Sailing Away ... Carnival Fascination
Well, my daughter and I just got back from our first-ever cruise. It was my daughter’s graduation/18th birthday gift. It was fantastic!!! We cruised with Carnival Cruise Lines out of beautiful Jacksonville, Florida. We flew into Jacksonville the day before (Friday) our cruise and stayed at the Holiday Inn, which was less than a mile from the cruise port. It was SO HOT in Jacksonville. We spent time at the pool of the hotel and the water was like bath water (very warm). We sailed out on Saturday for our five night cruise to the Bahamas. We were ready for some fun!
First Full Day … Smooth Sailing
Our first full day was a “day at sea” and also my daughter’s 18th birthday. The night before, she planted herself in a seat at a slot machine in the ship’s casino. She was bound and determined to win some money the minute she turned 18. We watched the clock and the minute it struck midnight, she put her coins in the machine. No winnings :(.
While my daughter was in the shower that morning (HER BIRTHDAY!!!), I decorated our cabin. She was so surprised when she came out. We spent the 1st day basking in the hot sun; well it didn’t feel too hot because we had the breeze of the sea hitting our skin. Little did I know I would get burnt in some spots and tan in others (haha). Of course, my daughter just got tan, no burn (she has olive skin and tans VERY easy). I was not going to let a little burn stop me from having a fabulous time with my daughter. The pool (which we didn’t get to lay out by until the last day) was the size of a family-sized, oval-shaped, above ground pool that you would find in someone’s backyard. You would think the pool would be a tad bit bigger with over 2000 guests. We mainly laid out by the water slides, which were on the upper deck, frequently getting a little spritz from the wind blowing through the water of the slides to cool us off. At dinner that night we had the entertainment of our waiters (Joel (head waiter) and Tusantha (assistant waiter), the best waiters!!!!) and also they delivered the birthday cake that my husband and I bought for her before the cruise. She absolutely loved the cake and shared it with the entire table; it was a white cake with strawberry filling. After dinner we visited the casino, the night club, and the lounge.
Second Day … Welcome to Half Moon Cay (pronounced Half Moon Key)
On our second day, we arrived at Half Moon Cay, which is Carnival’s private island. We had to tender (water taxi) into the island. This island was beautiful; white sand and crystal clear water; and we had a beautiful hot sunny day to go along with it. We headed for the beach and into the water we went. Now, I must say, I am not one that usually gets into the ocean, but my daughter talked me into it. I couldn’t resist with the waters looking like pool water; smooth waters. The water was so clear and warm, I just kept walking further and further out until I was on my tippy toes. After swimming, we went for a short walk and saw a few lizards; they looked like tiny alligators and they were fast little walkers. We went back to the beach for a little while to lie out and then it was time for our snorkeling excursion. We boarded a little boat and sailed out into the ocean. We were surrounded by three reefs and all sorts of beautiful fish. I have never been snorkeling before and it was a grand adventure, being out in the ocean far away from land and seeing the coral and colorful fish. It was just so gorgeous.
After a long day in the sun, we headed back to the ship and into our cabin. We decided to take a little nap so that we could enjoy the nightlife on the ship; luckily we had late seating for dinner (8:15). After enjoying our filling dinner and entertainment from our waiters again, we headed for the casino, yes again! haha. My daughter loved the gambling. We stayed in there for a bit and then went to a comedy show. After the show, we went to the night club, back to gambling a bit and then off to bed.
Third Day … Welcome to Nassau
Nassau, hmm what can you say about it? It really wasn’t what I expected at all. We did visit the Atlantis and that was beautiful, Nassau the city, not so much. When we got off the ship, we were bombarded by “tour guides”. We politely said “no thanks” and went about our business. We visited the straw market, something that practically everyone told me that we had to visit. I was not impressed, it was hot and they did not want to bargain. We visited a few of the shops along the street and then took a taxi to the Atlantis. It was like going to a different place all together in Nassau. We walked through the “ruins” and had to stop at the bar along the way, because my daughter was now “legal” to purchase alcohol according to Bahamas law :). She bought a strawberry margarita and she was not even carded!!!! She took one sip and said she needed a “go cup” (haha) because it was so strong. I must say it was VERY strong, you could get drunk from smelling it. Anyway, we sat in the bar for a bit and then did ask for a “go cup” so she could walk around with it so we could explore some more of the hotel. We saw the big chair (Poseidon’s Throne), the aquarium, the crystal gateway and various other things. We took a taxi back to the cruise port, funny thing, the taxi drivers charge $4 per person, which was an $8 taxi ride (not bad), but they won’t leave until their van is full. The van we rode back in seated 13 people, so the cabbie made $52 off that ride. We got back to the ship and again we were tired, mainly from walking around and took a bit of a nap. Went to dinner, the night club, the casino, and the lounge, then off to bed. (The nights seem to get later and later as the cruise goes on. I think this night we went to bed around 2:30/3:00)
Fourth Day … (Final full day on the ship) A day at sea
This was our last full day of sailing. We started off with breakfast on the Lido deck. The food is very plentiful on a cruise ship. After breakfast we went out to the pool to sunbathe, the skies were rather cloudy, but we knew we would still get some sun. We were out there for MAYBE 20 minutes and it started to rain :(. We ran inside and just decided to walk around the ship for awhile until the rain let up. We went through a few of the shops on the ship and then made our way back outside as it had cleared up rather quickly. The clouds had cleared and the sun was in full swing and boy WAS IT HOT!!!! The other days that we were around the ship, there was a slight breeze to keep us a little cool, but not on this day. It was like we were in a steam room. We, of course, did not let that stop us. We were bound and determined to get our last little time of the ship’s sun. We had lunch, did a little more sunbathing (on a different deck), which we felt a bit of a breeze, but nothing like the other days, and then we went back to the room and took just a little nap so we could enjoy the “nightlife” of the ship one last evening. After nap, we got ready for dinner and went out to catch the end of the dancing entertainment show in the Palace Theater. I really liked it because they played a lot of 80’s music, which my daughter also likes. After, we went to dinner and had our farewells with our table mates and our awesome waiters. My daughter danced with the waiters again (the best dancer on the ship). After dinner we caught the end of the Karaoke singers, because we wanted to have a “prime” seat for the comedy show. The comedian was featured on Comedy Central and I can only remember his first name was J.J. He was hilarious!!! After the show we went to the casino, then we went to the lounge to listen to the band, hit the casino one last time (my daughter gambled one last time) and then off to la la land we went.
For this being our first cruise, I felt like we knew what we were doing :). I hope my daughter will always have fond memories in all the years to come. I hope that she knows that even though I am her mom and teaching her right from wrong (even when she hates my decisions), I can still be fun! I love my daughter, dearly! She truly is THE BEST daughter in the world!!!