long walk on the port. We all commented the late runners would really have a long run today! We took a taxi to a beach right past the Atlantis resort. We had planned on snorkeling and did some. But to get to where the fish were we had to go far out and there were jet skis and boats with a banana ride on the back. One Jet Ski almost hit a man and after that we didn't go out very far. I did do the banana boat. A fast boat pulls a blown up banana looking thing. Me and my 2 daughters did it. It was fun. We took a taxi back after the beach and went shopping. There was much better shopping here. We had till 7pm when the ship left port, we bought more Harley Davidson shirts and I got a Hard Rock cafe shirt. We went back to the ship and was disappointed as there was NO late runners today. We ate in the dining room and enjoyed our last night on the cruise with one more Chocolate Melting cake!
Before we left the ship my 30 yr old daughter got a phone call that they needed her to fill in on the show. The karaoke winners were pick to sing in the show and a girl who was going to sing "RESPECT" by Aretha Franklin had a sore throat and wasn't going to sing. So my daughter had ½ a day to do the island and eat dinner and learn a song she didn't really know. She did an awesome job! Her 2 yr old son didn't recognize her with the make up and wig on. She was nervous but did great. The poor guy who did Elvis, at the end of his song he wacked the dancer in the head and the microphone and everyone burst into laughter. It was a great show with the CD dressed up as Dolly Parton.
Sunday April 3rd back at port in Ft Lauderdale.
We ate breakfast in the dining room and enjoyed our last meal on ship. Disembarkation was easy. We had paid for a pickup at the port and with 14 of us heading to the Courtyard Beach by Marriott every van that came was full. We ended up splitting up and going in shifts. We were upset because when we bought the transfers we were told to go to a van and they would take all of us together. The transportation was hot, and long. I would never do this again. I would just take a taxi.
Our Hotel was awesome! It was right across from Ft Lauderdale Beach.
We had a king bed and it had a couch that the girls slept in. The bedroom was separate from the living room. In our bedroom it was floor to ceiling windows with a view of the beach. Bubba Gump restaurant was next to our hotel so we grabbed lunch there since our rooms were not ready yet. After leaving Bubba Gump a sight my kids will never get over is a man wearing bunny ears and a pink velvet playboy Bikini. When the man smiled he had no teeth in the front. He was quite the display. A lady took his picture and he asked for a tip. My son in law said "I'll give you a tip, next time buy a bigger swimsuit!" We still talk about that man! We loved the beach and swam for quite awhile. We founf some more shells and later we ordered pizza for supper and played some more Canasta.
Monday April 4th flight home or so we thought!
We take a taxi to the airport. It was a large van and we were charged $8.00 a person. We had a very good driver who talked a lot to us. We had to stop for a drawbridge, which was interesting to see. When we arrived at the airport we had a 2 hour delay for bad weather in Dallas. It ended up being a 4 hour delay. When anyone would ask at the gate about there connections they would make an announcement that all flights were delayed in Dallas and all flight were running late, not to worry about your connections. I knew better, I used to work for American Trans Air before they closed due to bankruptcy. I knew you should not send anyone with out rebooking them on a later flight. But American Airlines did not do this. So when we got to Dallas we were told our flight had left and no seats left on the remaining flights. So we had to get a hotel at our expense and spend the night. I did buy insurance so now I am trying to get refunded. One thing I learned is to save everything. We have to prove what flight we were on and our whole itinerary. We have to prove the airline was late. I emailed the American airlines and got a form letter as a reply. We got home the next day April 5th at about 11 am.
It was a great cruise and am trying to convince the hubby to do another one in 2 yrs.