Hi everyone... just got back from the Fantasy and stopped in Nassau. Wanted to offer some tips about going to Atlantis on Paradise Island.
Entrance to the Dig (aquarium) at Atlantis is $25 per person. I had read an earlier post about getting in for free. The poster said that they walked in the casino entrance, out a door in the back, down some stairs, and were in the aquarium, and no one stopped them. Be aware that the resort now posts someone at that entrance to prevent people from doing this. If you do manage to get through that entrance for free, you'll only see about half the attractions. The aquarium is split up in such a way that you have to double back through the casino to see the rest of it. (I suppose you could walk all the way around the back side of the lagoon to get to the rest, also, but I didn't try this.)
If you pay to get in, you receive a blue wristband. If you sneak in, you won't have a wristband on. The security guards are looking for your wristband, so watch out.
A couple of our tablemates said they started talking to the man posted at the entrance, and eventually he said, "you guys are all right. Go on through. If you see a guard, go the other way because you don't have wristbands." So if you are a charming talker, this may be an option to try!
To get to Paradise Island you can either take a taxi or ferry boat. We decided to take to ferry boat because it was cheaper. $3 per person one way. We got round trip tickets and so paid $12 total for two people. However, once we got on the ferry boat, who should appear but a "friendly tour guide" ready to tell us all about the islands during the trip. He encouraged us to "show your appreciation to your friendly tour guide. I work on tips." So we tipped $1 each (hard not to when he's shoving his hat in your face, and you don't want to be the only one not tipping). A different tour guide appeared on the return trip to Nassau and did the same spiel. We tipped $1 each again. So our round trip ride to Paradise Island ended up costing $16, about the same as if we had taken a cab straight to Atlantis and back at $4 each one way (with no tip - since the fare is twice what they charge the locals). We would have saved a lot of walking if we'd taken cabs. So this is something to consider; the ferry is not necessarily cheaper.
Now posting as MichelleP.
Thanks a bunch for your Atlantis tips. We opted to do the tour with a harbor tour and both for the cost of $25 and that was last year, so it may of gone up. You really need to see the whole aquarium, its amazing. The tour guide at Atlantis even took us outside to see another area of the outside aquarium and she knew when the next feeding time was and that was also something not to miss. I surly and still do that the $25 for the tour and with the travel included was the way to go, so glad I did get to see Atlantis.
Hi Michelle! Saw your post about the Atlantis and thought you might be able to offer a "critique" for me. I am debating about whether to do the Fantasy/Bahamas or Fascination/W. Carib in May. I've sailed Carnival a few other times, can you give me your opinion on the ship/islands?
I haven't sailed the Fascination so I can't compare the two ships. I have sailed a western Caribbean itinerary on the Jubilee, though. In May, in fact. Went to Key West and Cozumel. On the Fantasy we only went to Nassau.
Both trips were fabulous. I think there's a lot more variety on a western Caribbean itinerary than a Bahamas itinerary, so that's something to consider. All these stops have great opportunites for shopping, snorkeling, and whatever else you'd like to do. I guess it might come down to which ports you are more interested in.
The Fantasy was a great ship. We never ran out of things to do. It was always clean, the food was outstanding, and the people friendly. I believe the Fascination is the same class of ship, so you'll probably get the same sort of experience on either ship.
I wrote a review of my trip on the Fantasy which should be up in a few days. I also wrote a review of my trip on the Jubilee, but unfortunately that seems to have disappeared from the Cruisemates site.
You'll have terrific weather in May. I would have a hard time deciding between these two ships and itineraries. Perhaps it would help to ask yourself whether you would like a more Caribbean-flavor itinerary, or something with a little more Mexican spice.
Honestly, I'd probably just go with whichever cruise was less expensive. You'll win either way!
Now posting as MichelleP.