We chose this cruise for Easter weekend because we wanted to take the kids someplace warm for Spring break, but did not want to blow out our budget. We got a good price and we were able to drive to the port in Jacksonville, which is 5 hours from our home in Charlotte. We have never cruised Carnival before and we've heard varying things about this cruise line. We have a 5 year old, a 17 year old exchange student and an 80 year old grandmother so we have many different competing priorities. This seemed like a low-risk way to try Carnival without spending a ton of money or committing to a week on a ship we hated. We had low expectations and found this to be a decent cruise for the price and the age of the ship.
This ship is older and the common areas really show their age. Old neon, dark marble and 1990s era decor were everywhere. The stone tile is chipped in many areas and the carpet is that old gaudy multi-color patterned carpet you see in an old Las Vegas casino. None of the common areas have been refurbished. The gym has some newer equipment (elliptical machines, weights and good treadmills) but the locker room equipment is older.
There is no jogging/walking trail on this ship. None of this mattered to us, but you should be aware of it if you are either impressed or bothered by these things.
We booked the lowest possible class cabin which was an interior on the 4th deck. It was close to the 3rd floor disembarkation and pretty convenient for that. This is a smaller ship so we were able to access everything pretty easily from any cabin. The rooms have been re-furbished and have ample electrical outlets, good lighting and multiple USB charging ports next to the bed. I was really pleased about the outlet situation. When other cruise lines refurbish, they neglect the outlets and we're all fighting over places to charge our devices. The bedding is comfy and the cabin has a decent amount of space. It's an old ship, so the cabins are not huge, but we were pleased with our cabin, given what we expected. The walls were a bit thin so we could hear our neighbors watching tv. Also our fridge was not super-cold, but the steward got it fixed for us.
We took a local shuttle to the beach in Freeport. It was about a 20 minute drive to Taino Beach and it had a bar for us, chair rental, ziplining for the kids and clean bathrooms. We paid a bit more for the ride to the beach, and paid admission to the beach, but the chairs were included and the drinks were pretty affordable so we saved money on chair/umbrella rental. We paid $6 for 2 bottles of local beer. They also had the full tourism experience if you want hair braiding, parasailing, etc. It can be a noisy beach, so don't go if you want calm, peaceful and quiet. We had a great time with our kids for Spring Break. The cab-drivers, staff and workers there are very hospitality-oriented and friendly.
It's difficult to find good beaches in Nassau. You usually have to pay alot or the beaches are private and don't allow non-resort guests. We have been to Nassau several times and have not found a good family beach. Cabbage beach had massive waves that were too rough for our 5 year old. The Atlantis experience is too expensive for our large crew. The beach near the fishing huts is ok but my husband hates that it overlooks the refinery. This time, we took a cab ride to a beach that was about 30 minutes away. It was called Love Beach and it was pretty good. Drinks were expensive but the water was calm and clear. The kids loved it. It's near the airport so you have to deal with planes overhead, but otherwise it was one of the better beaches in Nassau and was really relaxing and not that touristy. Nobody offered to braid my hair or tried to sell me shell jewelry!