11 Jacksonville Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

The cruise was chosen for us by dance director, but it was perfect. The size of the boat was perfect. It was too small nor too big, we could locate each other within 15 min. Our room had 3 adults in it, we had a standard room and while ... Read More
The cruise was chosen for us by dance director, but it was perfect. The size of the boat was perfect. It was too small nor too big, we could locate each other within 15 min. Our room had 3 adults in it, we had a standard room and while times it was tight it worked well for us. The dinners in the dinning room where superb, along with our waiter. He truly new his job and treated us as royalty. The shows at night fit all our ages and were very entertaining. My oldest daughter (23) loved the comedians the best and my younger daughter (18) love the musical performances. We all attended the 80's and 90's music trivia which was fantastic. The cruise director Kevin, George and Lisa where awesome. We had so much fun talking with them. Every day we came back to a clean room which was serviced by Michael, he was also very interesting to get to know. We ate breakfast twice in the dinning room, same water and same superb service. The Tiffany buffett was also good food with a lot of varieties. Tiffany's also offers late night pizza which my kids loved. I enjoyed the ice cream/frozen yogurt. There was always plenty of deck chairs to sit at on every level. I enjoyed the top levels to watch the people and the clouds. The pool was small but they did offer two of them and an adult only pool. We went to two ports: Half moon cay and Nassau. Loved Half moon cay, we did not do any itinerary's as the beach and the ocean is plenty. The staff was awesome there too. We were feed hamburgers and hot dogs. Loved the how the staff were very professional on the island as if on the ship. Nassau is a typical port city, we shopped at the straw market and did our own walking tour to the queens staircase, fort finnicale and Nassau's historical society. This port has a lot of history and we learned a lot of it from queens to pirates. Back on the ship there was late night dance parties, veteran/military get together and even Harry potter trivia. We just get to it all and would go again to catch what we missed. We were with a dance team ranging in ages from 12 - 18 and the girls all found something fun to do. Every morning several would get up to watch the sunrise and at night they would go to a show, dance party or hang out and talk. The day they performed on the ship was great, many of the performers and crew members came to watch, along with other cruisers. This was truly on of the best vacations I have been on. This is my 2nd time cruising and my kids 1st. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
American Cruise Lines has a slogan, "Small Ship Cruising Done Perfectly." Yep, they certainly did it. Everything was perfect. The food was scrumptious. I liked that they offered half portions, so I was less tempted to ... Read More
American Cruise Lines has a slogan, "Small Ship Cruising Done Perfectly." Yep, they certainly did it. Everything was perfect. The food was scrumptious. I liked that they offered half portions, so I was less tempted to overeat. There were only 60 on the Cruise, although the ship will carry 98. With open seating at meals, we got to meet so many interesting people. The Line caters to older passengers. They were always there to assist. The elevator for handicapped was most welcome. I have some mobility issues. Our state room was very comfortable and spacious, with a small private balcony. We could control our own temperature, or open the window for fresh air. The state room had so much drawer space that we could not fill it all, and a closet. :-) My husband was able to workout every morning on an elliptical on the top deck. The on-board lecturer was great about answering questions about the area, and gave several interesting talks. He came on some of the excursions, and added an additional dimension to local guides. Many of the excursions were accessible for the less mobile. I did not try any walking tours, although my husband did. The excursions were well planned and gave a good look at the area (Historic South). Do note that excursions are extra, and you are billed only for those that you attend. There was on-board entertainment nightly. Mostly it was some type of music or a lecture. One day, we played bingo, and I won the top prize - a big bag of souvenirs! Another day, the chef demonstrated how to make a bread cornucopia. His creations were on display for our fantastic Thanksgiving Dinner. There is no bar on the ship, but complimentary wine and beer was served at lunch and dinner. At 5:30 every evening, a very complete bar was set up in the lounge for complimentary cocktails, beers or wines. We did not lack for festive alcohol. Fabulous appetizers accompanied the cocktail hour. It is difficult to say enough about the remarkable service. The entire crew worked very hard; they were always up-beat and smiling. The captain was most accessible. He dined with the passengers when he could. Gratuities were included in your cruise price. This is not a cruise for children. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We had a great time... the staff was all very friendly... and, the food was great! Our dinner staff headed by Danilo and his team was super. And our breakfast every day at Imagination was excellent and one of the best breakfast we ever ... Read More
We had a great time... the staff was all very friendly... and, the food was great! Our dinner staff headed by Danilo and his team was super. And our breakfast every day at Imagination was excellent and one of the best breakfast we ever had. Also, our housekeeper named Norman and his partner bent over backwards to do everything they could for us. The show at night was very entertaining and all professional. It was our first time to be on a cruise and it was such a fun and memorable experience.The food on the buffet everyday are all good. And going to Half Moon Cay was such a fun experience. The only thing we miss was the lobster dinner.We would definitely sail on this Carnival vessel again! We would like to thank the whole staff who really went out of there way for us to have this wonderful experience Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our first cruise, but we have been on more since. My husband and I went with a large group of friends and family. Jacksonville was a little sketch but the port was nice. I do recommend the Jacksonville Zoo. Embarkation was ... Read More
This was our first cruise, but we have been on more since. My husband and I went with a large group of friends and family. Jacksonville was a little sketch but the port was nice. I do recommend the Jacksonville Zoo. Embarkation was so smooth I don't remember it. The Fascination is sort of small, but I thought this was a good thing. It was in September so there wasn't a lot of people on the boat and very few kids. Our cabin wasn't very trendy but there wasn't anything really wrong with it. We had an ocean view. Plenty of room for our things and the bathroom was good. The food on the ship was amazing. My favorite from Carnival is the Strawberry Bisque. We had a good view of the sea from our table but we had late dinner so we could only see black. A different cruise we went on there were no windows in the dining room. Our waiter learned the entire party's name, put the pink cloth napkin in my lap every evening, and memorized our drinks and tastes. We enjoyed the Diva show so much. I went to a free class to learn how to make towel animals. We had a good Cruise Director. He was young and friendly. I liked the Hasbro Game show but only so-so,, a little gimmicky. The Serenity Deck is the place to be on this cruise, nice and pleasant like it should be. The Half Moon Cay was FABULOUS. PARADISE. We took tender boats to the island and there were sooo many good sturdy beach chairs. We had no problem finding a large group of them with our heads in the shade and our legs in the sun. The waiters from the ship came off and were our waiters on the island. They had a food stand with island BBQ food that was included. The water is a little murky in some lagoons, but most were clear. There were clear jelly fish but they wouldn't hurt you. A man picked one up, handed it to me, and it was super cool. There are cool little fishies to swim with too. Bahama was fun too. We got our picture made playing drums and straw hats for a tip. Other tourists kindly take other peoples pictures in front of the famous welcome sign. We rode a carriage around the square. That was a little dirty. Then the whole group paid a cabby with a van to take us around the island together. $20 each and he treated us like royalty. He took us to see famous peoples homes, the rum factory, a dried up coral beach, Atlantis for about an hour, CLIMBED A TREE AND PICKED A FREAKING COCONUT and smashed it open with his crowbar. He bought us a unique fruit soda, sang us songs, told us about his kids, took us to a safe restaurant to pee, and pretty much was the highlight of the cruise. He brought us right back to the safe straw market and we tipped him more for being so awesome. He treated us so well because since we were in a large group his fare was HUGE. We could see him innocently bragging to his friends about it. It was sweet. I traded some USD for Bahamanian money in the strawmarket and got postcards and we left. IT was a great time. I would definitely do this cruise again. I would like to bring my mom and dad next time too. They are up in age and not cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
I've been on the Fascination MANY times because it's only minutes away from my house in Jacksonville, Fl. The Good Relatively easy to board. Very nice porters and check in crew. I wish they would let you bypass the ... Read More
I've been on the Fascination MANY times because it's only minutes away from my house in Jacksonville, Fl. The Good Relatively easy to board. Very nice porters and check in crew. I wish they would let you bypass the photographers when you board! The food is okay, but could be improved. The Serenity deck is a great place for adults. The shows are ok, and I like the gym. Little Stirrup Cay is great! Everyone in the MDR was great! Fast service and friendly! Assistant Cruise Dir Alex was GREAT! The not so good I think it's time for dry dock. The ship needs a freshen up and include FunShip 2.0! It's time for the karaoke equipment to be updated. Ship is very cold throughout. I will be sailing on the Fascination again in Jan. I recommend the Carnival Fascination for a good vacation experience.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This was the best idea I have ever had. The ship was well kept, the staff was friendly, we all had a blast, and I have the absolute best wedding photos. The Ceremony was quiet and intimate, everyone cried including our Wedding ... Read More
This was the best idea I have ever had. The ship was well kept, the staff was friendly, we all had a blast, and I have the absolute best wedding photos. The Ceremony was quiet and intimate, everyone cried including our Wedding coordinator, Vanya. She was one of the highlights of the package. She was attentive, understanding, helpful, and my wedding would not have been the same without her. I read previous blogs about he photographs not turning out well, which I'm sure depends on the photographer that you get, but Wayan was FANTASTIC and made me turn in ways that made me look so good in the pictures! I think I lost 10 lbs in front of his camera. The reception had the best food on the ship. It was also never ending so when all the delicious fruit martini glasses were eaten - they would just bring more! Also the open bar was fantastic. A couple things to look out for: I was a little disappointed that I had to choose between a Social Host and an Entertainment Specialist. This meant I had to choose between my own playlist with my friends announcing things like the first dance or a dj picked top 40 with a professional announcing the activities. I chose my own playlist and my man of honor and matron of honor did a great job, but I don't understand why I had to choose. Although everything turned out great it was a little nerve racking knowing that the flowers (with your input) was pretty much up to the local florist. Also, the rooms were not 100% guaranteed until a week beforehand -- however, once I got on the ship I realized any of the lounges would have been a great place for the reception. Advice to couples looking to get hitched on the boat: 1) Keep it small (this is cheapest, most manageable, and most fun) we did about 20 people. 2) Start early. The earlier the better. We started about 1 1/2 years before to give the guests time to get vacate and such. 3) Plan, plan, plan - we brought (6) tall vases from Hobby Lobby with fake flowers (real ones not allowed on the ship unless from the local florist) as well as fake flower petals for the aisle. It turned out magnificent. 4) Have all of your guests cruise with you (perfect atmosphere for bachelor and bachelorette parties) 5) Make your spa (hair/makeup and nail) appts really early on board - as in right when you step on the ship. 6) Gift baskets can be delivered to the room (make sure all water is unopened) for a $1 fee. This added so much to the experience of our guests. We included a water spray fan, deck of playing cards, disposable camera, walkie talkies, and bottled water. 7) Oh yea, walkie talkies are a MUST to keep in contact, but avoid the crazy cell phone roaming costs. Overall I would rate the Wedding a 9/10. On board it was actually a 10/10, but the planning process made me dock that one point (I had to be over prepared to get what I wanted). It was fantastic! Thank you Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We are a retired couple with, including the one under review, 42 cruises completed. The Eurodam is our fifth HAL ship. This was a full charter cruise with the theme of music of the '50s and '60s. Aboard as entertainers, to ... Read More
We are a retired couple with, including the one under review, 42 cruises completed. The Eurodam is our fifth HAL ship. This was a full charter cruise with the theme of music of the '50s and '60s. Aboard as entertainers, to fulfill the legitimacy of the theme, booked through MaltShopcruises.com, were such notables as Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Darlene Love, Ronnie Spector and numerous groups as the Marvelettes, the Duprees, and others. It was hosted by Jerry Blavat, a friend and confidante of the late Dick Clark, of American Bandstand. I will not say much more re the theme itself as it would hardly be of interest to those not on this or a future sailing, details at their website. Worthy of note, a number of Elvis "copies" aboard, but of course, not the original, long now the late Elvis. As Hurricane "Sandy" approached the East Coast, numerous ships had to change course and planning. The Eurodam was originally set to sail from Ft.Lauderdale but as it was coming from a journey ending in Boston, it found its course taking it not away from but directly into the storm's pathway. It was then changed to dock and embark from Port Canaveral but the storm worsened & it became unfeasible to said that far South. It was later announced that as the original boarding had been Ft.Lauderdale, HAL and its theme sponsor, TimeLife, had attempted to find hotel rooms there as most passengers had of course made plans to board at that point. Attempts were made to find hotel rooms but as there was a boat show currently at the same venue, only 500 rooms were available for the 2000 plus passengers. Plans were then made (and much credit to HAL and Maltshopcruises/TimeLive) to bus the entire passenger group to Jacksonville, by then considered a safe port. We arrived at the port in Ft.Lauderdale and were aboard a bus and enroute to Jacksonvlle at 1:00PM. A box lunch was made available on board and there was one rest stop halfway through. We arrived in Jacksonville before 7:00PM and were, on order of arrival, processed through what was ordinarily Carnival Cruises' terminal, after passing through security posts. We then reboarded our buses and were taken directly to the ship, all in all a most well managed emergency situation that could have been far far more difficult. Again, credit where due, as noted, and rightly so. Aboard, we were able to eat either in the main (Rembrandt) Dining room or the Lido buffet. We chose the Rembrandt and were not disappointed. Not only were we given complimentary drinks to soothe the ruffled feathers of travel, but the first of what turned out to be many truly exceptional meals. As seas were still rough, the Captain decided to wait until 4:00AM to set sail. This caused us to miss our first scheduled port of Turks and Caicos but was a prudent move, as the delay had been purely in the interest of passenger safety and comfort. Our cabin, termed a "Deluxe Veranda", was perhaps the usual size for its class, having a small sofa, as requested twin beds moved to configure a queen, writing desk, and a convenient too oft overlooked, adequate night light for reading in bed, this in the form of an adjustable gooseneck. Wife mightily applauded the magnifying mirror for makeup. Interestingly enough, at night with lights out, the mirror outline formed a most excellent nightlight in green, enough to light your way about but not to disturb sleep. Storage was superior to most, three adequate closets for hanging clothing. An ottoman also has storage space, and suitcases (at least ours) fit neatly under the bed. The nightstands contain two drawers underneath the telephone. Stewards Ari and Tri were competent and friendly. Staff are always smiling; a greeting is seldom missed. Customer service desk well staffed and competent, willing to do the extra if possible. Digests of the New York Times and other language newspapers available daily at their desk. As earlier noted, food in both MDR and Lido were in our opinion, so good that I even wrote a thank you to the Hotel Manager. In the Lido, staff, if possible in busy times, will help with your tray; a rolling coffee and tea refill cart makes the mealtime rounds. Any language disparity with the mostly Indonesian staff is more often hilarious than bothersome, and easily overcome. They too, go the extra mile. When a selection of breakfast pastries was offered in the MDR, wife asked for a chocolate croissant. The assigned staffer had none left on his tray, and said he would get one for her, and quickly followed through. To its credit, HAL consistently offers Fresh squeezed Orange Juice, without the added charge some lines add. Twice, when the MDR had run out, staff went upstairs to the Lido to bring us ours. We also applaud the option (MDR only) of steel cut Irish oatmeal, in addition to the regular. By way of note, a dinner companion (we were traveling with two other couples) offered that his Prime Rib was the best he had ever eaten. (Trust me here, Roy knows prime rib!) I felt some meals to be well above the quality of higher tariff lines. We noted that HAL seems to have solved the problem of hard to move chairs, as they moved easily to the touch but never slid unexpectedly or freely moved out of place. A bit more re entertainment, as this was a music themed, as noted earlier, charter, we must say that this too was very well handled. Two main dinner time shows featured two principal acts, group and/or solo entertainers, while at other times there was almost continuous entertainment in one of the several lounges or other venues. Well known Comedian David Brenner headlined several shows, two in the main Theatre and two in one of the featured lounges. A hospitality desk was set up, and in addition each night brought a nice gift from the sponsors, left on your bed. Ports: We did not go ashore in San Juan, P.R., having been there several times before. At the second of three stops, including private island Half Moon Cay, we were docked at the Crown Bay Center, a shopping center at which the ship may dock directly, not having to tender into the main town center of St.Thomas/Charlotte Amalie. The final stop, Half Moon Cay, is a favorite of ours. Beautifully planned and maintained, a BBQ lunch is served at this, the final stop before return to Ft.Lauderdale. Food is efficiently served at multiple identical stations and there is ample covered outdoor seating. Necessary tenders arrive in less than ten minutes each way. Oh, my, it's over. Well, embarkation was well and efficiently handled. We were off the ship at the requested time and there was an adequate number of staff to direct your exit, and also adequate customs officers, not always the case at every port. We would summarize this as one of our best voyages ever, the theme fit our interests, staff was commendable, friendly and desiring to please, and food may have been the best ever. We are seriously considering booking this same (now yearly) theme charter for 2013. Summary: We were pleased with the Eurodam itself, which we had read had an absolutely outstanding fitness center. We would have to agree, there were many exercise machines we had not seen before, and several we are familiar with were missing, but we believe these have been, as to benefits, incorporated into the newer machines. We applaud the addition of a digital scale to keep track of results of any excess desserts... The ship is laid out similarly to others of the "Dam" vessels have been on. Hallways and stairways are decorated in the main with paintings of notable Dutch figures, artists and others of historical significance. The dark wood used extensively may be seen by some as stately and luxurious. --- 30 Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This was a group cruise consisting of several certified medical coders in need of continuing education credits. We went to class for 4hrs on each of the sea days. That way we didn't miss any of the fun!! BTW, the main instructor was ... Read More
This was a group cruise consisting of several certified medical coders in need of continuing education credits. We went to class for 4hrs on each of the sea days. That way we didn't miss any of the fun!! BTW, the main instructor was my sister. Her DH was the coordinator of it all. This was DH and my 3rd Carnival cruise, first on Fascination. All of our Carnival cruises have been coding cruises! We drove down to Jacksonville a day early. We stayed at the Holiday Inn closest to the port. Very nice hotel!! Would definitely stay there again!Oh, for anyone that might be into antiques, downtown Jacksonville has two very nice antique shops (across the street from each other) EMBARKATION was a bit sticky for us AGAIN! The last two cruises, we also had difficulties at embarkation. The first two cruises were out of Mobile..won't go into detail about that embarkation except for the fact that it could have been handled better than it was. This time, we were in line, moving right along. Then the employee that was directing the line, sent us in a line where a man didn't realize he had to empty his pockets, etc. So, we were delayed while everyone behind us went to the speedy line. Then, as our carry on luggage went through the xray, it was decided that they needed to look in our bag. we were pulled over to the side, where the nice (really, he was)security agent very carefully unpacked our stuff so he could see that my diet mt dews and diet pepsis were indeed sealed. He did apologize about having to do it and put everything back in the best he could. The line wasn't too terribly long to check in. After we were checked it we went directly on the ship. went to the lido deck for lunch. We ran into others in our group. CABIN: our cabin was very nice, we had an oceanview on Deck 5, Main. Our room was always clean! However, we never met our room stewart, don't even know their name! After a couple of days, I realized it was probably the shy, young girl that was in the hallway folding towels. DINING: We had great wait staff. Reuben was our waiter and I can't remember our asst waiter's name. Joseph, our super charged maitre'd, was very nice too. Food was good, especially the warm chocolate melting cake! It was very disappointing that we weren't seated with our group! It is probably because we requested to be seated at the same table as some of our friends (also with the group)We were on the other side of the room. I thought if we were with a group, they would seat us at least close together. I mean, there were about 30 people seated together from our group. We (3 couples) were seated elsewhere. You would think they could have seated us close. Oh well, didn't let that get to me. The cruise was still great! ENTERTAINMENT: It was really good. There were 2 comedians,one was the cowboy and I can't remember the other one's name. The cowboy, in my opinion, wasn't so good. The other one, was very good! The cruise director was good too. STAFF: For the most part, the staff was very nice and helpful. There were times when we would pass a staff member in the hall, it was like they wouldn't dare speak! Then other times, some went out of their way to speak. PORTS: Half Moon Cay was awesome!! Very clean! DH and I walked around, saw the stingrays, I did get in the water for just a bit. too cold for me!! Went to Captain on the Rocks bar, had a drink and listened to music. Nassau was good too. We did the segway tour, which was great! wish I could get one of those! Ate at Senor' Frogs. did a little shopping. disappointed that they didn't really have any baby tshirts unless you wanted to pay $20 for a onesie! We brought back our 4mo old grandaugter a tshirt a few sizes too big! DEBARKATION: Went very smoothly. We were off the ship, through customs and in our truck before 10:00, I think. There were a few glitches in this cruise, but all in all it was good! We are cruising again next February (another coding cruise) this time it's out of New Orleans. 7 night. We need the 3 sea days to get our CEU's!! Happy cruising everybody!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
First, let me say, we had a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Fascination. We had 6 in our group. My wife and I, an accountant and travel agent respectively, have had 18 cruises, 14 of them on Carnival. (This was our fourth cruise on the ... Read More
First, let me say, we had a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Fascination. We had 6 in our group. My wife and I, an accountant and travel agent respectively, have had 18 cruises, 14 of them on Carnival. (This was our fourth cruise on the Fascination.) Also with us was my brother- and sister-in-law (a retired police officer and his wife); they cruise with us most of the time, so they have as many cruises as we do. The final members of our group were two sisters (a registered nurse and administrative assistant) who were on their first cruise. My DW and I booked a suite since we were celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. The suite was nice, but for the extra price we paid, I think next time I will just stick to a balcony or ocean-view depending on the class of ship. We are planning a 15-day Hawaii cruise on the Splendor in 2013; I think we will have to book a balcony on that one. I love leaving the door open at night and listening to the sea. We checked in at Jaxport about 10:30 Saturday; by 11:15 we were on the ship. We parked at a local park-and-ride lot for just $5 per day, and they were Johnny-on-the-spot as far as getting us to the ship and being there when we got off. In contrast, the cruise port in Jacksonville charges $15 per day to park. I noticed as we set sail the Jaxport parking lot was only about 1/3 full, even though we had a almost full ship. It appears that cruisers are cutting corners by using these park-and-ride lots around the cruise ports. Can you blame them? Our first night at sea was a great kick-off to our cruise. Our wait staff, WeeWee and PeePee, were great. Our drinks were kept full, the bread hot and fresh. Our food was delivered in a very timely manner and was pretty good. Carnival has changed their menus and some of the dishes. My wife, who loves soups, commented that they were very good but not as good as past. I had a steak one night that was on the tough side, but the next one I had a couple days later was much much better. Our first full day was a "Fun Day at Sea." The food throughout the day was very good. Lines were not too bad; I don't think anyone in my party had to wait in one more than 15 or 20 minutes. The pizza was great, and the deli sandwiches were outstanding. All day long there were plenty of activities. I've read several pieces that have put down the CD, Jen. However, I thought she was pleasant and did a good job. Her staff was well prepared for all the activities they were responsible for. I have been on cruises where the CD staff was late for every event. Our sea day also included Formal Night. I really am disappointed that a good many of the passengers do not dress up for formal night as they did when we first started cruising 10 years ago. I have a tux I wear, and my wife will dress up also, but I only counted three other tux-wearers in our dining room. 650 people in our dining, and many of them were dressed like it was any other dinner seating! And the other nights the dress for dinner has gone downhill. At one time, shorts and T-shirts were not allowed, but that's not the case anymore. The show the first night was the same old tired show that Carnival has been doing for 5 or more years. It's a great upbeat show, but I think it's time for a change. The weather and seas were a bit choppy that day. We had a passenger get very ill around dinnertime, so the CD announced that we would have to go into Miami to get the passenger off the ship. As we made the turn back to the west, the waves went from 4-6 feet to 8-10 feet. As we got closer to Miami's port, the rain was hard and winds picked up. It took about two hours to get into the Port of Miami, get the sick passenger off and get back on our way. We were scheduled to get into Key West at 7AM the next day; however, we didn't dock there until about 8:30. We did get to stay until 4:30. Though our ride to Key West was bumpy, the day is Key West was absolutely gorgeous. We docked at the Navy base and had to ride a tram to the main areas. That went very smooth, and there appeared to be a steady flow, so I don't think anyone had to wait long. This is a wonderful island, and we enjoy our time there. This time, we just made our pilgrimage to Kermit's Key Lime Shop for a frozen slice of pie dipped in milk chocolate. Baby, this is so good, "It would make a puppy pull a freight train!" Day three we found ourselves in Nassau. We have been there several times. We now take the #10 bus from downtown to Cable Beach, $1.25 each way. We visit the Sheraton, which charges a daily fee of $25 per person to use their beach, pools, and non-motorized water sports. It was windy, and light showers moved in and out as the day progressed. We splashed around in the warm waters and enjoyed the time relaxing. On our way back to the ship on the bus, part of Bay Street was blocked for road work, so our driver took us the scenic route. If you have never seen the neighborhoods of Nassau, it's something to see. The people along the path we took were very poor, but they appeared happy. Some of the roads we traveled down, I wasn't sure if they were actual roads or someone's driveway. At one point the traffic was backed up and our driver had to aggressively apply the brakes, leaving some tire marks on the road and making the passengers on the full bus gasp. However, no harm, no foul. We made it back to the port area and were walking into the terminal/mall, and I noticed that the usual tourist harassment about taxis, hair breading, etc. wasn't as in-your-face as it has been in the past. There was some, but a polite "No, thank you," seemed to do the trick. We were not slated to leave Nassau until 10PM that night, so dinner population was light. This was a good thing, though, since this was the night of the past passenger reception. I don't drink, so I wasn't there for the free alcohol, but to cheer at the ship slideshow. I did get on stage for the Carnival trivia contest. I won it two years ago on the second question; this time, I was out on the second question. I couldn't remember the first Carnival ship that had the "whale tail." We didn't go to the show that night as we had seen it several times before. We elected to sit on the Lido deck and play several rounds of cards. I did sample a calzone from the pizza bar. It wasn't a tasty as is looked, so I picked it apart and shared the pepperonis with my wife, Shirley. The next day, the ship turned north, and we had a great day at sea. Between my wife and me, we totaled three 24-Carat-Gold-Plastic Ships-on-a-Stick. My wife also won a medallion. We really enjoy playing the trivia games. I also got on stage for the disco dance lesson. I did it to get our two "blue card" cruisers up there. I did pretty well since it had been several decades since I did my last disco dancing. The show that night was based on the 1980s. Before the show they played a 30-minute video of 80s commercials and TV shows. I like it; it brings back some good memories of my younger days. The Carnival dancers were very good; the male dancers were some of the best I have seen on Carnival. The two lead singers were good as well. We have had the female singer on other ships; she tries to sing notes that are too high for her, but she did blend very well with the guy. Getting off the ship when we returned to Jax was flawless. One of the CD staff told us the night before that Carnival already knew they would not be able to sail out for the next cruise until 8PM because of the high tide and bridge clearance, and they had already canceled their port call to Freeport. Bummer for the next cruisers. Overall, we had a great cruise. Of our 14 Carnival cruises, this would be in the top half of all of them. I read a lot of the reviews, and I see many negative remarks about Carnival. They are a good cruise line. Are there some problems? Yes, but what large cooperation doesn't have them? Can they do better with customer complaints? Many times. But there are people who will let one irritation fester the rest of the cruise and will then blast everything about the cruise. My DW and I try to find the positive and just enjoy our time together getting away from it all. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was my first cruise, which brings me to my first lesson learned; cruising is about the cruise, not so much the destination... which is fine but it is a good thing to know. Embarkation was a breeze more or less, we spent maybe 30-45 ... Read More
This was my first cruise, which brings me to my first lesson learned; cruising is about the cruise, not so much the destination... which is fine but it is a good thing to know. Embarkation was a breeze more or less, we spent maybe 30-45 minutes or so in the process, got our Sign and Sail (some call 'em Drink and Drown) cards and were onboard and then up to our cabin far, far aft on E (Empress) deck. Good sized room with a view, nice TV and good sized bathroom. All clean and tidy. Met our room steward Anthony who gave us a quick lesson on using the air conditioning system. Affable fellow who we saw very few times afterwards but that was OK. Our room was always in good shape and we had everything we needed. Put our stuff away in the ample storage and off to Lido deck for a bite to eat. Lido deck, ahhh Lido deck; home of all things good and tasty. We sampled the buffet. I liked the port side one with the daily international selection. All evenings afterwards and breakfasts we took in the Sensation dining room with our group. The food on the Lido buffet was for the most part pretty good, about as good as buffet food can get I guess. However the best thing I found was the deli at the rear of the room. I ordered a salmon bagel (lox) one afternoon and I am not exaggerating when I say he put a half pound or more of smoked salmon slices on the sandwich. The dining room fare consisted of everything from escargot, chateaubriand, lobster, grouper, pasta... well, you get the point. The weather the entire trip was unusually cold and cloudy with a few bursts of rare sunshine. This being the case most of our enjoyment was had either dining or enjoying the entertainment. The shows in the Palace Room were always top notch and never failed to entertain. Our cruise director Jacques was funny and entertaining as well. The dance shows were great and the comics on par with any better Vegas show. Lesson 2: arrive early or you will probably end up behind the sound board with a bad view. I would definitely cruise again and despite the weather had a marvelous time. Because of the weather the seas were a bit rough and quite a few folks got seasick, which I am told is not so much of a problem on the Carnival's larger class of ships. I was fine the whole time onboard and actually suffered more trying get my land legs back. The food was definitely the high point. Our dining room waiters Frazier and Komang, well what can I say? They were the absolute best, we were actually a bit sad on the last evening to bid them goodbye. Debarkation was as easy or easier than boarding. We had our customs forms completed listing the 4 liters of rum purchased at the duty free ship store (man, that was a bargain) and were through in no time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
We arrived at The Clarion Hotel/Airport at 6:15p.m. from our home town, which was a 9 hour , 15 minute travel time. Our Hotel room had King, non-smoking accommodations. It was exceptionally clean with no signs of wear and tear. The bed had ... Read More
We arrived at The Clarion Hotel/Airport at 6:15p.m. from our home town, which was a 9 hour , 15 minute travel time. Our Hotel room had King, non-smoking accommodations. It was exceptionally clean with no signs of wear and tear. The bed had a down comfort with down pillows and high quality linens. Our night of rest before departure was very restful. We had breakfast with our group of Cruisers at the hotel in the dining room. The Hotel Staff had prepared a wonderful breakfast buffet. The meal was included in our package. Clarion Staff loaded our luggage into their van and carried our group to the port. We were all able to leave our vehicles parked at the Clarion for the 5 days of the Cruise for no additional charge. The Clarion driver of our van was exceptionally helpful and nice. The park and cruise package at the Clarion was 129.99. Embarkation was very smooth at the port. We arrived on the ship. The ship was extremely clean and all of the Staff helpful, cheerful and nice. We could not go to our Cabins until 1:30 p.m. We went to the Lido Deck and had our Lunch. The food was excellent on arrival with a great choice of different foods. We had wonderful fruits and different desserts to choose from in addition to sandwiches. After 1:30 p.m. we went to our Cabin and immediately met our Cabin Stewart , Kevin. He was very helpful, prompt and our Cabin was kept exceptionally clean everyday. The icebucket was always full of ice. We ordered coffee, fruit and pastries each morning between 6:00 and 6:15 a.m. from Room Service. Kevin was prompt in bringing this each morning. At night the towel animals were adorable and chocolates delicious. The Dining in the Sensation Dining Room was at 6:00. Shetty was our Server. He and his assistant were always fun and patient with our gang. We enjoyed them and especially the Appetizers and Desserts. The main course each night was disappointing to us. We had breakfast several mornings in the Sensation Dining room also and it was absolutely nothing special. Lido deck breakfasts was the exception. The food was always excellent there, whether it be breakfasts or lunches. ,meals from the steam tables, sandwiches, ice cream,Pizza, hotdogs,Hamburgers......the variety was awesome~! The activities were varied and fun. The last night we were told by the Captain , to our surprise , there were 300 children on board. They were well entertained by staff on this cruise because we did not know they were aboard! The excursion in Nassau was wonderful. On arrival to the island we were met by a Native named Lionel, who offered to take us on a 2 1/2 hour tour of the island. He charged each of us $20.00, which was well worth it. He took us about the Island and pointed out different areas of interest. These included Historical places, the Government buildings, different Neighborhoods, A wonderful Straw Market and Atlantis where we toured for about 45 minutes. We returned to the other markets and had plenty of time for shopping. Being on the Island of Nassau was a wonderful experience and fun. The next day was the beautiful Half Moon Cay. The aqua water was breathtaking, the island a picture that you will never forget. Clean, crisp, breathtaking! Everything you could wish for when you are at the Beach was available. Lounges, Water, Drinks, Food, Hammocks, Sun, Friends and Fellowship exceptional!!!The Tendering was constant the whole day with Polite, friendly, clean service! I can't say enough about how clean everything was and the Staff on the ship was constantly cleaning. The staff and crew exceptional in helpfulness, kindness and friendliness. You couldn't ask for any better service in anyway. The Entertainment was varied and fun. From the shows to Karaoke with Cristine. There also was wonderful Smooth sounds with Ed and beautiful piano music with Tirza. There was Bingo, Game Shows, Country Line Dancing, Trivia Marathon, Water Wars , Adult Ping Pong Tournament, and Sea feud. There was even Gospel Singing ,which was very good. If you thought this was a boring Cruise it was because you didn't check Your daily guide to FUN. On Sunday morning at 3:00a.m.,the second day of the Cruise, a fellow Cruiser had a Myocardial Infarction(heart attack) and we were temporarily detoured back to Port Canaveral for Disembarkation of this passenger. There was no delay in our itinerary. On The day of Disembarkation it was raining. The Carnival Crew had overhead covering to prevent the passengers from getting wet. At the terminal locating your luggage was extremely easy as you was given a Number. When that number was called, you Disembarked from the Ship. Our luggage was waiting for us at that number and there was no delay at all. Our Van from the Clarion was waiting on us and promptly and safely took us back to the Clarion to pick up our personal vehicles. We could hardly wait to get home to plan our next wonderful Carnival Cruise!!!Thanks Guys for making our Vacation unforgettable. We'll never forget it or you! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009

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