We sailed to the Bahamas on Jan 1 2012 to Jan 8. The ports of call were Port Canaveral, Nassau and Freeport. We embarked from Baltimore.
First thing First: The embarkation
This was a breeze. There were staff to help with everything from parking to luggage handling and embarkation. We had no problems at all, and the whole affair was over within 20 minutes maximum.
After entering the ship there was actually little assistance to find our room, but that was fine as we figured out where it is situated by asking passing by crew members. I would have preferred a little more guidance. But that was not a real big deal!
We had a safety drill and was then back to our rooms by 4. Our luggage arrived only a little later (it was a full ship) so if you want some immediate toiletries, clothes etc keep some in your cabin luggage. Meanwhile we were well oriented with the day events through a daily schedule and also the TV.
The room was spacious and clean, More
well lighted and just what we hoped for, with a spacious balcony ( I loved the balcony so much and really enjoyed the use of it). The bed was good and comfortable.There is lots of room for storage. The bathroom is tiny but comfortable.
The ship decor is Italian with Renaissance era imitation paintings and fixtures. Lot of chubby naked ladies all over. Over all for a ship I would have preferred something more brighter or fresh!
There is lot of food! Seriously food is plentiful! But sometime I was a little disappointed with the fine dinning options being pretty narrow and not very appetizing,after trying it twice I gave up and always went to the Mermaid Grille. The buffet is good and has cuisine from around the world.
The 24 hour dinning options are the typical Hot Dogs and Pizza which suited me fine.
The Fun Stuff:
The Daily schedule details all the events in advance. And if you like and enjoy Trivia, I am sure there is something you will love. I really enjoyed the Late Night Stand Up comedy, it was hilarious and amazing.
The Club was not so great but who cares there is a dance floor, drinks and music ( the DJ needs to buck up)
I did not enjoy the shows and avoided most of the Show times. It is not because they were bad but was too long and not interesting. The singers and dancers were good but I wish it was a little more interesting.
Every time I stepped out of the room and returned, the room would be clean! The house keeping crew was exceptional! In general everyone was helpful and cheerful. The Restaurant staff were also good.
But I was severely disappointed with the Gift Shop (Bon Voyage). To cut a long story short I had two surprises lined up for our first Anniversary and my partners Birthday, both of which did not go as discussed and decided. I had to remind them over and over again after discovering it was not available where we decided. My advice, do your own surprises! Really.
All the ports of call were fun. I did not book any shore excursions with the ship. Less
I stayed at the Empress Deck, Cabin 6230. The cabin is spacious with good closet space, great balcony and quiet location away from any clutter or clamor. The View depends on the location. The bath room is a little small.
I loved Nassau ! I visited Atlantis and enjoyed it very much, for a first time visit to Nassau I was not disappointed at all. The beach was beautiful, we had beach chairs and also towels to use near the pool and the beaches. I did not care much for the Digg,but if you have children I am sure they will love it. The Rapid river is a must!
Taxi's are easy to get and not expensive. Just ask the rates beforehand, to avoid any confusion. As we got off the dock there were many taxi's and van's ready! You will find coordinators around just tell them your location and they will direct you to someone. Paradise Island is just 10 minutes away and cost USD 5 per person.
Afterwards I did some shopping at the Straw Market (which begins to shut down around 6).You have to haggle there so be ready for it. The straw market is just opposite where the ship docks, so you can make a last minute dash too (half the shops will be closed but I had plenty to chose from till 8).But, things in Freeport were cheaper and you find the same things there! So if you are stopping in Freeport, shop there.