Well our first cruise has came and gone. I was as prepared as I could be thanks to CC. No one got sick, never even needed the Motion ear drops we took which was great! We rented a car from Hertz in Kentucky and the Hertz in Port Canaveral let us leave the car parked there while we were gone and they shuttled us to the ship and were there waiting upon our return. They are only 8 minutes from the ship! Embarkation was so easy and quick, when we got there at 11:30, they were already allowing boarding. The ship was beautiful, my little boy lived on the mini golf course and the water park. My children are 12 & 10, but they did not want to attend Camp Carnival, they were occupied enough with swimming and golfing. I was disappointed that the pool was 4'9" that was kind of deep I thought (esp since I am only 5'0".) My children only got in the pool once because it was so deep, and very crowded as it is extremely small, but they had a blast on the slides. We had lots of fun with the pictures, my daughters (18 & 12) love taking pictures, so they enjoyed that. We traveled to Freeport where we booked the Paradise Cove snorkeling trip. It was awesome! Just as everyone on the board said. Our driver was very informative and gave us lots of info on the island. The staff was courteous and friendly and very helpful. We were all able to swim out to the reef with no problem. Only problem we had while there was...it was high tide when we went out first time, and the second time we went out, low tide was coming in and they didn't tell us that, so water was extremely shallow on the way back in and we all got stung by the sea grass. It was pretty painful, but they gave us vinegar to stop the stinging. But the place is amazingly beautiful! Our next stop was Nassau! We decided to do our own thing here and just walk around the town. We visited Queen's Staircase and Fort Fincastle. I wasn't to impressed with it, but it was pretty nice. We went back to the ship to change into swimsuits and had planned to go to the Sheraton for a day pass, but we couldn't figure out where to catch the Jitney, so we took a cab. Well the cab driver insisted that Cabbage Beach was much better and he just took us there! Rather than pay him $25 ($5 pp and there were 5 of us) and then pay another $25 to go to the Sheraton, we just stayed at Cabbage Beach. The water, was beautiful and warm. The people drove me crazy! We were approached as soon as we started down the path with a local trying to get us to rent beach chairs and umbrellas. Unfortunately we were totally unprepared to go to this beach, we didn't have towels or anything with us as we had planned on going to the Sheraton. I personally didn't care for this beach at all. To many locals trying to sell you stuff, the chairs they rent are broken and there isn't much to do. I think they must have lots of sand fleas as well, when we returned to the ship, we all had bites all over our legs and arms. We only stayed about an hour then decided to return to the ship. We went out one more time to go to the straw market, I almost missed it cause I didn't see any signs. When you go right on Bay Street you will see where the locals catch the buses (then we figured out this is where we should have gone to catch the Jitney #10) it looks like a graffiti wall, the straw market is right next to this. All the vendors have the same stuff. Overall I enjoyed the culture and just walking around on our own. I always felt safe. The locals are very friendly and willing to answer questions. You do get asked lots and lots of times if you need a cab while walking through town. And be prepared to get bombarded with offers from cab drivers and hair braiders as you get into the Festival Place. My Children really enjoyed the dining room aboard the ship. We don't eat in fancy restaurants, so my 12 yr old daughther laughed through the entire meal on Elegant night. She thought it was funny they cut her pizza into small pieces and poured her ketchup for her fries. She said "I like being waited on!" I didn't think they would want to return, but we ended up eating in the dining room every night but the first night, we ate at the Seaview. We only had dinner in the Fantasy, the rest of the time we ate at the Seaview Bar and Grill. My children loved the towel animals of course and our room was always clean! My son became attached to our assistant waiter named Anak from Indonesia. Turns out Anak has 2 sons, I think one is 5 and one is 7 mo old back home, so he took a special liking to my little boy. He got tears in his eyes and said he only sees them about 2 months at a time as they work on the ship for 6 mo, go home for 2 mo and then back on again for 6 mo. My son even cried the last night of dinner as the wait staff sang. Everytime we went out for a while, we returned to a clean room! The housekeeping staff is amazing and Juan was awesome! We only attended one of the shows, it was an 80's show that was pretty cool, kind of karoke singing, but since I was in high school in the 80's it was fun memories. Overall it was a wonderful experience. I love the ocean, esp the Carribean where the water is so blue. I went to Cancun about 12 years ago, so I haven't seen water so blue and clear in a while. Don't forget to check out the sunset or sunrise on the water, it is amazing! Thanks to Carnival and the entire Sensation staff for making this an awesome vacation!
We were on the Riviera deck, we had 2 rooms next to each other. The beds were extremely comfortable and my kids liked the fact that they each had their own bed. The bathroom is small, so I took one of those over the door shoe organizers to put my stuff in...worked wonderful! There is only 1 plug in the room, so take an extension cord, etc. We had to dry our hair, then wait to plug in our straightener. We were towards the back of the ship, so there was a slight vibration most of the trip. It was extremely loud when the ship was starting up to leave ports. Overall, it was awesome!
We went to Paradise Cove for a snorkeling trip. Our driver was very informative and gave us lots of information about the island. The staff was very friendly, except the lady at the register who didn't want to give me the discount that Barry had offered me. She wanted to know why I didn't print out my email from Barry to prove that I was suppose to get the discount. So if you email Barry in advance, he will give you $3 off per adult and $2 off per child. Just make sure you print out his email so you have proof! She did call Barry and get verification of my discount. Otherwise the staff was extremely helpful. They even spent extra time with my 10 year old as he had a hard time getting use to the snorkel equipment. After he adjusted to it, he had the best time! The lunch is worth the extra $5.00. If you don't pay the $5 when you pay for your trip, you will have to pay regular price for the food if you get hungry. A burger is $3.50...so I suggest getting the meal. They are very accommodating and let you stay as long as you want. It's about a 20 minute drive. Just be careful if low tide comes in, they didn't tell us that low tide was coming in so our second time out the water got very low and we were stung by sea grass. There was no way around it as the water level was to low. But they did give us vinegar to stop the stinging. Very nice place, highly recommend it! Very laid back, only about 15 cruises there!
So our second port of call was Nassau. I did not like being bombarded by locals asking if we needed a cab and ladies wanting to braid my daughters hair. The Queen's Staircase was pretty, but not amazing. We tried to take a cab to Sheraton on Cable beach, but the cab driver insisted on taking us to Cabbage Beach, he said it was a better beach. But I think they were just trying to help the other locals out who bombard you with trying to rent you chairs, umbrellas, drinks, etc. The water was beautiful, but the beach was not. To many locals hanging around just waiting to sell & rent stuff to you. Not to mention, we were covered in bites when we returned to the ship. My guess is from sand fleas, but not sure. We only stayed there about an hour as we were bored. We then decided to go to the straw market to pick up some souvenirs. I enjoyed just walking around and seeing the local community. I didn't know they had McDonald's, Burger King, there. We only went into McDonald's to get something to drink. We didn't realize the shops and stuff don't open up till around 9:30 or 10:00 and close around 6:00. We did not eat on shore (I wish we had, I would have like to try some local food) but my daughters bf stayed on ship while we shopped so we went back on board for dinner. Overall a great experience if you can handle the locals trying to braid your hair and the cab drivers are the worse, we must have said "no" 500 times.