Upon arriving in Port Canaveral and seeing the number of people around, we didn't know what to expect. Embarkation was quick, from the time we entered the terminal to the time we were checked in and boarded the ship a total of 40 minutes had passed. (Boarded 11:15am) Once aboard our rooms were not accessible until 1:30pm, we were off to the Lido Deck for a bite to eat. After that we walked around the ship (where we were able) to get our bearings and pass some time.
This was our first cruise and we decided to get a room with a balcony, we had a room on the 6th deck, mid-ship near the elevators. Great location and although we were near the elevators, it was not noisy at all. Our stateroom steward was fantastic! As soon as we walked up to the door he called us by name, he greeted us every day when we saw him and the towel animals that he left us were great! I loved coming back in the evenings to see what new animal was waiting!
Dining was great! Breakfasts included an omelet area where there was always fresh fruit and cold cereals available. There was also a hot breakfast buffet area where you could have, eggs, bacon, ham, french toast, hash browns, bagels, etc. Something for everyone. Lunches provided a lot more variety, there were buffets with all kids of salads and meats, fruit and dessert. Some of the different restaurants were only opened during lunch time. The pasta bar was good... you could choose what you wanted and they cooked it there in front of you, while you wait. There was a buffet with hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries. There was also a 24 hours pizzeria, off the Lido and a deli located at the back of the ship where you could get all kinds of sandwiches. During lunch hours, on deck 5, they would Barbecue... this was easily missed as usually if you were going to eat, you ate on the Lido deck. This BBQ buffet was great, they had mini burgers, ribs, quesadillas, etc. Again, lots of variety! Supper, we chose to have the "anytime dining". We could choose to go to the Crimson restaurant for supper or just have the buffet up on the Lido. We only ate at the Crimson twice, food was great though... service was fantastic! Even the wait staff would stop mid service and dance for the entire dining room. (very entertaining) I would highly recommend for dessert the warm chocolate melting cake (request 2 scoops of ice cream) and this is only available in the dining room.
Shows in the Encore Theatre were fantastic! We attended every night. These were a must see... they done Broadway type shows, had a hypnotist and their "Dancing in the Streets" show combined singing, dancing and acrobatics. They had a comedy show at the Burgundy Lounge almost every night, these were a must see as well. During our sailing we saw Percy Crews II and Louis Nixon, who were fantastic, they usually done an all ages show in the early evening and an R-rated show around midnight. (you had to be there early to get a seat for both)
We had 2 Formal nights on the ship, we did get dressed up for one of them. Throughout the night they had areas set up where you could have you pictures taken with different backdrops. They actually done this every night. We purchased a few pictures, I have to say I was very impressed with them.
The cruise director on our ship, Josh, was great, as was his staff.
Some reviews have commented on the smell in different areas of the ship, we never noticed any smell.
We did take advantage of the water works area and enjoyed the water slides. We also played several rounds of mini golf.
Debarkation was quick and easy... Our stateroom steward had all debarkation instructions and tags on our bed the afternoon prior to debarkation. We exited according to Zone number which was provided with instructions.
This was our first cruise and will definitely not be our last.
Being our first port of call and the shortest port of call we decided not to book any excursions here. Once docked in Nassau, we exited to boat and headed in towards the city just to look around a bit and buy a few souveniers. Going through security on the way back to the boat was long, not much organization to it as there were lines leading in from a couple of different areas. Once through everything was smooth though, I'm sure they were just being thorough as to not let anyone through that shouldn't.
My favourite port of call! We booked the "Shipwreck Cove Beach and Shopping" excursion, which included a catamaran ride with snorkeling and then onto the beach and shopping time. We took a catamaran ride to Pirate's Cove where we anchored to do some snorkeling. I myself am not a swimmer and hadn't planned to go in the water, my hubby was going to do the snorkeling. Once there I ended up getting into the water (in my shorts) with snorkel gear and swimming around a bit before getting back on the catamaran. My hubby enjoyed the snorkeling. I would never have gotten into the water only the tour guides were so friendly and helpful and made me feel so comfortable. I know I would have regretted not doing it and so thankful I did! The catamaran guides provided us a small lunch and some rum punch!! Once back to the beach area, we done some souvenier shopping before walking along the beach. Lots of shopping here for souveniers, lots to look at and lots of pics taken. I thought this was the best port for shopping, however the beach sand had a lot of shells, making it harder to walk barefoot on, but still beautiful.
The only bad thing I can comment on about this port of call was that when we arrived in the morning there happened to be a sudden strike of the pilot boat drivers, because of this we were an hour late getting in to port and our excursion ended up being rushed at the end. This had nothing to do with Carnival, it was the island workers. Carnival were actually very quick to rectify the situation and sent in a small boat from the ship to pick up a worker to guide in the Dream. We had booked the "Ultimate Island Experience" for this port of call. This included a few stops throughout the island where we were able to take some very nice pictures overlooking both the harbour and Magen's Bay. We were then taken to Magen's Bay Beach where we were dropped off for 2 hours to enjoy the beach and surroundings before being picked up again. I can certainly see why Magen's Bay Beach is ranked as being one of the top beaches in the world. It's absolutely beautiful. Once we were picked up here, we were then brought to our final destination, Blackbeard's Castle. We were greeted here and given a small tour which included a tour of the "Rum Factory". Samples of the different rums were available to us as well. Once we finished at Blackbeard's Castle we could head down towards the city and shopping district. Unfortunately because of the delay getting into port, we ended up rushing through the Castle as we wanted to get some souvenier shopping done before having to proceed to the ship. Definately the best beach of the ports of call.