We sailed on Sovereign of the Seas leaving Port Canaveral on July 11, returning July 15. As first time cruisers, we could not have asked for a better trip. We had fabulous weather and smooth sailing. We had a cabin on Deck 8, small but it did have a window which looked out onto a lovely lifeboat. The ocean view cabins are tiny. Be careful not to overpack, there is enough room to store about a week's worth of clothing, with a couple of dresses and suits, but not much more. We were able to keep our luggage in the room under the bed. Luckily our daughter really liked her Pullman bunk.
We chose to get the soda package and stood in line when we first boarded, but I saw when we went to lunch at the Windjammer, that you could buy in the lobby there also. We ate mostly at the Windjammer. The food was good and they have a very good assortment. We did eat in the dining room 2 nights for dinner. The service was excellent and so was the food. Clayton and Marco were our waiters and they did a terrific job of keeping our glasses filled and our dishes moving. Our cabin steward, Bob, kept our cabin straightened up and our ice bucket filled with ice. I've read some reviews that complained about the "sewer" smell on the boat. I did notice it a couple of times especially on deck 9, but they have fans that were used in the hallways to keep the air moving. CocoCay was beautiful. We kept walking around the island until we got to the water park where we found chairs in the shade, but close to the water. There were still lots of those left just further on down the beach. We bought the bottled water they were selling as you left the Sovereign to go to CocoCay ($3), but there are plenty of places to fill your soda package and if you have a container, you can get water for free. Parents beware, the aqua park and water slide cost money, $15 for an hour in the aqua park and $20 for all day on the slide. However, the slide is away from the beach, in the hot sun and no shady spot for parents to sit. Our daughter, age 10, chose the aqua park, but came out after about 30 minutes because she could only get onto the water trampoline. It had a ladder to climb up on. The other things had handholds that you had to pull yourself up on, so if your child doesn't have a lot of upper body strength, they might not be able to enjoy it. Be sure to slather on the sunscreen. We put some on before we left the boat and then again onshore and still got pink. We bought some t shirts at the straw market, but found much better buys in Nassau. While in Nassau, we chose the swim with the stingrays excursion. Blackbeard's island was small, but they had food and drinks, and some souvenirs. We spent all of our time in the stingray enclosure snorkeling and swimming so I don't know much about what else they have available. Our daughter was afraid of the stingrays at first, but finally got in and touched some, and then snorkeled out a bit to see the fish. Since it was the first time snorkeling for all of us, we didn't go very far out, but we still saw several pretty fish. After coming back to the Sovereign for lunch, my husband and I went shopping in Nassau. Our daughter stayed at Adventure Ocean. I had bought the shopping book they sell onboard for $20. Make sure to take the book with you to get all the deals. We especially liked the free bag at Del Sol. We also bought some other items there. The best deals we found on T-shirts were at Piranha Joe's. We also found some great souvenir buys at Old Nassau. All of the people we met in Nassau were very nice. Formal night on the 4 night cruise is the night you are in Nassau, so plan accordingly if you want to go to formal night. Adventure Ocean-our 10 year old daughter loved it. She would look at her Compass (the next day's activity sheet) each night and decide what she wanted to do. After dinner each night, she made sure we got her there. They had a talent show, scavenger hunt and even a pajama party one night. I also liked how they put a wristband on each child under 12 showing their lifeboat muster station. Our last day was a full day at sea. If you are going to buy RC shirts, wait until then, they had a sale on shirts. Also, wait to buy your pictures; you get a special folio if you buy 3. Or be sure to save your receipt and you can get the folio as long as you have bought 3. We chose this day to eat our burgers at Johnny Rockets. The burgers were great, plus you get fries and onion rings. All in all we have a wonderful time and fully expect to cruise again.