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First off let me say that I am not an avid cruiser. This was my 5th cruise in a 20 year span. My family and I have always cruised Royal Caribbean and decided to give Carnival a shot since the port is only 3.5 hours from our home. To begin with I had a lot of questions about the Carnival process and came here to Cruise Critic for help and it paid off. Learning the little tricks of the ship and shore excursions from past guest definitely added to our experience. Let me start with the embarkment process. First you will arrive at the port and the folks there will unload your vehicle for you and take your luggage onboard for you. Make sure you tip the guy a few bucks! Then you will be directed to park. Be prepared to walk about 200 yards to the main building for check in. Not a bad walk at all. Have your Birth Certificate and Driver's License in your hand. A passport is great but not necessary. Once in that building you move pretty quick. They will then direct you to the charter buses outside to take you to the boarding ramp. Tip the bus driver a few bucks! Once you are on the boarding ramp you will be directed to the security baggage check line. You will then place your carry on onto a scanner machine where the friendly security folks will run it through their machine. After that you are on your way! The total time my wife and I spent at the port was about 25 minutes total and we did not purchase "Faster to The Fun" from Carnival. Once onboard you will notice friendly/Inviting staff that will answer any question. Your stateroom will not be available to 1:30 so head up to Deck 9 and grab lunch and try everything! Be aware that the tea is unsweet and the cups are very small. Once our room was available we headed up and settled in to our cabin. Our cabin number was 11008. It was on the Serenity Deck level which is adult only. Our cabin steward was Emerson and he was awesome. He made our stay comfortable and answered every question we had. Our room was a balcony suite and worth the extra money. The bed was very, very comfortable and I am very picky about where I sleep. The pillows were vey soft and big. The room itself was bigger than others we have stayed in on RC and perfect for two adults. The bathroom was big as well. The soap that is supplied for guest on the ship does not lather well so bring your own. In all our cabin was great with exception of the soap so all is good so far. After we got settleed we headed out to explore the ship and found ourselves at the Serentity Spa. Big mistake! The staff there were friendly and took my wife and I on a tour of the spa. Big mistake. They were boarderline pushy about selling their products and it detered my wife and I from ever going back in there even though we had free spa treatment vouchers given to us because we booked a Serenity Suite Room. On to the food! The Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse is the best. You will not regret it. The steaks are amazing. It cost my wife and I $38 a piece to eat there and it is a 4 course meal! The cheese cake is huge and unlike anything Ive ever eaten in the cheesecake world. Amazing! It was so good, we ate there twice. The ships buffet on deck 9 was good but Guys Burgers was great. I ate alot of Guys Burgers and they are free. The breakfast buffet is good and has just about everything you could ask for. The coffee is below average and the juices provided were average but satisfiying. On tuesday night my wife and I tried the Main Dining room. They seated us right away but that was it. We sat there for about 10 minutes and that was it. We got up and left. We then went up to the Cucina del Capiitano restaurant. It was great. The best Italian food we have ever eaten. Now for the entertainment on the cruise. The shows were good and the cast were above average performers. Adam the cruise director was great and James kept everyone laughing. However Ty was rude at times with guest and at one point told a lady that came in the wrong door to never do that again. He told her this over the PA system and made that lady look like a child. She reacted to his lecture alot better than I would have. That was totally uncalled for on Ty's behalf. Very unprofessional. Onto excurisions. Half Moon Cay was the best!! Better than any beach we have ever seen. Make sure you get off the boat early to get the best chairs but if you dont, no worries they have plenty. You do not need towels from the boat. They provide them on the island. The sand there is unbelievable and the water is perfect. The most amazing beach ever! Did I mention amazing enough about this beach? Bring your own snorkle gear and an inflatable float. It will save you money and you will have plenty of room to just float around and enjoy the sun. No beach that RC or Disney has can compare to Half Moon Cay! Now about Nassau. My wife and I booked the Blue Lagoon VIP Beach Day. It was just ok. The beach was rocky, very dangerous if you are elderly or someone with previous health injuries like neck or back surgery The staff on Blue Lagoon were very nice and attended to our every need. The VIP excursion came with snorkle gear and bottled water all day. The lunch buffet was really good and the staff was was very friendly. Also if you decide to do this exersion bring water shoes and towels! YOU WILL NEED WATER SHOES!!!!! Very rocky beach. Our overall experience was good with Carnival. The only problems we saw that Carnival could do much better at is the muster drill that happens pre-sail and exiting the boat for excursions. It is organized chaos and causes stairway roadrage with guest. Guest are literally shoulder to shoulder and nobody can move. if you dont like confined spaces wait till the crowd clears to head out. The disemarkment process was well organized. You have a choice of carrying your own luggage off or checking your luggage. If you can carry your stuff then do it but if you pack like my wife, check your luggage. The process is super easy and they will call you by tag numbers depending on the tag number you pick the night before disemarkment. No worries. If you check your bags, they will be waiting on you in the building where the US Customs Security team await. The US Customs Officers are friendly and do a great job getting you through the line fairley quickly. Once you get through customs, you and your luggage will then be directed to the charter buses to take you back to the parking lot. If your luggage is heavy, the porters there will carry them for you to the buses. Tip them! When you get to the buses they will load your luggage on trailers to carry them back to the parking lot. When you exit the buses at the parking lot, your luggage will be right there waiting on you. No worries. Then off you go back to the real world. We really enjoyed our first Carnival experience and will probably do it again. Hope this helped.

First Carnival Cruise Experience

Carnival Sunshine Cruise Review by rduck23

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2019
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Spa Balcony
First off let me say that I am not an avid cruiser. This was my 5th cruise in a 20 year span. My family and I have always cruised Royal Caribbean and decided to give Carnival a shot since the port is only 3.5 hours from our home. To begin with I had a lot of questions about the Carnival process and came here to Cruise Critic for help and it paid off. Learning the little tricks of the ship and shore excursions from past guest definitely added to our experience. Let me start with the embarkment process. First you will arrive at the port and the folks there will unload your vehicle for you and take your luggage onboard for you. Make sure you tip the guy a few bucks! Then you will be directed to park. Be prepared to walk about 200 yards to the main building for check in. Not a bad walk at all. Have your Birth Certificate and Driver's License in your hand. A passport is great but not necessary. Once in that building you move pretty quick. They will then direct you to the charter buses outside to take you to the boarding ramp. Tip the bus driver a few bucks! Once you are on the boarding ramp you will be directed to the security baggage check line. You will then place your carry on onto a scanner machine where the friendly security folks will run it through their machine. After that you are on your way! The total time my wife and I spent at the port was about 25 minutes total and we did not purchase "Faster to The Fun" from Carnival.

Once onboard you will notice friendly/Inviting staff that will answer any question. Your stateroom will not be available to 1:30 so head up to Deck 9 and grab lunch and try everything! Be aware that the tea is unsweet and the cups are very small. Once our room was available we headed up and settled in to our cabin. Our cabin number was 11008. It was on the Serenity Deck level which is adult only. Our cabin steward was Emerson and he was awesome. He made our stay comfortable and answered every question we had. Our room was a balcony suite and worth the extra money. The bed was very, very comfortable and I am very picky about where I sleep. The pillows were vey soft and big. The room itself was bigger than others we have stayed in on RC and perfect for two adults. The bathroom was big as well. The soap that is supplied for guest on the ship does not lather well so bring your own. In all our cabin was great with exception of the soap so all is good so far.

After we got settleed we headed out to explore the ship and found ourselves at the Serentity Spa. Big mistake! The staff there were friendly and took my wife and I on a tour of the spa. Big mistake. They were boarderline pushy about selling their products and it detered my wife and I from ever going back in there even though we had free spa treatment vouchers given to us because we booked a Serenity Suite Room.

On to the food! The Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse is the best. You will not regret it. The steaks are amazing. It cost my wife and I $38 a piece to eat there and it is a 4 course meal! The cheese cake is huge and unlike anything Ive ever eaten in the cheesecake world. Amazing! It was so good, we ate there twice. The ships buffet on deck 9 was good but Guys Burgers was great. I ate alot of Guys Burgers and they are free. The breakfast buffet is good and has just about everything you could ask for. The coffee is below average and the juices provided were average but satisfiying. On tuesday night my wife and I tried the Main Dining room. They seated us right away but that was it. We sat there for about 10 minutes and that was it. We got up and left. We then went up to the Cucina del Capiitano restaurant. It was great. The best Italian food we have ever eaten.

Now for the entertainment on the cruise. The shows were good and the cast were above average performers. Adam the cruise director was great and James kept everyone laughing. However Ty was rude at times with guest and at one point told a lady that came in the wrong door to never do that again. He told her this over the PA system and made that lady look like a child. She reacted to his lecture alot better than I would have. That was totally uncalled for on Ty's behalf. Very unprofessional.

Onto excurisions. Half Moon Cay was the best!! Better than any beach we have ever seen. Make sure you get off the boat early to get the best chairs but if you dont, no worries they have plenty. You do not need towels from the boat. They provide them on the island. The sand there is unbelievable and the water is perfect. The most amazing beach ever! Did I mention amazing enough about this beach? Bring your own snorkle gear and an inflatable float. It will save you money and you will have plenty of room to just float around and enjoy the sun. No beach that RC or Disney has can compare to Half Moon Cay!

Now about Nassau. My wife and I booked the Blue Lagoon VIP Beach Day. It was just ok. The beach was rocky, very dangerous if you are elderly or someone with previous health injuries like neck or back surgery The staff on Blue Lagoon were very nice and attended to our every need. The VIP excursion came with snorkle gear and bottled water all day. The lunch buffet was really good and the staff was was very friendly. Also if you decide to do this exersion bring water shoes and towels! YOU WILL NEED WATER SHOES!!!!! Very rocky beach.

Our overall experience was good with Carnival. The only problems we saw that Carnival could do much better at is the muster drill that happens pre-sail and exiting the boat for excursions. It is organized chaos and causes stairway roadrage with guest. Guest are literally shoulder to shoulder and nobody can move. if you dont like confined spaces wait till the crowd clears to head out.

The disemarkment process was well organized. You have a choice of carrying your own luggage off or checking your luggage. If you can carry your stuff then do it but if you pack like my wife, check your luggage. The process is super easy and they will call you by tag numbers depending on the tag number you pick the night before disemarkment. No worries. If you check your bags, they will be waiting on you in the building where the US Customs Security team await. The US Customs Officers are friendly and do a great job getting you through the line fairley quickly. Once you get through customs, you and your luggage will then be directed to the charter buses to take you back to the parking lot. If your luggage is heavy, the porters there will carry them for you to the buses. Tip them! When you get to the buses they will load your luggage on trailers to carry them back to the parking lot. When you exit the buses at the parking lot, your luggage will be right there waiting on you. No worries. Then off you go back to the real world.

We really enjoyed our first Carnival experience and will probably do it again. Hope this helped.
rduck23’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Spa Balcony
Cabin 8T 11008
Great room and comfortable bed. The shower gel provided was not great but just ok. Bring your own soap and shampoo. Hair dryer and refrigerator are provided.
Deck 12 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews