NancysTravels

Follow my travels, cooking, running and adventures

Carnival Cruise February 2009

on April 28, 2009

So one of the requirements for my CLIA certification is to go on cruises…tough work, I know!  In February I sailed on the Carnival Sensation out of Port Canaveral, Florida.  We had a group of 10 people, ranging in age from 4 to 49.  I personally think cruises are a great vacation experience for groups of people.  There’s so much diverse activity going on on the ship every day and night, most likely there’s something for everyone.

So, my friend Pam and I arrived in Orlando on a Wednesday;  the day before the cruise departed.  I’d recommend this for a couple of reasons:  1)  Lots less stress if you’re where you need to be the day before…2 of my friends were flying in the morning of the cruise and their flight was delayed.  Only a couple of hours, but it could have been disastrous.  With airline flights and schedules being what they are today (and I know of what I speak!), in my opinion it’s just too risky to rely on your airline to get you where you need to be on time.  And 2)  Your vacation can start a day earlier!  Pam and I checked into our hotel…Hawthorne Suites with a free shuttle to and from the airport, and arrived just in time for the complimentary Happy Hour…which turned into about 3 Happy Hours.  We met some fun people to talk to and have dinner with.  Relaxed already!

On Thursday morning, we headed back to the airport to meet up with the rest of our group to catch our transportation to the pier in Port Canaveral.  After some minor aggravation and confusion (and a mercy shopping trip to get Rob some cigarettes….he apparently didn’t know that Walt Disney World is a smoke-free zone, and had been there for 4 excruciating days), we were on our way.  A quick 45 minute trip to the coast and we arrived in plenty of time to board the ship.

A little about the Sensation.  It had just been in dry-dock and completely refurbished.  They should have allotted more time to this task.  That ship was not ready to go.  So many things wrong…no printed maps to find your way around the ship.  No toilet paper in the rooms!  No shower curtains in some of the rooms.  Exposed electrical wires in some of the rooms…the list goes on.  And we were 4 hours late leaving the dock due to last-minute work.  I can totally commend the staff however…they were fantastic and went out of their way to fix everything that was broken.  Let’s hope Carnival has fixed these problems by now…

This was a 3 night cruise…we departed late on Thursday so that afternoon was spent just trying to figure out where everything was on the ship.  Day 2 was in port in Nassau, Bahamas..  Unfortunately, a late arrival, due to the late departure the night before.  The port at Nassau isn’t in the prettiest part of the island.  Due to the late arrival, and the fact that we had an early dinner seating, we didn’t have a lot of time to explore.  We took the water taxi over to the Atlantis Hotel and Casino and poked around there a bit, but had to head back fairly quickly.  I did manage to do a little bit of shopping in Nassau and brought home some lovely Bahamian cigars for my husband for Valentine’s Day.  Day 3 was a Fun Day at Sea.  They do pack the activities in on those ships!  Yoga, pilates, spinning classes.  Learn to make towel animals (you have to have been on a cruise to know what this one is).  Country line dancing.  Drink of the day!  Or you can just laze around and watch the other cruise passengers make fools of themselves.

We had 3 young children with us ages 4 and 5.  The girls were registered in Camp Carnival and had a ball!  They looked forward to going to ‘camp’ every day and didn’t want to leave.  The counselors did a great job with the kids and the parents were happy to get some adult time while the kids were otherwise occupied.  If so inclined, parents can take advantage of late-night babysitting till 3 am!

Now, I’m a terrible foodie…I wake up every day thinking about what I’m going to eat that day.  Not expecting too much from mass-produced cruise line food, I was pleasantly surprised.  Not the French Laundry, but pretty good food.  I think the only complaint I have is that there was too much of it!  It’s just too easy to eat 24/7 when food is available 24/7.  It was a struggle not to get that pizza at midnight just because you can!

The next day was the final day, and debarkation started around 8 am.  It wasn’t a problem to hang around for a while and enjoy our breakfast, however.  We wandered off the ship around 9:30 am.  Kind of sad to leave though, just when we were figuring out where everything was on the ship.  I look forward to my next cruise experience and it will definitely be for a longer sail next time

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