Supanich Family Cruise 2015

Discussion in 'Every Day's A Magical Holiday' started by MrsSoup, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    I thought it might be neat to write up a summary of our vacation and share it with you all. I will take several posts since there is so much to write.

    As you know we stayed in a hotel in Miami the night before we set sail. We got up the morning of the cruise and had breakfast at the hotel and then grabbed our stuff, turned in our keys and headed out. We decided not to go straight to parking since it was early, so we drove around instead and did some sightseeing. You could definitely tell where the line was from poverty to upper middle class or higher. We crossed an intersection and it was gorgeous buildings, lots of people walking around and where we had just came from was not so great of a neighborhood with homeless people sleeping on benches or laying on the sidewalk or in doorways. We drove down by the port and saw our ship waiting, as well as several others. We found out that the rest of the family had already been dropped off at the terminal and the guys had taken their vehicle to the parking location. We headed on over and caught up with my FIL and BIL and rode over on the same shuttle to the terminal.

    We unloaded our bags and had to hand them over to a porter across the street and then we headed into the terminal. We had to dump our water bottles before entering. We got in line and went through customs where they checked our passports (or birth certificates if that's what someone had) and then on through security, just like an airport. We had no issues and went straight up to the second floor to get into another line to be issued our Sail and Sign cards, which is your room key and charge card while on the ship since they don't take cash. It also had our assigned dining room on it. Then we sat down and waited for them to call our boarding zone number. We were zone 6. The in-laws checked in way after we did and were zone 4, not sure how that worked but they boarded before we did. While we were in line the staff danced to a song and that was fun.

    It took less than an hour from the time we arrived at the terminal to the time we were setting foot on the ship. The rooms aren't ready when you first board, they say usually by 1:30. We had lunch first thing (MIL bought me an umbrella drink) and then explored the ship. We did go down to our rooms and check them out but we didn't get our luggage until later in the evening. I got to be out on the deck when we first undocked and started moving but then I had to go inside to the Camp Carnival orientation for the kids. We ended up setting sail about an hour after we were supposed to. We had dinner and hung out and went to bed. We didn't stay up too late that first night.
     
  2. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    Tuesday morning (March 31st), we arrived in Nassau. We were up early so we were eating breakfast and overlooking the town from the Lido deck window until it was time to get off the ship. What they don't tell you is that there are lots of people that will surround you when you walk off the pier and into the town. They all want you to take their tour or their taxi or whatever they have to offer. We were approached by a woman who said her name was Marilyn Monroe and she was offering hair braiding. We passed and kept walking. Whenever we would say that we were walking when declining a tour, the man would say, "May I respectively make a suggestion?" and then proceed to tell you why you should take his tour. We had to walk through a lot of that before they finally left us alone. When we got off the ship they handed us a map which had coupons in it for free items. We got a bamboo lei, a color changing ring, and a bracelet with a charm. Later on we walked by a place that gave us a free charm for a necklace. The kid's all got souvenirs and I purchased a necklace that I loved but can't wear now. **I started getting a rash on my chest and couldn't figure out what it was from, it was from the necklace. :( I'm going to try putting clear fingernail polish on the back and see if that helps.**

    We walked to a beach and the kids played in the water. When we entered the beach there was a woman selling bracelets and shark tooth necklaces, she also offered hair braiding, her name was Mona Lisa. (Seeing a trend here?) MIL bought the boys shark tooth necklaces since she had bought the girl's Bahamas bags earlier. She also bought DD and one cousin a necklace/earring set, DD's fell apart by the next day. They were cheap so what can you expect? MIL bought all the kid's conch shells. The man said they were $10 each but we started to walk off and he ended up selling them 7 for $20. We walked back to the port, no one bothers you when you are going back. LOL We took some pictures and then got back on board. We had lunch and the kid's swam. That night was also elegant night so we all showered and got dressed up for that. It was also MIL's birthday so we had a drink in their room before we went to dinner and then we had a family picture taken with all 13 of us (purchased one of these) and we got a separate family picture and one of DH and I (that we ended up purchasing). The service team in the dining room all danced and sang along to a song, it was good entertainment. There were photo opportunities set up everywhere but the photos are quite pricey. They print each one and then put them all on the walls on the 4th deck and you can find yours and purchase it or you can put it in a box to get rid of. Such a waste of money for them to print them all! When you buy your first picture you get a punch card. By the third picture you get a free gift, it was a luggage tag. We bought 4 total so I only got the one free gift. Dinner each night took at least 2 hours and by the time it was over it was too cold to swim.

    One thing we didn't realize is that the pools on the ship are all salt water. The hot tubs aren't though. There were different shows every night but we didn't make it to any until the last night.

    Wednesday April 1st, we arrived half an hour earlier at port than the day before. This time we had to take a tender to the island. We were up early and ate breakfast and had our tender ticket in hand. We were in the first group off the ship and on the island. There was a photo opportunity when we first got onto the island but we waited and took a picture with our own camera when we were leaving the island instead. We headed straight for the beach and got prime real estate right in the front row of chairs on the water. We were even able to save chairs for the in-laws coming on the next tender with no problem. The beach was soft sand, not rocky at all. The water was crystal blue. That was my favorite stop on our trip I think. I had two drinks there, I bought the first one in a souvenir cup and then got a refill on the way to the lunch buffet that Carnival had set up further down the beach. The kid's had the most fun at this port because of the beautiful beach. We sat there for a few hours and then some of the in-laws went back to the ship and we stayed, enjoyed lunch and then headed back. The guys took the snorkels out and saw a big turtle and some cool fish. We rented a tube as well so DH could take the younger ones out farther. Once back on the ship, we found a nice shady spot and hung out for a bit on an upper deck. Then MIL, SIL and I went to a Ladies Pamper Party and did a mini facial on ourselves for free. We also got a good deal on spa services so we signed up for that for the next morning. SIL later backed out of it and cancelled.
     
  3. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    Thursday April 2nd, we were at sea until later in the morning. MIL and I had spa appointments at 9:15. We both received a hand massage, foot massage, scalp massage, back, neck and shoulder massage, mini facial and bright eye treatment. It was $99 for all of those for 75 minutes. I was done and back in the room right before the guys had to go for their snorkeling excursion. MIL decided to go have her feet analyzed. The guys left and SIL and I waited with the kids for MIL. We had a bite to eat and then finally left the ship. We arrived at Grand Turk at 11 but we didn't get off the ship until after noon I think. The guys snorkeling was at 11:30. We walked around a bit and did some shopping, visited the NASA exhibit and then walked around Margaritaville looking for a shady spot to sit. It was crazy packed so we ended up sitting on the front porch and waiting for the guys to get back. MIL and I had a margarita, strongest one I've ever had. I ended up throwing half of it away. SIL took the kids and let them jump in the pool for about 5 minutes. When the guys got back everyone else went back to the ship, but we stuck around and walked through a craft market where DS finally found a souvenir and then headed back to the ship so the kids could swim. Grand Turk was my least favorite stop on the trip. The beach was smaller and full and it was rocky.

    Once we left Grand Turk, we were at sea until we docked back in Miami Saturday morning. It was kind of rocky out at open sea a few times and it did rain Thursday evening.

    Friday April 3rd, DH woke me to go watch the sunrise and the Lido deck chairs were covered in towel animals. (Every evening in our rooms there was a new towel animal.) We woke the kids and took them to see and then had breakfast. They had a morning show every morning but we didn't realize until the last day, so we went to see that and afterward they had a towel animal folding demonstration and then a towel animal puppet show. Since it was a sea day the ship was packed and there were no chairs to be found anywhere on the decks by the pools. The kids swam and then we went to watch the Hasbro Family Game Show at 4:15. Dinner after that and we had Eli's cake. The service team danced and sang along to a song again and Eli was sure it was just for his birthday. :) The kids went to Camp Carnival after dinner and DH and I took in a couple comedy shows. Everyone else went to an Epic Rock show. We also had to pack everything up and get it outside our door by midnight. They leave customs forms and luggage tags in your room to fill out and use. We were number 31.

    Saturday April 4th, we docked in Miami earlier than they said but we went and had breakfast and got our stuff and went to wait on the Lido deck. We waited and waited. They finally started letting self-debark (only a bag or two) off the ship and then started calling numbers. By then we were no longer in the shade so we headed down to Deck 3 (where you debark) to relax in the Amber Palace. However, they told us we could go ahead and get off the ship. What we didn't realize was that we couldn't go anywhere except baggage claim, so we stood there for a while waiting for our bags to come out. Once we had our luggage we went through the customs line where they looked at our passports and that was it.

    If you read down this far, thank you! If you have any questions let me know! The rooms were bigger than I had thought they would be, which was a pleasant surprise.
     
  4. jollykelly

    jollykelly Active Member

    The vacation just sounds lovely. I am such a foodie, so I have to ask.....How was the food?

    Kelly
     
  5. Ahorsesoul

    Ahorsesoul Santa's Elves

    Sounds like it was very relaxing.
     
  6. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    Kelly, there was a Guy's Burger Joint open in the afternoons from 12-6 and the Blue Iguana Cantina that served burritos or soft shelled tacos and it was open in the afternoons as well. Both were very good! There was also a pizza place that was open 24 hours in the same area. The Lido deck had a buffet that was open for all 3 meals each day. It would close for like an hour in between meals to prep for the next meal so it was open most of the time. There was a variety of foods for each meal and a few side bars with finger type foods like slices of salami, ham, cheese cubes, bread, and desserts. There was also a deli section where you could order a deli sandwich. There were drink bars set up all over the dining room to get water, ice tea, hot tea, coffee, and hot chocolate. In the morning's there were orange juice and another type of juice as well.

    The main dining room that we were assigned to for dinner was more fancy food. You can order as many appetizers, entrees, desserts as you want. Most nights everyone tried one or two appetizers, sometimes more. I usually stuck to one unless it was something I really wanted to try that I had never had before. Entrees were the same, most in our group ordered more than one, I usually ordered one. They had salmon, chicken breast, prime rib, spare ribs, pasta on a couple nights, etc. There were always several choices and depending on what port we were in that day they would have local stuff as well. I tried Braised Ox Tongue one night, fried oysters, calamari, and frog legs over the duration of our cruise. There was also a section of the menu where you could order things like surf and turf and steak for an extra $20 fee.

    Desserts were okay. They had a chocolate melting cake that everyone on the Carnival forums talked about but I thought it was just okay. I like the lava cake at Applebee's better. Same premise but the Carnival one is more pudding like in the middle. They also had a cheese plate, fruit plate, ice cream, and other types of desserts. The kid's menu had the typical chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, hotdogs, chicken legs, mac and cheese...

    Overall, you could never go hungry on a cruise ship. There is room service as well and they have sandwiches, hot and cold, and easier things to prepare.
     
  7. luludou

    luludou Well-Known Member

    Seems like good times! would love to take a cruise some day. Most food was included in the price of your trip?

    How many islands did you visit during the trip?
     
  8. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    Lucie- All food was included except the Steakhouse on the ship, which was $35 per person. We didn't eat there though. And of course, the part of the menu that had the $20 charge for the special stuff. Everything else food-wise was included. The only drinks you have to pay for was soda and alcohol. There is a Bottomless Bubbles card you can buy for soda that is $25 for kids and $35 for adults for the entire cruise.

    We went to Nassau, Bahamas, Half Moon Cay (owned by Carnival so only our ship was there), and Grand Turk. There are other cruises that go to other islands that I heard are fantastic as well. I would like to do a 7 day cruise to different islands some day without children.
     
  9. luludou

    luludou Well-Known Member

    Nice! at least that way you know how much its costs if you are on a budget. I went once to the Bahamas 1-day cruise .. on my honeymoon. we were there only a few hours but it was nice.
     
  10. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    Yes, it's nice to know for a budget. What they also don't tell you is that there is an automatic gratuity posted to your card the second day of the cruise. I found out by reading the FAQ's and the Carnival forums. It's $12 per person per day and covers gratuity for your room steward and dining staff. I prepaid ours since it was $300 total. However, you can have it removed if you choose and tip yourself. We just paid ours and then left a tip at the end as well, $10 for each room. The room steward knew our names by the second day and every time he saw us would greet us by name and the kid's too. I don't know how he did it because he never saw which room we came out of. We also tipped our dining room staff a few times because they were so awesome.
     
  11. piratemamaof3boys

    piratemamaof3boys Well-Known Member

    sounds like fun. we went to the Bahamas for our honeymoon so I know what you mean about being bombarded by people selling stuff.
     
  12. Sugarplum

    Sugarplum Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting your vacation Jessica!

    Brings back lots of memories from my 2 Carnival cruises. There is so much to do and see, we always felt like we needed a week to recuperate when we got back, lol.

    So glad you had a great time. No seasickness? On my first cruise to Cozumel, the waves were huge and lots of sick passengers, the second was on the east coast to the Bahamas and you couldn't even feel the waves. Thankfully no one in my family got sick.
     
  13. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    Robin- I took Bonine for DS and me, just in case and seabands for the younger two, just in case. None of us needed them. The time we felt it most was at dinner for some reason. We would be sitting at our table swaying back and forth. LOL The first night I really felt it down in our room but was okay after that. DS did end up taking a Bonine the last day since we were at sea, it was a little rough. It didn't bother me as long as I didn't look at the railing against the horizon, you could really see how much we were rocking then. DH was feeling like he was still on the ship for a few days after we got off.
     
  14. snowlvr

    snowlvr Active Member

    Jess-wow that was great info! I have never taken a cruise but we sure want to sometime, so that was all very neat to learn, so glad you went and had such a wonderful time..
     
  15. Sugarplum

    Sugarplum Well-Known Member

    Jessica-When we went to Cozumel it took a day and a half to get there and the ship was constantly rocking so it was very weird to be on solid ground. I don't know how they did the stage show with how rough it was.

    Glad you weren't sick though!
     
  16. Lana

    Lana Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a great trip--glad you got to go.

    I would love to do an Alaskan cruise someday.

    Jaymee and her 2 friends loved it when they went for a week. She started researching about a yr. in advance and got great deals. They ended up with a room that had a deck to sit on that ended up being cheaper than when they first booked which was a room with no window. Something about specials and you can keep going down if you watch for them and can get better deals. Told her IF we ever go to Alaska she can research for us!
    She would talk to people that worked for the cruise line and also chat with others you had been and gave suggestions.
     

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