June 17, 2004
Embarkment was fairly simple and took less than 30 minutes. I would recommend getting on the ship as early as possible, because their is an informative talk about shopping in Nassau at 2:45pm, in addition to a lunch buffet.
After checking into our stateroom on the Empress deck (we had luckily been upgraded several floors), we found the room to be clean and well kept. We participated in the usual lifeboat drill, and then explored the ship.
I would highly recommend signing up for the spa giveaway at 7:15pm on Thursday, which was $100 towards spa services. You must be present to win, and their were only about 25 people present, so I felt that it was very good odds. They offer many specials in the spa, if possible, make them for after the ship reaches the Bahamas (10am on Saturday). We received a discount pass (20%) just for attending the drawing, then a letter offering an even larger discount (35%) was delivered to our room that evening.
I also enjoyed the late seating (8pm), even though we did attempt to change to the earlier seating at the beginning of the cruise. This is especially nice when you are in the Bahamas, so you don't have to rush back to the ship and get ready for dinner, because that is the formal night.
We choose to do our own thing in the Bahamas, after reading the message boards on Cruisemates. We did some shopping, then took a taxi over to the beach by Atlantis. You should try to find a group of people to go at the same time, you will pay $3.00 per person, versus approximately $5.00 per person. After dinner, we headed back to the Atlantis casino, where we were able to explore the beautiful hotel.
The shows were OK, I really enjoyed the music and the costumes. The featured singers were very good.
We were traveling without our children, but had a chance to check out Camp Carnival, which looks to be an excellent program for children.
We enjoyed listening to Matt, the cruise director, who was very entertaining. I think that he deserves to be on one of the larger ships, with longer sailings.
The sushi bar was great - although it was cooked, which is probably why we enjoyed it!
There were alot of children on board, and many unattended children in the pools and jacuzzis. But for the most part, all were well behaved and polite.
The Bingo games were fun, they had several with large cash prizes, and even one that gave away another cruise. I also enjoyed the casino, and participated in the slot tournament. Although we didn't see many people winning, our tablemates said many people won decent money on Thursday & Friday nights in the casino.
This was my 4th Carnival Cruise, the first in ten years. Believe it or not, we remember some of the jokes they used from previous cruises! We had a great time, but will look at a larger, newer ship for future cruises.