Port Canaveral/Nassau 4/12 - 15. DH and me + our kids: 16, 12, 12, 9, 5 and 2. We arrived in Port Canaveral at 12p, no lines, no traffic. Parking was $12/day. We booked a balcony suite (U115) and an oceanview (U117), weren't sure if they'd let us all check in VIP as only 4 family members were actually booked in the suite. Carnival said no problem, but when we arrived the FunPass line was shorter and moving faster, so we went that way instead, we were in our rooms by 12:45p!
Explored the ship, had burgers and hot dogs on the Lido, ice cream from the 24 hr ice cream machine, muster drill, more ice cream, attended the Camp Carnival orientation, unpacked, more ice cream, dinner from the Seaview Bistro buffet, more ice cream...
Camp Carnival was great! Even our 2 y.o. had a good time w/ the games and crafts. Our 16 y.o. really enjoyed Club O2. Our 9 y.o. is painfully shy and was initially devastated to learn she'd be in a different group (all alone) from her sibs, put the counselors were wonderful, put her at ease right away and made sure she had a blast!
We packed a 6-pack of 20 oz bottles of Mt. Dew and a 6-pack of canned ginger ale in our checked bags, no problems. Our cabin steward Anne, from Serbia, was fantastic and very helpful. All staff were very friendly, always high-fiving the kids as we passed. Rooms were great, plenty of closet space. The suite had 3 electrical outlets, plus 1 in the bathroom. Only major problem: I packed a powerstrip like my cruisemates advised, but it had a 3-prong plug, the outlets only had 2 holes. Anne advised us to go to the purser's desk and request a strip for "medical reasons" (no further explanation was requested) and we were given a strip for a $25 deposit, refunded on the return of the strip. Shampoo and body wash dispensers mounted in the showers/bathtubs, no hairdryers.
One thing we encountered was that the only ship maps that seemed to be available were posted at the elevators, and those were only deck plans, no pools/restaurants/shops listed, so it took a little extra effort to figure out where we were and where we wanted to go, but of course the kids had everything figured out within a day. They found a "short cut" to the ice cream machine and their nightly ritual was to have a cone at 1:30a. When we asked Anne for a map she was able to give us a pocket-sized deck plan map, but again just deck plans, no locations of dining, shops, etc., but it wasn't ever a problem.
Did the b'fast buffet on the Lido every morning (pancakes and an omelet station!), before 9a there were no lines, after that about a 10 min wait.
Nassau was great! We did a self guided walking tour, never felt unsafe, no overbearing shop owners. Saw all the highlights, mailed postcards from the Nassau post office and always got change from purchases in Bahamian currency to keep as souveneirs. There is also a post office at Festival Place, which has a U.S. zip code book (forgot my address book!)
Returned to the ship for lunch. Headed to the beach next. We hopped right on the #10 jitney (another tip from the Mates!) and had a 15-min ride to the Radisson. The bus ride was great as it allowed us to see more of the "real" Nassau. Note - the Radisson day pass, $15, is only good until 6p, they make you buy a night pass good for 6p - 2a. The Radisson was beautiful, pools were great. As we realized too late, if you want to walk in off the street and use the facilities for free (definitely possible to do), don't take the big, blue Carnival beach towels with you! Later we walked about 4 blocks down to the public access for Cable Beach. There is a jogging path, a playground and snack vendors here. We swam so more and the kids rode jet skis. When we told the jet ski guy we also wanted to parasail, he ran all the way back down the beach to the Radisson to get the parasail guys for us. As we approached the street wondering where the nearest jitney stop was, one pulled right up to us, we climbed on for a quick but beautifully scenic ride back to the docks (again, the big, blue beach towels were a dead give away of where we were from!).
Attention Pepsi-holics - there is a Pepsi machine at the hair braiding pavillion at Festival Place; hang a left as you exit the building, the pavillion is down at the end. $1.25 (American) for a 20oz bottle vs. $1.75 for a can of Coke on board!
We skipped formal night and weren't overly impressed w/ dinner in the dining room on our last night. Good idea to try it, just to mark it off your list. But the melting chocolate cake was to die for (thanks again mateys!) I had three at our one meal!
One thing I didn't know as a first timer: you have to have your checked bags in the hall outside your door by 11p on the last night. You're supposed to be out of your cabin by 8a, hanging out in the common areas until your "color" is called, at which time you can disembark. But it wasn't a big deal at all; we had a nice b'fast at the buffet and then found the Polo Lounge to be completely empty, we relaxed on the couches until it was our turn to leave and we were off the ship by 10. People w/ porters seemed to clear customs faster (going through a different line) and we were through in 15 min.
The ship was totally full but I was very pleasantly suprised that there were never lines or waiting anywhere!
Another interesting note: no documentation was ever checked, at any port, getting on or off the ship. We were only asked for a picture ID and our Sign & Sail cards, but I carried everything at all times.
We had an incredibly memorable vacation, made even better because we were so well prepared, thanks to Cruisemates! The only downside, of course, was that 3 days was WAY too short and the entire trip passed too quickly!
My last cruise was the Sensation and we had a FINE time, as well!
Glad your 1st cruise went so well with all the family members enjoying themselves.
Sounds like you'll be planning another..
CarnivalSensation February 2015
Carnival Dream November 2015
Carnival Fascination April 2014
Carnival Elation March 2011
Carnival Imagination Sept 2007
Carnival Sensation Dec 2006
RCI Sovereign of the Seas Sept 2006
Carnival Miracle Sept 2005
Carnival Glory Sept 2004
Carnival Fantasy Jan 2004
Its interesting reading your review. The 3 day cruises are so different from the 5 day cruises that ive become accustomed to. A whole different mindset i think. Glad you had a great time. Now you can plan the next one!
thank so much for the wonderful review, I'm heading on Sensation July 29th for a 4-day with my 14 year old son and we are both so excited, reading your review made me anticipate it even more, which I didn't think was possible!
I can't want to provide my own unique review, which will be from the point of view of a single mom.
Glad you had a great time. My sister and I are going on this one May 13th! I almost passed out when I saw how many kids you and your husband have! I really have to give y'all a hand. (Can you tell I have no kids?!?)
How was the jitney? I have never road public transportation, so I am wondering how safe it is.
We also had a great time DW, daughter and I. Except that we had left right after the storm that had hit Northeastern New England on March 16. We sailed out of Canaveral at March 18, so the seas were kind of less calm. The wife was seasick for her first night then as soon as we hit the Bahamas, everything was smoother.
The crew was so nice. We took meclizine tabs to make the ride smoother.
My wife was not up to it when we landed in Freeport so we just went alongside the ship on the Pier. However we did the Atlantis tour which was phenomenal. (The Atlantis spared no expense)
We were at Cabin V1 and the lines for boarding were long long. Thank God we got VIP registration and that made it easier. We were at the Lido and were full from eating our first among the great meals we had on board by the time we set sail.
My wife did the spa and I blew $75 in the casinos. My little girl had a blast with everyday ice cream. We took so many pictures of the cruise and our subsequent disney trip...we had 400+ pics all in all.
Prior to our docking at Nassau we had dinner at the main dining during the Captain's dinner. They did serve lobster. I had the steak and a good Cabernet. The three women who shared our table had an extra plate of Lobster!! I was so full from the first steak that I couldnt imagine getting a second plate. Funny now that I can recall that The maitre d had announced that "We will be docking in Nassau in the morning and that the weather report from the Bridge says Nassau will have 100 degree weather by the time we get there." Everyone cheered Then the maitre d added "50 degrees Farenheit in the daytime and 50 degrees farenheit at night" There were a lot of Boos!!
You were right Kuki, the Polo lounge was nice but I would have preferred the smoking my cigars in my balcony.
I will try to post pics.
July 2003 - Victory
Mar 2007 - Sensation
Thanks for the report! I was surprised about the power strip thing, I don't remember having a problem with ours, so I guess it was a two-prong strip! Thanks for the info on your soft drinks.....that helps alot!
Seems like it's time for you to book another cruise! I'm glad y'all had a great time!
If you are going to walk on thin ice, you may as well dance!