April 21, 2002
Flight and Embarkment:
Arrived in Tampa around 11:45. We had purchased the transfers from Carnival and they had personnel waiting right by the luggage area. The buses were very nice and took us straight to the ship. I liked this because it is already paid for and one less thing you have to worry about. It took about 2 hrs to get through the entire process of getting your sail and sign, room keys and picture taken. Not Bad and they were pretty organized. We had all of our luggage by 03:15 ( Wonderful!!) They had a lunch buffet set up at the Seaview for everyone. The Muster Life Boat Drill was at 04:00 and last about an hr. It was hot and miserable but a necessity. I had ordered the Bon Voyage anniversary package. There was champagne on ice waiting when we got to our cabin and nice gifts (t-shirts,visors, drink coupons, $15 towards pictures, champagne glasses and a camera). My husband was really surprised and loved it! Nice touch and worth every penny!
We were on the Upper deck room U224. This was the very last room on the side(aft oceanview). There was quite a bit of movement and It rocked me to sleep everynight! Our only complaint for the entire trip was they were working onthe outside of the Seaview bar above the childrens wading pool and woke us up drilling,sanding and scraping 2 separate mornings. Not nice after a late night!! Our cabin was nice sized and the showers were always hot with alot of pressure. Our steward was Kanikorn (really). He was kind of like thewind. We didn't see him much but you could always tell he had been there. Nice towel animals, mints on the pillows and alway plenty of towels.
Dining room and THE FOOD!!
We ate in the dining room everynight. We had the late seating and ended up getting a booth for 4 with the other couple we were cruising with. Our waiter was Surya from Indonesia and asst. waiter Stefan from Romania. They were both wonderful and made a great team. By the end of the week they knew exactly what you liked to drink, which bread and dressing everything! Everything we had to eat was fantastic. My husband tried everything new he could escargot, duck, lamb chops and he loved them all. My personal favorite was the West India Pumpkin soup (awesome!!) There were a couple of nights he couldnt make up his mind so Surya brought him two separate entrees. We really felt special at dinner. The formal nights were alot of fun. There were a lot of beautiful dresses and gowns. I wore a nice cocktail dress for both and my husband wore a nice suit and felt comfortable. Anyone who cruises show take full advantage of eating in the dining room. It feels great to get dressed up, have great service and wonderful food. This was definitely a hightlight of everyday! We only ate breakfast in the dining room a couple of mornings. We decided the food was about the same at the seaview and you didnt have to wait. We ate lunch mostly at the Seaview also. It was nice to have the choice, they always served burgers and fries on the pool side and inside they have a different menu daily. Nice variety! We also took advantage of the pizzeria and ate lunch and a couple of LATE night snacks there. Their caesar salad and pizza was great. My husband liked the anchovie pizza alot!! We also called room service a couple nights around 4am. This was AWESOME!! Everyone should take full advantage of this also. We had coffee delivered every morning nice touch! Overall the food for the entire cruise was great. We didnt get to participate in the lat night buffets very much because we were still full from dinner but made up for it in the middle of the night!!
We saw both R rated comedians, Thomas Brown and Tim Harkleroad. They were both very funny!! We caught the Sensation dancers in the Fantasia lounge on the 2nd formal night. This was a great show, very entertaining! We really liked the piano bar with Mike Stone. He could play and sing just about everything you requested and if he didnt know it, he knew something close. This is a neat little bar and he makes you feel like part of the show! This is a neat little bar and he makes you feel like part of the show! We stopped in the disco one night, a little too much bumping and grinding and hip-hop for my husband but it was usually packed late at night. We went to see TGIF two nights in the Michaelangelo lounge. They were great. I was even on the stage singing "Mustang Sally" LOTS OF FUN!! We also enjoyed Music Unlimited. They played in the Plaza lounge several nights. They played a good variety of music. We also played bingo a few times (no luck) and paid a few salaries in the casino. There was always something going on if you wanted to join! Don't miss the galley tour. They only have one the whole cruise and it was very interesting. After the tour, they have several demonstrations on Sensation Blvd.: napkin folding, towel animals, food carving and cake decorating. They also sell a set of their cookbooks for $25. We bought ours from our waiter Surya and he had it signed by the all of our dining room staff including the chef!
They were about 1/2 half late letting us get off the ship and you have to tender to the island. (Lots of waiting to get off and back on, bummer!) We signed up for the Stingray sandbar tour. This was wonderful. make sure you buy your underwater camera at home for around $10, they were selling them on the tour for $20. There were lots of other boats but plenty of room for you to enjoy them and take lots of pictures. They sell a cup of dead squid for $4 and you can feed them. Definitely do this, it was a once in a lifetime experience. There wasnt much time to do anything else on the island because you havd to be back on the ship by 12:30. We did send our postcards at the post office here and we beat them home by about a week!
This was definitely our favorite port! We started off with the Fury catamaran sail and snorkel!! Wonderful Time!!!! Worth every penny! They pick you up right at the pier and take you to a reef about 20 mins away. On the way, they explain exactly how to snorkel and set you up with masks, snorkel and fins. The reef is about 25 ft deep (you have to wear a small life jacket) and you snorkel for about 45 mins. We saw lots of fish and coral. Then you board the boat and they start the margaritas and beer flowing. They take you to a nice private beach with kayaks, floats, hammocks and volleyball, There is open bar while youre there and they are selling burgers. This was a blast and the beach was absolutely beautiful. The tour last about 3 hrs and was the highlight of our entire trip! Highly reccommend!! There are bathrooms on the boat and there were also kids having a great time. We went back to the ship and changed and ate at the seaview and headed back out. We shopped right by the pier (not too pushy) and I got my hair braided $2 a braid. We them grabbed a taxi $6 one way to Carlos and Charlies. This was a blast!! We were dancing on the stage and drinking yards of margaritas. I could have stayed there all night!! But we had to be back by 5:30. That night they had a party on the Lido deck and a Mexican buffet! FUN FUN
We didnt sign up for a tour but opted to do our own thing. I found the Cajun Cooking Cooking school on the internet that has a cooking class from 10 to 12 for $15 a person ($5 off coupon on line) that was located right in the mall. We did this which included your lunch. It was great! After the class she gave you 10% at the store. Then we walked up to the French Quarter and Jackson Square (lots to see!) We ate appetizers at Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville (very good) and then walked to Bourbon Street to get our beads and boas for the party on the ship. The partys were just beginning. We stopped at the Acme Oyster house and my husband sucked down a dozen (he loved 'em). We had to be back on the ship by 6. They had a Mardi Gras Party in the Plaza lounge with a costume contest. This was alot of fun and they made the finalist lip sync. TOO funny!! Also a cajun buffet at midnight! Overall we had a wonderful time, the itenerary was great, the service wonderful, and like they say a cruise is what you make of it and we were determined to have a GREAT TIME and we did!!!!