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4,011 Bahamas Cruise Reviews

The ship was somewhat smaller then I expected but that just made it a little less overwhelming. The cabin attendant we had was very helpful and attentive and made the trip a delight. I would suggest packing your own snacks, bottled water ... Read More
The ship was somewhat smaller then I expected but that just made it a little less overwhelming. The cabin attendant we had was very helpful and attentive and made the trip a delight. I would suggest packing your own snacks, bottled water and sodas. If you have kids, a $1.50 per can soda will add up. The food was okay but nothing out of the ordinary and the portions were small on some meals. I would suggest not getting a cabin on the 8th deck unless you don't mind the scraping of chairs and tables from the 9th deck pool area. Shops were fair on board but not that great. Not much for an older teenager to do. My son expected a better video arcade. (they only had 3 games) Suggest you bring a portable DVD player. The room we had did have a VHS and a CD player. Shows were fair; had more fun with Bingo although that could add up. The excursions were the best part of the trip. Suggest doing the Dolphin Encounter and the Key West Butterfly Conservatory is awesome. Be prepared to shell out money for your onboard photos. I was disappointed that they didn't shoot more candid shots. Everything is posed. All in all it was enjoyable. We've already booked a cruise for next June to Alaska one Serenade of the Seas. This is a newer ship with more amenities Be prepared for a long Disembarkation. You need to be out of your room by 8am and you get to sit for ar least 2 hours in the lounge before they start letting passengers off. The fire drill is also long..one woman almost passed out. Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
My husband, Mark, and I just got back from a three-day cruise on Carnival's Fascination to Nassau in the Bahamas, out of Miami, Florida. This was our sixth cruise; we've also cruised on Carnival's Jubilee, Imagination, and ... Read More
My husband, Mark, and I just got back from a three-day cruise on Carnival's Fascination to Nassau in the Bahamas, out of Miami, Florida. This was our sixth cruise; we've also cruised on Carnival's Jubilee, Imagination, and Fantasy, and Celebrity Millennium twice. For background info, I'm 27 and he's 29 and we live in Orlando and drive to the ports. On this cruise we were sailing with two male friends, ages 29 and 31, who stayed in a different cabin. Day 1 - Embarkation The first day was simply the embarkation day. We left Orlando around 9:00 and arrived at the Port of Miami around 1:00. We parked in the parking garage first and took our luggage over to the pier. The Port is under a lot of construction but it was fairly easy to find our way around. Got in line and got through embarkation easily and painlessly. No problems there, it was very easy. We boarded the ship around 1:30, first went to see the Maitre d' about our dining reservations, and then all went up to lunch. I didn't find much on the buffet I liked and hit the pizza bar. We went to our favorite spot on the Fantasy-class ships to eat, the patio area on the very aft end of the ship behind the Lido deck restaurant. After lunch we went to our cabins. Mark and I had booked a guarantee cabin and ended up with R32, a forward oceanview cabin on the Riviera deck. It turned out to be a nice cabin location and was very quiet. Our friends were in R18, an inside cabin just a little further forward from us. They didn't have any complaints about the location either. The rest of the day was spent exploring the ship and relaxing. The Fascination is really a beautiful ship. Of course, we experienced the lifeboat drill, but I was surprised by how brief it was. We went to our muster stations, listened to the lecture, and then it was over. I had thought they would make us go outside to the lifeboats, but they didn't. That evening we had the late seating dinner at 8:30 in the Celebration dining room. We had originally requested a table for four so the four of us could eat by ourselves, but we were put at a table for eight. The Maitre d' had said he couldn't move us unless we wanted to change dining times to early seating, so we stuck with it. Our tablemates were very nice, but kept to themselves. Our waiter and assistant waiter both did an excellent job. I'll talk about the food a little later. We were very tired that evening from staying up late the night before and getting up early that day to leave, so we went to bed after dinner. Day 2 - Nassau, Bahamas On the second day we had ordered a room service breakfast before we arrived in Nassau. It came twenty minutes early, which I didn't appreciate because I wasn't dressed. During our time in Nassau, one of our friends wanted to go snorkeling, so Mark and I booked the Blue Lagoon Beach Break and he booked the same tour along with the Stingray City snorkeling. Our other friend stayed on the ship all morning. We absolutely loved the Blue Lagoon excursion! It was so much fun. We met in the Palace Lounge (main show lounge) at 9:00 and set off for the ferry boat from there. There was free rum punch on the way, along with a bar with tropical drinks for $6. We tried the free rum punch but the rum was very watered-down! Mark filled his glass three-quarters full of rum and put just a splash of the fruit punch in and you could barely taste the rum. Upon arrival at Blue Lagoon Island, our friend joined the Stingray City group, and after a little exploring, Mark and I got some Piña Coladas and staked out a hammock. The island was just beautiful, and there were no vendors harassing anyone. There were all sorts of amenities... things for sale, tropical drinks at a bar ($6 for a delicious Piña Colada), hair braiding, swimming, snorkeling, hammocks, picnic tables, basketball, clean restrooms, showers, hiking, calypso music. We dozed in a hammock until our friend got back from snorkeling. He was hungry when we met up with him so we went to the lunch bar. Unfortunately, the prices here were outrageous! They were charging $8.50 for a hot dog or hamburger and $11.50 for barbecued ribs or chicken. Our friend got a hamburger but Mark and I decided to skip lunch. The Piña Coladas were filling anyway. After he ate, he swam some more and Mark and I walked around the island to a stone structure called Blackbeard's Tower. Great views from there! Then we decided to head back to the ship. There were two ferries you could take, at 2:00 or 4:00 and we decided to go back on the 2:00. Back at the ship, Mark and I and our friend met up with our other friend, grabbed some pizza and then got ready to head off to Atlantis. We took a taxi and asked the driver to meet us at the entrance at 7:45. We wandered around the building but did not pay to get into the Dig. Spent some time (and $$) in the casino, then we walked over to a wonderful little restaurant down the road from Atlantis called Anthony's Caribbean Grill. We all had drinks, shopped a bit in a neighboring store, then headed back to the resort to meet our cab. He was there promptly at 7:45. The usual fare is $4 per person and we gave him an extra tip for meeting us. After returning to the ship we had just enough time to change for dinner. That night was formal night. After dinner we explored the ship a bit, wondering why the bars were all empty, and went up to the Lido deck and discovered the deck party. I would say that 75% of passengers (including us) changed into more casual clothing after dinner. Day 3 - Fun Day at Sea On the sea day we woke up and had a late breakfast at the buffet, snagging a couple of boxes of cereal for the next morning since we were going to be doing self-express checkout the next day. We spent the morning wandering around the ship and taking pictures. At lunchtime we decided to eat in the dining room because my husband wanted the ribs. He loves Carnival's ribs. After lunch we went to the pool and watched the pool games, then in the late afternoon went to the casino and won a little money. My husband and I went back to the cabin to take a nap before dinner and ended up sleeping through it. So we had pizza late that evening. They also had the midnight buffet that night. We were tired though and went back to the room to pack and go to sleep. Day 4 - Disembarkation Although I had set my alarm for 6:30, we were awakened at 6:20 by our phone ringing (I hadn't ordered a wake-up call.) So much for sleeping in a few minutes! Got up and finished our packing, then got our friends up and headed to the Palace Lounge for self-express checkout at 7:30. Carnival is trying a new debarkation option in Miami in which if you can carry all your luggage, you don't have to leave it out the night before and can just take it all and leave early on debarkation day. It only took about thirty minutes from the time we left the cabin to the time we were in our car. It was without exception the easiest and most organized debarkation we've ever experienced. Traffic in Miami wasn't too bad, either, as everyone seemed to be going the opposite direction as us. Be careful and lock your doors as you cross the bridge from the port area into the city, because that isn't the safest area of town. Trip Highlights The Ship The Fascination is a beautiful ship. The Coconut Grove restaurant on the Lido deck was my favorite Lido deck restaurant of any ship we've been on, as far as dEcor. The palm trees were such a neat touch! The ship was always kept immaculately clean; and although some of the railings could use a coat of paint, and the windows could stand to be washed, it was a very pleasant ship. The wide variety of lounges, bars, and clubs on the ship could not all be visited in a short cruise, and there is one to suit every taste. The cabin was large enough that we did not feel cramped. Food The food on the Fascination was very good. I would have to say that it is much better in the dining room than it is on the Lido deck. There was always something for everyone on the menu, and everything was consistently good. The appetizers were especially good, and I found myself ordering several of them instead of a salad. Desserts were top-notch. Entrees were generally small, but you could always order more. On the Lido deck, the food was served buffet style and was generally about average quality. It was filling, and they always had a variety of choices, but it wasn't the best food I'd ever had. My favorite food item on the whole ship would have to be the pizza. It was delicious, with a thick, chewy crust and delicious sauce. They offer plenty of spices with which to dress up your pizza - Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese, and crushed red pepper flakes. The only thing I didn't like about the pizza was the amount of cornmeal on the crust - it made the meal very messy. Entertainment We are not people who enjoy Vegas-style shows, so we didn't see the shows any night of our cruise. One of our friends saw the midnight comedy show and said it was very funny. In the lounges there was always someone playing the piano, or a live band, or a DJ spinning tunes. All of the entertainers in the lounges were excellent. Tips We used the prepay option with our tips, and won't be doing that again. Our cabin steward never introduced himself to us and kept moving our things around so that we had trouble finding things. He didn't seem to go out of his way to exceed our expectations. Dining room service didn't suffer, but didn't stand out either. Overall, the trip was very fun. Just remember that how good a time you will have depends on your attitude. Expect minor problems and don't let them ruin your cruise. No vacation is perfect, and we can't expect them to be or we will be disappointed. Go in with a realistic idea of what to expect and a great roll-with-the-punches attitude and you'll have one of the most wonderful vacations of your life. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
I've taken six cruises in the past 3 years and have thought highly about all of my past cruise with the exception of this one. I've cruised on Commodore (2 times), Carnival (3 times) and Royal Caribbean (1 time/scheduled to go ... Read More
I've taken six cruises in the past 3 years and have thought highly about all of my past cruise with the exception of this one. I've cruised on Commodore (2 times), Carnival (3 times) and Royal Caribbean (1 time/scheduled to go again in two weeks.) I've sailed Inspiration (7 nights), Fascination (3 nights) and this cruise was Fantasy (3 nights). Here goes. . . The embarkation process went very smoothly. We arrived around 12:30, parked, went through security and were standing under the welcome aboard picture at exactly 1:00 pm. (it's on our picture :0) I loved the new bedding for the cabins. The white looked very neat and elegant. I loved the set up of the room with the pull down beds for the kids. This is the first time that I've traveled with both of my sons. It was nice to put them up and out of the way with their small toys that we brought along. The worst thing about the room was the bathroom. It appeared to be clean, but it smelled horrible. The entire cruise, we hated opening the door. The rest of the ship was nice; however, like others have said, she was showing her age. I personally didn't care for the color coordination throughout the ship. The Camp Carnival Program was great. My oldest son had a chance to experience it previously on our 7 night cruise. He loves it, and so do we. The first night, we did the Welcome Party and did the twist. The kids had a ball. We took the Yellowbird partyboat tour in Nassau for our shore excursion. It was not nearly as fun as the Fiesta Party Boat in Cozumel. We went to the beach (Pearl Island) and stayed there for the about 2 hours. There were no beach and water toys. We did have fun with the kids in the water, but it was just a normal day at the beach. Nothing extra. Again, the beach in Cozumel (Playa del Sol) had all of the fun water toys that you could use for free (floaters, paddleboats, trampoline, etc.). We didn't have a lot of time to do anything else since we had main seating for dinner. It really made it hard since it was formal night. The kids went to the Cocktail Party while we went to the Captain's Reception. We took advantage of the babysitting for only an hour, then went to pick up the kids. The dinning room experience was not at all what I was used to. In every past cruise, I've had ABOVE AVERAGE waiters. This time we did not. They were just ok, if that. There was no personal attention that I've received in the past. The table next to us got lot of attention from their waiter. We sat a table for 10 with one other couple. The kids ate dinner with the Camp Carnival Kids for two nights and once with us (the first night). The food was good, but was small in portions. Our room steward was just ok, too. Again, we didn't get the personal attention that I was used to. He cleaned the room well, but it was nothing special. The third night we just had a relaxing day. We did dinner and a show. The show was excellent. We watched a movie and took a nap. It was really a little vacation for the kids more than us. We live in South Florida with no other family that can babysit the kids, so we enjoyed the free time in our cabin, even if it was just to take a nap and watch television. We are taking another cruise on the Majesty of the Seas (RCCL) on June 4th. This time, the kids are not going (we are flying family in) and we will party all night and experience a lot more of the ship. Overall, while I did not take advantage of all of what the ship had to offer, I had a nice time. I've stayed in a Royal Suites (a gift from a travel agent once before), Oceanview Cabins, and Interior Cabins. This was not the best looking ship and could use a little improvement in the service area. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
I am writing to all you mothers out there with young children! My advice is to stay home rather than to be cramped in these extremely small cabins for 7 days where you lose your sanity!!! If you are someone who likes to spend time in ... Read More
I am writing to all you mothers out there with young children! My advice is to stay home rather than to be cramped in these extremely small cabins for 7 days where you lose your sanity!!! If you are someone who likes to spend time in your cabin, or someone who has children, make sure you have enough money to book a suite or don't go! When my husband and I booked this cruise for April (Easter) vacation, we investigated the cabin size and services provided on the Norwegian Dawn. We read that the cabins were average to above average in size and that this new "freestyle cruising" was the best idea for families that decide to go on a cruise. We booked an Oceanview Stateroom with a Balcony. Our room was 166 square feet. I thought this would be an OK size for our family because other ships had much smaller cabins and I figured 166 square feet was spacious by comparison. After an hour and 1/2 of waiting on lines to enter the ship, we were pointed in the direction of our stateroom. I had held my 2 year old for nearly two hours while my husband lugged our bags, stroller, playpen (which we brought to use as a crib)to our stateroom. When we entered the room, our jaws dropped! This stateroom was not even big enough to hold our luggage comfortably! The bed was what looked like a "full" sized bed rather than a queen. My daughter was not old enough to sleep on the sofa, but there was no room to open it up anyway! The only room that you have to stand is in the place that the sofa bed opens up, which is right in front of the balcony doors. I hate to keep harping on the size of the room, but I am a creature of comfort. I like lots of room to spread out and I like to retreat to my room to enjoy the quiet. I simply could not enjoy spending time in this closet that they consider a room! The balcony was only big enough to hold two chairs. It was very cramped for my husband and I and we were not able to enjoy it. We could not venture out onto the balcony after our daughter went to sleep because we had to put her crib in front of the balcony doors! There wasn't any other space to put it, unless we blocked our route to the bathroom for the entire night! As for the freestyle cruising, we have nothing to compare it to. This was our first cruise. We enjoyed having the option of where to dine, however, we did not like having to pay extra for specialty restaurants that ought to be included for the price we were paying. I would recommend eating at Cagney's Steakhouse if you want to pay the money. The food was delicious and the views from that restaurant are superb! We ate at LeBistro and the food there was incredible as well. Lastly, we tried the Mexican food (Salsa) which was mediocre. The food was average aboard the rest of the ship. The service aboard the ship was very good. The entertainment was very good. My husband and I enjoyed the comedy shows. The Kid's Program was excellent! Our daughter was excited to go and play there for a large part of each day. As far as the ports of call, it takes too long to get off the boat! However, we went to Sea world on the Port Canaveral day. I took a day of shopping while we were in Miami. The private island in the bahamas was nice but the beach is simply to crowded to enjoy. The day at Nassau is too short. Lastly, I think this week got off to a bad start because the Monday at sea was very rough. Many people became sick, including my husband and daughter. My daughter threw-up. We were stuck in a very small cabin with the boat rocking ferociously back and forth. This got the cruise off to a bad start and my husband and I just could not enjoy time together in our cabin. Parts of this trip were fine, however, if you enjoy your space, go with a mini-suite or above----or just don't go! Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
This was our second cruise on Fantasy. We took the kids the first time about a year and a half ago and everyone had fun, so we decided to go for our anniversary with no kids. We flew in the day before due to the time of year and the ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Fantasy. We took the kids the first time about a year and a half ago and everyone had fun, so we decided to go for our anniversary with no kids. We flew in the day before due to the time of year and the possibility of snow in Tennessee. Southwest airlines was great and we stayed at an inexpensive hotel that night. We used Happy Limo service out of Orlando for the connection from Orlando to the Fantasy in Port Canaveral ( about 45-50 miles). We were very pleased with their service and will use them again if we do another cruise out of Port Canaveral. The Embarkation was very quick and everyone was very courteous. We got to the terminal very early and expected a few hours wait. We were very surprised to have boarded at 11:30am. We weren't expecting to be able to until around 1:pm!! The ship was dry docked a few months ago and you can tell it when you walk around the ship. There are a few cosmetic changes to the public areas and everything has a fresh coat of paint, but the Staterooms have been refurbished and are very pleasant. The entertainment on the ship was much better this time as compared to the last cruise. We enjoyed the Calypso band and the band in Cats Lounge each evening. I tried my luck in the Casino and walked away a few dollars for the better! Lets talk about our stops Freeport We did the snorkeling tour and loved it! definitely have a disposable underwater camera for this, the fish and coral are beautiful. It was about 80'F out but the water temp according to the guide was 77'F. That was the coldest 77' I've ever felt!! After about 5 minutes, you get used to it (hypothermia!) and it was worth the money. We did some brief shopping at the small straw market by the ship and got some good deals on T-shirts and stuff. Nassau If you have ever had the urge to get close to a dolphin, I know the excursion for you! We did the Blue Lagoon Dolphin encounter and it was incredible! We were very pleased with their operation and three of their dolphins were movie stars! They played the dolphin in the recent movie "Flipper". We stayed on the boat that evening and enjoyed night time Calypso on the Lido deck and danced the night away! Dinner The food in the formal dining room was great. All the food was very well prepared and everything that should have been hot was hot (better than last time). Service was a little slow, but we didn't mind. The food off the Lido deck was decent, nothing too spectacular, but it's a buffet. Of course you always have room service and Pizza! I would recommend this 4 day cruise to anyone who has never cruised before. It's long enough to let you see if you like cruising but not too long if you hate it. We enjoyed ourselves, but have decided that our next cruise will be 7 days and probably on Carnival. We like their structure, but we always keep our eyes open for the "Good Deal". Pmed777 Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
Background: This is a review of our Majesty of the Seas cruise from February 16-20. Sorry for the delay, I had tried to submit once before but apparently it did not go through! My husband Bruce and I are from New York, we are married 26 ... Read More
Background: This is a review of our Majesty of the Seas cruise from February 16-20. Sorry for the delay, I had tried to submit once before but apparently it did not go through! My husband Bruce and I are from New York, we are married 26 years and this was our third cruise. We were bringing our 17-year-old Andrew son on his first cruise. Also joining us were our friends Debbie and Benny from Boston and their 17-year-old son Jason. Pre Cruise: Flew down on American Airlines two days early to see my in-laws who winter in Delray Beach, they drove down to Miami to see us. We did not rent a car, used cabs to and from airport and port, and either walked or used free Metromover in Miami to travel. My friend Debbie and I had booked rooms at the Downtown Hyatt Regency online some months prior for $57 per night. This is a bit high by online standards but bear in mind it was President's Week and there was a boat show in Downtown Miami. Turned out to be a great bargain. We got rooms on the 22nd floor, city view, the rooms were lovely, no problem getting two double beds to accommodate us and our son. Nice dressing area, great hairdryer and lighted makeup mirror, towels and amenities. My sole complaint was that the bathroom (toilet/tub area) is very dark; could use more lighting. Ate a late night dinner at hotel when our friends arrived from Boston, food was good, not badly priced. Went with the in-laws in their car to South Beach Sunday and wandered around. We ate dinner with them at Bubba Gump's in Bayside Marketplace; went at 5:00 on a Saturday night, no problem getting in, great food, good time had by all. Many stores in Downtown Miami within walking distance, and Bayside is only about 10 blocks away by foot. Cruise Check in: Snagged two cabs from Hyatt at about 10:30 and went to port. Checked in very quickly, no problems or lines, we were on the ship by 11:30 at the latest. It was a real breeze, no waiting at all! Found our cabins and ran to Windjammer for lunch before the crowds arrived. Did a tour of the ship, drank my first of numerous BBCs and did some laying by the pool before Muster Drill, which was typically boring but necessary, especially given two weeks ago they called it out on this ship at 5am due to a small kitchen fire. Cabins: We had three inside cabins and knew they would be small, which is why we put the 17-year-old boys in their own. Cost me exactly $25 extra by booking me in one cabin, hubby in other, and using two C&A coupons. We just got extra key cards coded for my son and I and we flipped them. Easy as cake. Our travel agent surprised us with $25 credits for the two adult cabins (he had previously sent us wine, which was nice also). This was on top of the $100 in cabin credits I had gotten for booking the two cabins on my Serenade cruise! Nice to have "free" money to play with. Our cabins were three of the 8 inside cabins on deck 7; most of the insides are on Decks 6 and down. I don't know if it was because we were on deck 7, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a safe in the closet! The other advantage to deck 7 was that it was the promenade deck—even though I was in an inside, we were steps away from the fresh air and chairs outside without any stairs to contend with. Cabins were quite small but functional, OK for two people; I cannot imagine 4 in one of those insides. The cabin was a bit run down, torn wallpaper in one spot, bathroom door slightly rusted—I learned how THAT happened after my first shower, which totally ran out of the shower area onto the floor. After two cruises with the nice glass sliding shower door, the shower curtain was a riot! I'm fairly small and it stuck to me every move! We had a hairdryer, worked fine. Our cabin attendant was Murado(?), I don't remember where he was from, he was pleasant, nothing spectacular but did his job and props to him: he managed to keep up with the whirlwind the two 17 year old boys called their home for four days, including making them some hysterical towel animals using their caps, glasses, etc. He got extra tip from us just for pulling THAT off! Appearance of ship: I was truly pleasantly surprised by this, as was my husband, who was convinced we were taking a step into hell after cruising on Voyager and Radiance classes. Everything sparkling clean, obvious fresh carpeting in many areas, no dirty dishes lying around, always someone at work cleaning or fixing something. The ship is getting a total refurbishment in a year, and I hear the cabins will be totally redone, and they will freshen up the rest of the common areas. I also liked the shopping area on Majesty, which was nice and spread out. Nothing beats Explorers' promenade, but I thought Serenade's store area was cramped. Food: The endless Cruise Critic board discussions about "bad food" always surprise me. Considering the ship is feeding over 2,000 people, I think they do a darned good job. The Windjammer is a bit more congested than on the larger ships but it worked fine, and blissfully, it was open post-Galley fire! Food quality was good there although some of the breakfast food (pancakes, French toast) was sometimes cold, and as usual, as on every one of my Royal cruises, I have not been able to get a good piece of melon! Oh well....Also at breakfast, lox (known as smoked salmon for you non New Yorkers!) was missing after the first meal, and I do enjoy that. My one other issue: for the entire trip, the soft serve ice cream machines only had strawberry ice cream, no vanilla or chocolate, and I HATE strawberry! All in all, however, I enjoyed Windjammer. It is divided into two sections; don't stop at the front area, the area further aft is prettier and you have the option of going up a level to find tables. We ate every breakfast and lunch at Windjammer except for one of each meal in the dining room, dinner always was in the Dining Room. The upstairs area of Windjammer also served as the Mast Bar. Pizza and frankfurters and often some sort of sweet are available here into the wee hours, and they had great sandwiches out during sail away. Dining Room: We were assigned to the Mikado on Deck 4, had requested a table for 6 late seating and got it with no problems. Our table was in a nice location, and although the dining area is not as spectacular as on the newer ships, it was still beautiful. Our waiter was Yavuz from Turkey. Suffice it to say he was a little on the odd side. Barely saw him during the meal, although our food arrived promptly with no problems. Then after dinner he would stop by to chat and went on and on, and half the time we had no idea what he was talking about. Just a strange dude. In contrast, our assistant waiter, Carina from Argentina, was truly spectacular. She knew what everyone liked to drink after the first night (anyone who remembered Earl Grey tea for me and English Breakfast tea for my son is amazing), was constantly in attendance, and took care of all sorts of stuff for us. Saw the boys' soda cards the first night and from that point on the Cokes and Sprites kept appearing without asking. Told us all sorts of stories about her family and heritage (Italian/Argentinean) and was quite entertaining. She also got a nice tip from us! Our headwaiter was Wellington from India and he is the best headwaiter I've had. Attentive, friendly, and actually visible; came over and chatted at length with us every night. Our friends were blown away (as was my son) when he took the shrimp scampi out of the shell! As for the food, in general it was great. The RCI menus were exactly the same as on my four night Serenade cruise and I knew what I did and did not like. The first night, however, they had the infamous ranch steak (albeit in a special marinade) and I was in a steak mood, so I cracked and tried it. Not the best. Kudos to the prime rib, the duck (which I asked for nice and crispy and got!), shrimp scampi, shrimp cocktail, escargots, Key Lime Pie, and lots of other goodies. We had one breakfast there (the day we disembarked, as we were in no hurry) which was pleasant, and one lunch, on what turned out to be our sea day, since we did not make Coco Cay. More on that later, but the lunch was excellent. I have to add here that the 2 17-year-old boys went to town at meals. The funniest night was when my son Andrew was eating shrimp scampi with one hand and Fettuccini Alfredo with the other. They also LOVED room service nachos. There were two buffets, a midnight one as we sailed away from Nassau (which was nice) and a midnight chocolate buffet that the adults missed due to total exhaustion but the boys raided. They pronounced it to be outrageous. Ports: We unfortunately had crummy weather, more or less, our entire trip. There was a cold front across Florida and the Bahamas and we landed right in the middle of it. Our two days pre-cruise were OK but not pool weather. Boarding day in Miami was fairly nice and my husband managed a suntan. The day in the Bahamas was overcast. We went in the morning into town and did some shopping, my son got a Casio watch, I got a Skaagen, and he bought sunglasses. We ran back to the ship, had a little snack and were picked up by Stuart Cove snorkeling for their excursion. We took a half hour bus ride to their boat, got to see some local sights (since we had stayed at the Atlantic for three nights a few years ago, we had already seen a lot of Nassau). The water was a bit rocky, it was gloomy and raining on and off and I was a bit dizzy, bear in mind you ARE snorkeling off a boat in the middle of the water! The rocking prompted me to jump into the ocean and try snorkeling for the first time very quickly. I had a ball in the water, and felt much better there. Our friends chickened out, but my husband, the boys and I had a ball. After we got back, we were starving, so we attacked the pizza at the Mast Bar. What is it about vacation that makes you constantly hungry? Alas, the weather and 10' swells also cancelled Coco Cay. It was very disappointing but I'm sure the captain was concerned with safety. We actually met with Captain Per Kristoffersen in a corridor later that day and he was very pleasant, explained at length why we could not get there, especially with tenders involved. We had been looking forward to this, especially my son, as they have beach volleyball there and he was raring to go (he plays varsity in HS). The ship increased onboard activities for the day and did hand out free Screwdrivers and Bloody Mary's from 10am-noon by the pool, not that you could sit there without being blown off your chair and into the water! It felt like my Canada cruise....in any event, we compensated, the boys caught up on sleep, had a nice leisurely lunch in dining room, played some games, visited the casino (no luck there), shopped, etc. We arrived in Key West to lovely, 70-degree weather. The ship now had to go through immigration since we were back in the United States, and although it went smoothly, we sat in port until 10:30 until it was completed, which was a bit annoying looking at the beauty outside. We were going to take the Trolley tour but opted for walking. Did the tour of Ernest Hemingway's house (as I wanted to see the cats!) and walked to the southernmost point. We walked back toward the pier on Duval Street, lost Debbie & Benny to the stores, and the boys went right back to the ship for "lunch, sun, virgin pina coladas and basketball." Bruce and I went in search of the Kino sandal store; if you don't know about them they have a very inexpensive sandal factory and make great flip-flops. Other family members have brought them to me so I reciprocated and bought some for them, and we made our way back to the ship for lunch at the Windjammer. "Our" Carina was working there that day and kept bringing us goodies! After that Bruce went in search of a lounge chair and I went off ship again for some solo shopping time; I didn't buy much but enjoyed people watching and strolling around. I joined Bruce for some sun, bought some photographs, and we showered and got ready for dinner before sailaway from Key West. Don't miss that sunset, but watch it outside (Bruce and I watched from the Viking Crown Lounge and apparently the polarization on the windows cut out some of the coloration of the skies). Entertainment: The two production shows were "Wild Wild West" and "The Beat Goes On." Honestly, I had heard the former was not too good, and I agreed, we walked out. "The Beat Goes On" was pretty good and I enjoyed reminiscing with some of the music. Comedian on cruise was Greg Otto. He was hilarious; he did the first night cruise and also a late night comedy act the last night. My son was rolling in the aisles. The first night show also featured "Cowboy Dario El Gaucho," who does a comedy/music/everything else act and is a treat. Also entertaining was Hal Frazier, who did a comedy/singing act beyond explanation. If he's on board, make sure you see him. We also went to Quest (funny, although a bit repetitive the third time around: I really think RCI should consider something new) some game called Liars Club on our at sea day, and Love and Marriage game, which is always funny. My husband loves watching Karaoke and we spent some time watching this. It's Worth it just for the antics of Bar Waiter Desmond, who becomes part of the act and is hysterical. We didn't do the rock wall, much of the dancing scene, bingo, art auctions, spa, not enough time to do everything (hey, I need to sleep, I'm not 22 years old!). Bruce, who likes to exercise, was disappointed by the Gym and pronounced it horrible compared to our two other ships. I assume this will be part of the refurbishment next year. The Cruise Director is Tim Seivert, who I thought did a great job. Young, dynamic, funny and truly seemed like he was enjoying himself, as did the assistant cruise directors and other staff. Disembarkation: Alas, it was already Friday morning and time to leave. Since we were in no hurry, had aforementioned breakfast in Mikado, retrieved our luggage, went quickly through customs (remember immigration had already taken place) and were off the ship by 9:00 am. Were at our internet booked $42 a night room at Embassy Suites hotel at MIA (since we all had morning flights Saturday, we opted to stay by the airport) by 9:30. Rooms were not ready yet (not unexpected) and although this hotel is a great value for the buck (free Managers' Reception at night with drinks, free cooked to order breakfast and free shuttle bus to the airport) there was NOTHING to do around here (it's truly an airport hotel) so we laid by the pool and vegetated until we could get into rooms. Ended up eating both lunch and dinner at the hotel as my son was feeling lightheaded (which we thought was post-motion but found out later was not, as he came down with some sort of bug); there IS a Bennigan's fairly close by but aside from that you're really stranded without a car. Got up the next AM and went to airport for our flight back to New York but that's a horror story that I won't go into here, as it isn't cruise related! Final impressions: We knew this wasn't going to be the same sort of experience as cruising on the larger and newer ships, but a vacation is what you make of it and we had great fun with our friends. They got hooked and booked another cruise; the Loyalty Ambassador, Kim, was really nice, but go see her early if you plan on booking on board to get a cabin credit, as she is totally overwhelmed with people making last minute bookings. There's more action on the larger ships but this one did have a great crew and plenty to keep you busy. I do understand they miss the Coco Cay port often due to tendering problems; keep that in mind, as it was a disappointment. Robin Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
Thanksgiving Majesty Review (Sort of long!) After reading mixed reviews, I was nervous about our Thanksgiving cruise on the Majesty of the Seas, but to sum it all up it was really fantastic. Hubby and I were to be taking his mom and my ... Read More
Thanksgiving Majesty Review (Sort of long!) After reading mixed reviews, I was nervous about our Thanksgiving cruise on the Majesty of the Seas, but to sum it all up it was really fantastic. Hubby and I were to be taking his mom and my aunt & uncle (all in their 70's) on their first cruise. As it turned out, my uncle had a heart attack and was unable to travel, giving us a first-hand experience with the value of cruise insurance. He's now out of the hospital, and hoping to get strong enough to make the trip in the future. Details: Pre-cruise - Spent two nights at the Embassy Suites by the Airport, arranged through Priceline. Decent hotel at good price. Enjoyed seeing some of Miami - shopped at Bayside and visited Bubba Gump's. Embarkation - Very smooth! Arrived at port around 10:45. Went straight up to security check. Moved through sea pass receipt and was on board and in cabins by noon. Signs at check-in said ship was full - no upgrades available. Cabins - We were on deck 9 in category D. Had booked handicapped room for my uncle in wheelchair and room for M-I-L two doors down. Hubby and I were to be on other side of hall because that's what was available. Began asking upon boarding if it would be possible to move to my uncle's cabin since it would most likely be sitting empty, and that would put us closer to M-I-L. At first told no - cabin had been re-booked, but that evening was told to go ahead and move. The cabin 9034 would have been perfect for my aunt & uncle. Lots of space to maneuver wheelchair. Bathroom had great roll-in shower. Two windows. We felt very spoiled to have the space. I'll try to figure out how to post the handicapped room photos for those who are curious. Our attendant was Mary from the Philippines. She was sweet, knew our names right away, and took great care of us. Food - Quite good. No, it's not gourmet, but enjoyable. We've done windjammer in the past for breakfast, but since this was a slower pace cruise for us with no kids, we ate more meals in the dining room and enjoyed them. Our waiter was Onur (I've probably spelled that wrong) and he was delightful. Assistant was brand new, Sandros, a bit nervous but friendly and eager to please. Head waiter was Dario. We had early seating and never felt rushed. Thanksgiving dinner was a lot of fun - our waiters seemed quite proud of their role in providing us with a special meal. They had a special commemorative menu for us. "Chocolate Buffet" as we were told the one late night buffet would be was actually more of a general buffet with lots of desserts. Poolside sailaway buffet was great. Never tried the pizza - can't say we were ever hungry! Ports - Nassau we did some shopping and took taxi to Atlantis. Didn't get past the guards to see the beach or pool. Would have tried another beach but M-I-L was tired. Coco Cay was warm enough for swimming, food was better than previous experience on Labadee. More salads that were good. We snorkeled and spent the day in the sun. Key West was OK - expensive shopping, OK trolley tour. Everything was open despite the fact that it was thanksgiving. Had the chocolate dipped key lime pie on a stick. Yum! Entertainment - Probably biggest disappointment. I guess vocalist entertainers were ill - comedian did a couple of shows on his own. I don't remember his name. He was OK - but not really enough to carry the farewell show on his own although that's the way it worked out. Marriage show was OK first night - not too exciting. People who got picked seemed sort of "rigid" and didn't get very creative with their answers. Second marriage show on final night swung the other way - some of the answers were quite shocking to part of the audience, I'm sure! Quest was OK - secret to winning is to be seated close to the stage I think. Cruise Director Ricco was OK. A little "looser" than the what I've experienced before. Party on deck on Nassau night was a lot of fun. Casino ate our money but didn't give us anything back this time. Fellow passengers - Met some great people. If by chance they see this, hello to crazy birthday boy Phil, and my hubby's beer buddy, Larry. Our Tablemates, Susanne & her daughter Sarah were delightful. Lots of families enjoying thanksgiving together. Lots of kids and teens - but no rowdies that we witnessed. Seemed like a subdued crowd in some ways. Disembarking - Immigration is done prior to disembarking in Key West. Line at our appointed time was horribly long - but in a half hour it was all clear. Go early if you're up. Final day our color was the third to the last scheduled to be called, but we were called while we were eating breakfast in the dining room. Took our time, got bags very easily, sailed through customs, and within minutes were in a cab and on our way to the airport... with three hours to kill! Final thoughts - my concerns about ragged conditions and sewer like smells were unfounded. But... I'm taking a group of 40 on the Sovereign next year and I'm more concerned about those comments from that ship. I'd love to hear from others who have recently sailed on her. The Majesty proved to be a delightful way to give an older relative a taste of cruising, while making great new friends and enjoying a hard working crew. Cheers! Lisa in Pittsburgh Read Less
Sail Date November 2003
First, let me state this was my first cruise. My friend and I decided to see what it was like to venture out on a cruise. We didn't want to spend a lot of money and stay a long time so we opted for the budget and time choice of ... Read More
First, let me state this was my first cruise. My friend and I decided to see what it was like to venture out on a cruise. We didn't want to spend a lot of money and stay a long time so we opted for the budget and time choice of Carnival. I've heard Royal is much better as far a food and quality of travelers. However, I really enjoyed the cruise. The food was fine, not gourmet, but I wasn't expecting gourmet either. The entertainment was fabulous! They had great Vegas-style shows that kept us going back to them so much we missed dinner in the dining room. When we docked, we took up on one of the excursions to Paradise Island and over to the Blue Lagoon. We really enjoyed both. One of the main things I loved about the cruise was we relaxed and were entertained so much the 4 days felt like 7. There was so much to do and a night's rest was so wonderful I think it was the first time in years I actually "rested" and not just slept. There is a difference. The ship was old and it held up very well. I would definitely recommend new travelers to give Carnival Paradise a try. Read Less
Sail Date July 2003
Day 1: We arrived at the terminal around noon. There were no lines for security and check-in. We were held in the "boarding area" for less than 30 minutes. We got on board and dropped our carry on luggage off. The Coconut Grove ... Read More
Day 1: We arrived at the terminal around noon. There were no lines for security and check-in. We were held in the "boarding area" for less than 30 minutes. We got on board and dropped our carry on luggage off. The Coconut Grove (casual restaurant) was open for lunch. The food was average. Nothing exciting, just buffet food. After the muster station drill at 5:00, we pulled away from port around 6:00. Ate dinner in one of the formal dinning rooms. All of the entrees were good. Attended broadway-style show in the Palace Lounge. It was very good. Day 2: Nassau, We took the Blue Lagoon-Snorkel with the sting rays. Blue Lagoon was where the movie was filmed. The island itself is beautiful, but the beauty has been cheapened by tacky pink, purple, and turquoise trash cans, benches, picnic tables etc.. The 45 minute ferry ride over was pleasant. A band played "island music" and we each received a rum punch drink. There are some other options @ Blue Lagoon. There is a dolphin encounter and a "day at the beach". Each of these packages is priced differently and must be booked on the ship. The sting ray snorkeling was OK. It was in a "fenced off" section of the bay. The water got rough as jet skis and small boats zoomed by. Everything was provided for snorkeling (mask, snorkel and life vest) You can bring your own equipment if you prefer. Others in our group took the excursion that snorkeled off a boat. We were told the water smooth and there were lots of fish. After the ferry back to Nassau, we went back to the ship to change into dry clothes and better walking shoes. We wandered around town using the "shopping guide" the cruise provided. Most of the stores on the guide were over priced. We also visited some of the liquor stores. For the most part their prices on rum and vodka were the same as the ship's store. The only bargain we spotted was the Crown Royal. We also stopped in at Senior Frogs. We each one of their signature giant drinks. They were tasty and strong! Dinner was the formal night and Captain's party. Day 3: Day at sea. Had lots of fun by the pool and hot tubs. Bought the drink of the day which includes a refillable plastic glass. The refills on the drink of the day were less than $5 ea! Another broadway-style show that evening. Also a midnight comedian..he was pretty funny. Tried out the casino, we didn't win...but others around us were. Debarkation: Cattle Call....Depending on where your cabin was you went to a particular club. Cheap cabins wait in the Palace Lounge. The ship is unloaded by the most expensive cabins first, starting around 8:00. We escaped the Palace Lounge around 10:00. Unlike the rest of the cruise, there was no entertainment during the wait. Feel free to go to breakfast before go to your waiting area. Once we were called (color of luggage tag), we were able to walk to the exit. There was some congestion. Once we were actually in the terminal, it lightened up. Our luggage was in the designated area...we breezed through customs. Lots of Taxi's waiting to take you to the airport, hotel etc... Overall this was great cruise. There were plenty of activities throughout the day, just watch the daily newsletter! Read Less
Sail Date June 2003
We selected this cruise because it was inexpensive for a last minute deal. My husband and I went alone. Our ages are 26 and 37 so we are still relatively young. It was my first cruise and his first cruise since childhood. PRE-CRUISE: We ... Read More
We selected this cruise because it was inexpensive for a last minute deal. My husband and I went alone. Our ages are 26 and 37 so we are still relatively young. It was my first cruise and his first cruise since childhood. PRE-CRUISE: We stayed at the cheapest place we could find, Howard Johnson's, across from the port. We drove in from North FL and we were able to park our car in the garage at Howard Johnson's for the length of the cruise and a fee of only $5/day which was less than at the port. Let me say that the Howard Johnson's is not, by any means, a fine hotel. But, as I said, we decided to do this cruise only two weeks before departure so we were looking for a very inexpensive tropical vacation. Howard Johnson's is within walking distance to the port and at the time it fit our needs. EMBARKATION: We got up early, ate breakfast at the hotel and then called for the shuttle to take us to the port. We had to wait forever for it. Several people from our hotel were headed to the port also, including a group of single women who'd been out partying hard the night before and they were barely dragging out. They were on our ship so we shared some conversation with them on the way. We arrived at the port and went in. We waited in line for a while, then got to the desk and gave our credit card and documents. We were sent through a hallway and then we waited in another line for our ID cards. They didn't have our cards and we were told we'd have to go to the purser's desk when we got on the ship. We were ushered through to a huge waiting room alongside the ship. We waited for what seemed like an eternity but I think I was just really excited. FINALLY, we were able to get on the ship, around 1:30 pm. We had our picture taken and we were on our way onto the ship. The line at the purser's desk wasn't too bad and we were finished before long. Total embarkation time was a little over an hour. THE SHIP: The ship was pretty but as has been previously mentioned here, is decorated with a lot of neon. I'm also not a huge fan of orange and it seemed there was a lot of that, too. The carpets and stairwells were showing some signs of wear. Aside from that, everything seemed in decent condition, given the number of people who have sailed on her. OUR CABIN: We had a low category, inside stateroom on the Empress Deck. I enjoyed being on the Empress Deck because its central to where you get on/off. Our room was in a great location and I didn't notice much noise. We did feel a very strong vibration in the mornings as the ship pulled into and out of port. After we got onto the ship, we went straight to check out our cabin and we were very satisfied with it. It was spacious enough and we made ourselves at home. The buffets weren't ready yet and I feel asleep until the muster drill was called. We went down to the lounge where it was being held and I'm estimating it took around 40 minutes. I was a little nervous since it was my first cruise and the muster drill made me feel a little better. After the drill we went to our cabin and relaxed for a while and then we went out to watch the ship pull off. Very cool! FOOD: We ate in the dining room, late seating, for all meals except one where we ate on the Lido deck at the buffet. We were not too keen on the idea of having to have dinner every night with people we'd never met but it turned out so much better than we could've imagined. All of our tablemates were around the same age as us. We really hit it off with one couple and we hung out with them on the last night, going to clubs and bars on the ship. They were so fun and we were bummed to leave! The food was mediocre and I wasn't all that impressed with any meal I had on ship. It wasn't horrible but I've had better. I ordered steak one night, seafood newburg one night and prime rib one night. They were all decent, but not thrilling. Desserts were decent, also. There wasn't much dessert variety and we ate a lot of tiramisu. I got the fountain fun card for adults since I'm a coca-cola addict and my husband had alcohol with his meals or tea. We ordered a few really good mixed drinks but we aren't huge drinkers so we are by no means connoisseurs. The buffets were all well presented. One night, the midnight buffet had salami and similar meats and we passed that up. My husband loved the pizza from the Lido deck. PORT (we only had one): We went on the itinerary that docks in Nassau for 24 hours. We loved the idea of having time to explore the day and nightlife of the area. We didn't do any of the excursions offered by the ship because some of my friends who are more experienced cruisers said we could get the same thing for less by finding our own way. That was a HUGE mistake. We took a water taxi over to Atlantis. The cost was $6 per person for a round trip ticket on the water taxi. The only problem was that I am very proned to motion sickness. I had the patch on but the driver insisted on filling the boat past capacity and since we were some of the first people on the boat, we had to sit and wait while he went out and recruited other passengers. The boat rocked heavily up and down and I started to feel really queasy. Just when we were about to get off the boat, he returned with our fellow passengers and the boat took off. From there, things were fine but I refused to ride it on the way back and so we took a land taxi. Atlantis was gorgeous and we looked around but never could find the entrance to the aquarium. They are very careful about not letting anyone on their beach who isn't staying at Atlantis and you can only enter and exit through certain doors. We ended up gambling in their casino for an hour or so, where I won a little money! As you get off the ship, you'll have people harassing you to have your hair braided and even little children asking if they can sing you a song for a dollar. Who can say no to that? After the third song, however, my husband informed me we were going to have to say no if asked again! It was very obvious that there was a lot of poverty. We went to the straw market and we were grabbed by the arm and ushered to various tables where ladies were trying to sell their creations. I ended up buying a really neat dolphin bracelet for $14. I also got a few bottles of nail polish and a T-shirt that change color in the sun from a store in Nassau. Nassau was a neat port and when we go again in three weeks, I'm going on the ship's excursion so I can actually see the beach! EXTRAS: This was a fun cruise for the $500 we paid for both of us to go. It was a reasonable was to get away for a few days and we had a very good time. We found our own little table by a window at the casino bar that was very quiet and we could stare out and just chat and we returned to this spot several times over the course of the cruise. The cruise was very relaxing and I was so sad to leave. We are cruising on Celebrity's Mllennium in 3 weeks and I am so excited. It will be our first 7 day cruise! Read Less
Sail Date May 2002
there's nothing like running away to turquoise water and ivory sand while snow and ice rains down from the heavens at home . . . but I digress. this is my first critique, but third cruise: my first was on the Carnival Tropicale on a ... Read More
there's nothing like running away to turquoise water and ivory sand while snow and ice rains down from the heavens at home . . . but I digress. this is my first critique, but third cruise: my first was on the Carnival Tropicale on a 5-day Caribbean jaunt with a beau, my second was a seven-day inside passage sailing on HAL's Ryndam with my mother. (I state this now because it does influence some of my perceptions, as you'll see below.) For this, my third, but my best girlfriend's first, we chose a last-minute, three-night sailing over a weekend to keep her time away from work to a minimum, and take advantage of USAirways' last-minute Florida sale. I'd never done Royal Caribbean, so off we went to Majesty of the Seas. EMBARKATION: a breeze. We're both veteran single girl travelers, so we had backpacks and carryons. We arrived at Miami very early (10:30 am) and tooled down to the port with a Supershuttle full of Majesty passengers (none of whom we saw for the rest of the trip!). I had done my pre-board info on line, but she had not; still, we zipped through registration (despite our desire to flirt as much as possible with our very cute and very helpful registration agent), and were on the boat by noon, if not earlier. We completely disregarded the request to not head to our stateroom until later on; we were tired of toting luggage, after all! And even though they weren't quite finished, Garfield, our wonderful steward, let us stash our gear so we could head to the Windjammer with both hands free for pina coladas. I must admit, being used to Carnival and HAL rooms, I was a bit astonished by the, er, size of the room, and we could have used more storage space. However, we learned quickly to tuck things under the beds and that, if we kept our chaos down to a minimum, it was an efficient use of square footage. (We didn't mind it being an inside cabin; it made it so much easier for mid-day naps!) Off we went to the Windjammer for drinks and lunch. A serviceable buffet was served, though not memorable; however, the pina coladas were scrumptious (and potentially deadly), and we happily went off to scout our surroundings from top to bottom. Majesty, despite its refurb, is beginning to look its age, though the crew does an admirable job of keeping things shiny and clean. Two of the six elevators in the forward part of the ship had problems throughout the cruise, and there are some unbelievably dated things on board (really, don't you think RCCL could spring for new graphics in the elevators to tell you what's on each floor? they look older than my 80's legwarmers). However, most of the worn items are more nitpicky than anything else, and besides, what do you expect for a ship that turns around 4800 passengers a week? The obligatory emergency drill went smoothly--I was impressed by how the crew neatly lined everyone up on deck, the first time I'd seen that in a drill; I'm used to the heaving masses milling about, bumping into each other with the life jackets like bobbing apples :->. The weather was warm but overcast -- we spent a lot of time dodging raindrops on the pool deck, and the retractable roof on the HAL line was greatly missed. Still, as we pulled out of Miami (waving to the locals on the breakers as we left), we knew it was far better than the windchills we'd left up north! Dinner was in the Mayfair -- we booked late, and so had main seating. Note to RCCL: get rid of those chandeliers! They look like a bad 70's craft project! Our waiter was charming, our table mates were quite cordial, and we had a great time, even if we had almost nothing in common! :-> After the impeccable cuisine of HAL, I must admit that I was less than impressed with the selections. However, everything my friend and I ordered was tasty and well-presented, except for the desserts, which were not at all special and, frankly, a disappointment -- except for one chocolate cake that I could have happily eaten non-stop the rest of the cruise. I should note that the cruise contained a goodly mix of all kinds of people -- old, young, you name it. There weren't too many children around -- just enough to make it fun, and not enough to make it really annoying. I was surprised, expecting to see more families on a weekend jaunt. After dinner, we caught the stage show -- a 'retrospective' of life as seen through the music of the 60's, 70's, and 80's. I'm pretty sure that Freddie Mercury was spinning in his grave to hear Bohemian Rhapsody edited to a two-minute Vegas production. All in all, not one to go out of your way for. We skipped the shows after that. Off to Karaoke -- a blast! And, it was 70's night, or so we were told, so the disco was just that -- and packed beyond belief. Having been up at half-past-creation to catch planes, we made an early night of it. DAY 2: Coco-Uh-oh We awoke to a painfully loud announcement (if there was a volume control in our room, we never found it) that CocoCay had been rained on for 24 hours straight and, as a result, was a big sandy mud pit. However, they had gotten clearance for us to head straight to Nassau, giving us almost 36 hours straight in port! We docked at 12:30, and headed on foot to Paradise Island, poking our heads in a few shops along the way. It's a trek, and not for the faint-hearted, but it felt good to burn off that chocolate cake . . . . we spent some time on the beach and, when the clouds started gathering, walked to Atlantis and poked around a bit before catching a cab back for dinner. (As for the braid/taxi/whatnot vendors; yes, they ask you if you need fill-in-the-blank, but a polite and friendly "no, thanks," sent them along their way. I didn't find it nearly as pushy as, say, some salespersons at the mall -- and let's face it, how can you be cranky when they keep prefacing it with, "would you two beautiful ladies . . . ") Dinner - the formal dinner - had a bit of steam taken out of it by being in Nassau early. Still, it was lovely (tho I had to satisfy my desire for lobster with the bisque). Then off to wander around to the various live acts. Steve in the Viking Crown, who we'd stumbled across earlier in the library, kept us quite entertained -- talented and a quirky but friendly style. Sadly, we are not as young as we used to be, so we headed off to bed before the midnight buffet, which looked like it was getting rained out; it poured buckets after sunset. SUNDAY: Nassau, part due . . . Another day in Nassau! And now that we knew were we were headed, off we went. A woman we saw in port the day before told us, "Nassau sucks on Sundays! Everything's closed!" And yes, not all the shops were open, but really, how many not-so-great-bargain-bejeweled-globes do you need? We sauntered out of downtown and found a free beach between the Colonial Hilton and the Quality Inn -- not as picturesque or smooth as Paradise Island, but not as crowded, either. It was a local's place, so we had a great time watching the families play in the surf, until it started to rain. :-> So off we went, in search of the Queen's Staircase. A gentleman gave us a speed lecture on the history of the staircase, the hospital, the island, the capital, the fort, the motor scooters . . . . okay, maybe not the motor scooters, but you get the idea. We trooped up the staircase and up to Fort Fincastle -- a great place for a photo op with Atlantis behind you! And then it started to rain. Again. So we headed back to the ship. Nap time. (see? inside rooms are very useful!) It was Superbowl Sunday, so the big decision was: Patriots? or prime rib? the Patriots won out. The crew gave over one big bar, the casino, AND the showroom to the broadcast -- the latter projecting it onto the stage-sized scrim -- and set up buffets with appropriate munchies (hot dogs with kraut or chili, wings, and sandwiches). It was clear in the showroom that folks were partial to one team or the other, which made for a lively evening -- MUCH more entertaining than what we'd seen on Friday night! It was ESPN's Latin American satellite feed, so we missed out on the more, um, non-traditional parts of the event. But to hear American commentators doing "football for dummies" was worth the price of admission alone, as they explained EVERYTHING, assuming the audience didn't understand the quirky nature of American football. After that excitement, we went up to the sky deck and watched the stars go by as we sailed back to Miami. DISEMBARKATION: a rude reintroduction to reality . . . . We were finishing our packing and toilette (remember, we had carryons!) when, at 7:30 am, an announcement was made that the ship was cleared for disembarkation; they then promptly called THREE different tag numbers, out of FIVE listed in our disembarkation packet. We paid no attention, because we were in no hurry: our flights didn't leave until the evening. so we sauntered down to the dining room for a leisurely sit-down breakfast . . . . and discovered a madhouse. The poor waiters couldn't keep up with the orders fast enough, and the passengers seemed terribly cranky to be fed fast and gone. We calmly had our coffee, and juice, and omelettes, and exited at 8:45 to find the line of all lines on the disembarkation deck, waiting. and waiting . . . so we made ourselves useful until 9:15 or so, when we finally decided if we didn't go stand in line, we'd be fighting off the OTHER two colors who hadn't been called. So we did, and after much herding, were finally off the boat and taxiside by 9:45. Now, there is construction going on at the port, so I can understand some confusion. But the lack of signage, to say nothing of any port employees on site to lend a hand or brain cell, made for nothing short of sheer chaos. We had thought to catch a shuttle to Bayside and decide our plan of attack there, but we couldn't find the shuttle. Couldn't find a shuttle stop. Couldn't find someone who could explain what to look for or where to go. So we decided to get a cab, instead. Not one, but TWO, cabs refused to take us, pointing us out to the nonexistent shuttle. While I understand that the fare would not be as lucrative as, say, an MIA run, I was astonished (and fully intend to write the port of Miami as soon as I finish this!). However, their obstinacy was our gain, as we gave up and caught the first rental car shuttle to the airport, where a very lovely woman at Alamo cut us a great deal on a convertible, so we spent the day tooling around SoBe with the top down before reluctantly heading home to sleet, snow, and minus wind chills. Long story short: I'd recommend the cruise for first timers, as it's a great introduction to cruising, and Nassau has something for everybody. However, I don't know that I'd recommend Miami as a port, because the departure experience was enough to fray the nerves of anyone, let alone a newbie. hope this is helpful. happy sailing! Read Less
Sail Date January 2000

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