It's an easy hour drive to the Port of Baltimore from our home. We travel with our son who turned 8 on the cruise.
Embarkation was a breeze, very well organized. We were one of the first families eating lunch on the Lido deck at 12:15! Good selection of freshly made items to choose from: grilled chicken breasts, veggy burgers, hot dogs and burgers with all the fixins. Loved getting the food hot off the grill.
Room were ready by 3:30 and muster drill at 4:00. Sail away was approximately 5:00 p.m. We lucked out with sail away weather, the temps were in the low eighties, sunny and warm!
Main Dining Room (MDR) food was very good. Our wait staff, Bang-Bang and Yoga were the best. We were treated like royalty and our son now knows what it's like to be treated like a Prince! Food could have been a little warmer on some evenings, but not bad enough to send back or not eat. I imagine that feeding a thousand people in a sitting is not an easy task and getting smoking hot food would be virtually impossible. We liked the nightly selections, our son tried and fell in love with the pumpkin soup and chocolate melting cake. They have a kids menu with all the usual fare: chicken fingers, pasta, burgers, peanut butter and jelly and the kids can also order food off the adult menu.
We also enjoyed eating breakfast in the MDR a couple of times. The food is cooked to order and there are no lines or waiting for tables. The MDR is only open for breakfast for very short periods of time and usually closed by either 9 or 10 a.m. (check the Fun Times for daily info).
The ship is immaculate and even though it's been in service for over 10 years is very well maintained. We noticed some upgrades since she came out of dry dock six months ago: new carpets in public areas, a Serenity Deck in the back of the ship for adults only, flat screen televisions in the casino and a good cosmetic make over.Our room steward Rinaldo and his assistant kept our room in tip top shape daily. We never once had to request anything. Clean sheets, towels, toiletries, filled ice buckets and of course, those much looked forward too towel animals every evening.
Our son loves Camp Carnival (CC) and is in the 6-8 year old group. He would eat dinner with us (with the exception of the last evening when we allowed him to eat dinner with his CC buddies) at 6 p.m. and then we would drop him off at CC to attend the evening's activities. Two nights, they took the kids to see the shows and after one of the shows, they had an up close and personal question and answer session with a Pride dancer. Another night, they had a disco party and there were activities in the CC area as well. He made a mask, had a late night party, played video games and enjoyed making new friends.
Camp is free until 10 p.m. CC now has fees for the late night parties which include a 15% gratuity charge. The fees begin at 10 p.m. every evening and change depending on the activity and how long it lasts. You pay the full fee even if you pick up your child before the activity ends. The highest fee was $20 and included a CC nylon bag with some goodies inside. Most of the kids from his age group were picked up between 11 p.m. and midnight.
Port Canaveral wasn't our favorite port. Took the shuttle bus to the beach and Ron Jon surf store. We walked around in the rain for most of the time and the skies were gray. Of course it cleared up by the time we returned.
In Nassau we went to the British Colonial Hilton and bought day passes so we could enjoy their property. Water was calm and warm and lunch was decent. Did some shopping on Bay Street after swimming and ate at a local restaurant where we had fair Bahamian food that was very over priced.
I wish they docked longer in Freeport. You have to be back on by 1:30 p.m. for a two o'clock departure which doesn't give much time to explore the island. Public beach near Our Lucaya is free and good way to spend a couple of hours. Bring beach towels as there is no where to sit or chairs to rent.
Zorbas in the Lucaya Marketplace is our favorite place to eat an early breakfast and lunch. They serve authentic Bahamian (and Greek and American) food at reasonable prices.
Sea Days were always fun and relaxing for us. There are many activities available or you can just relax near the pools or on deck. Chair hogs grabbed almost all of the chairs by ten thirty each morning but we found more chairs on upper decks but they weren't near the pool.
We enjoyed the adult comedy shows while our son was in CC. The casino staff were most pleasant and greeted us by name after the first evening.
This is a great family ship. The crew are professional, efficient and exemplify wonderful customer service. There are activities for all ages and Camp Carnival is a nice diversion for young ones.