The travel bug bit me in my 40s and it was all wanderlust from there.
Ships: Carnival Magic
Destinations: Caribbean - Western
I think the trick to cruising is to start on a smaller ship and work your way up. Having previously been on the Carnival Conquest (sister ship to the Freedom) and then on the Carnival Magic, it was a disappointment being on the Freedom. The Magic is much newer and bigger and more to do on board. The Freedom felt like a step backwards. Part of the cruise excitement is to explore the ship. Once you've been on one class of ship, the other sister ships are basically the same. I was not impressed by the Key West, Freeport, Nassau itinerary on this trip. Key West was nice and clean and we did a snorkel excursion which was nice. There wasn't much else to see beyond the port tourist traps. Freeport Bahamas is a real dump of a port. It is located in a shipping area. The island tour was depressing and we were told constantly about all of the things that were destroyed in past hurricanes but never rebuilt. There was a very nice park called Garden of the Groves that we toured. That was probably the highlight of that excursion. Nassau was a much more lively port than Freeport. There was alot of activity and plenty of shopping options. Having been on 2 previous cruises, the excursions tend to all look the same after awhile so we chose to stay at the Hilton Colonial Resort and enjoy a private beach day. It was a nice property with a food/drink voucher. We walked about 3-4 blocks after we got out of the port area (it felt like much further than that in flip flops). The Freedom was in good shape. We enjoyed the 2.0 upgrades of Guys' Burgers and Blue Iquana. The pool areas were always very crowded and the slides are old and tired compared to the Magic. If you are a first time cruiser, definitely start out on the Freedom and then work your way up from there.
Our first cruise was on the Carnival Conquest which is a smaller ship than the Magic. We were very impressed with just how much bigger and better the Magic was to our previous cruise experience. The water works area, the entertainment, the casino..everywhere was in great condition and impressive. I got to try out the Redfrog Pub for the first time and enjoyed the Thirsty Frog draft beer. We chose to select another interior cabin but this time had 2 adults and 2 teenagers all crammed in together. This is not something I would recommend to anyone as the cabin is already small enough without additional challenges. In hindsight, we should have booked two interior cabins to give ourselves some space. Having read so many bad things about Belize, we decided not to take the tender ashore. The tender takes at least 20 mins. If you are a scuba diver, Belize is a great place to dive. We were told that there is really not much beyond manufactured tourist traps on shore at the port any going outside of that area is not considered to be safe. We stayed on board that day and enjoyed the ship without the crowds.
We weren't sure exactly what to expect on our first cruise. We booked two side by side interior cabins. But with the kids only being 9 and 10 years old, we did not feel comfortable leaving them alone in their room at night. We did try to get them to participate with the Camp Carnival kids activities but they were not interested. This limited our late night adult activities. We greatly enjoyed our itinerary to Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Of the 3 total cruises we've done since this one, that is still my favorite itinerary. The ship was a bit tired and needed some attention. Frayed carpet or areas that needed some paint. We were certainly wow'd by the size of the ship. You can always spot the first time cruisers when they step foot on the ship for the first time. Entertainment, food and service was great. Be aware that between November and April, the port of Galveston is often plagued by fog which causes delays in the ship arriving back to port on time.
received a helpful vote on their Carnival Freedom cruise review - Eastern Caribbean is not as exciting as other routes
shared a quick tip for Galveston, Texas"We always use Galveston Park n Cruise. I drop off the wife and kids at the terminal and we unload the luggage. Then I go park and ride the shuttle ba..."
added Cozumel, Mexico to their favorites on their profile.
added Roatan (Isla Roatan), Bay Islands, Honduras to their favorites on their profile.
received a helpful vote on their Carnival Conquest cruise review - First Cruise with pre-teen children
uploaded a photo album from their Carnival Conquest cruise on 2011-03-13
shared a quick tip for Carnival Conquest"Prepay your gratuities and be prepared for the onboard expenses. Make sure to book at least one meal in the specialty restaurant. It is definitely worth the upcharge."
reviewed their Caribbean - Western cruise on Carnival Conquest and gave it 4 stars!
uploaded a photo album from their Carnival Magic cruise on 2014-05-25
shared a quick tip for Carnival Magic"With more people on board, it is important that you arrive early for comedy shows in order to get a good seat. On sea days, be sure to eat in the Main dining room instead of Lido as the food is much better than buffet."