H had been to Nassau countless times on cruises with his family, and we both stopped there a little over a year ago on a Bahamas cruise with a group of friends to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday. However, neither of us had ever been to Atlantis. So, we decided to pay the astronomical price for an excursion there while we were in port on our first day. Our excursion included a shuttle to and from the resort (which included the bridge toll to get onto Paradise Island), a tour of the grounds, and full access to the aquariums, water slides, beach, and pool areas of the resort.
It was beautiful there, and so surreal to finally be exploring the place I've seen on tv and in magazines for years. We toured the aquariums first before hitting up the water park, and eventually we went down to the beach to swim in the aqua blue water before shelling out $14 for those pretty yard drinks.
St. Thomas was another stop H had been to several times with his family, and we had cruised there together back in 2009 on Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas. Last time we were there we did a snorkeling catamaran sail to St. John, so this time we wanted to enjoy St. Thomas and go to Magen's Bay.
We were also excited to spend time with a friend who was recently transferred there for work, and she was going to meet us at the beach and then show us around the island and give us more of a local's view which was amazing.
It was raining when we pulled into port, but it was nice and sunny on the other side of the island for lounging at Magen's Bay.
The view from our friend's place... imagine waking up every morning to that! Absolute paradise! After a quick stop to check out the gorgeous views from her place, she showed us where we could pick up the cheapest bottles of Cruzan rum (made in St. Croix) and then we went to Iggies Beach Bar for some drinks.
We ended the day with one more drink near the pier at Mojo's before getting back on the ship. Bonus points for it being happy hour!
Woke up to this beautiful view from our balcony in San Juan, and enjoyed some room service breakfast before disembarking and walking around Old San Juan.
San Juan was another multiple repeat for us from various cruises, long flight layovers, and we've also stayed there before taking a cruise out of San Juan at the Caribe Hilton. So, we didn't book any excursions, and only planned to get off the ship and walk around the city for a little while and come back on the ship and lay out before the pool deck got crowded again. But we managed to get some beautiful pictures, and picked up some souvenirs we didn't pick up during past trips.
I was so excited as we were pulling into Grand Turk (look at how close we got!) that I started to take pictures. I'm so glad I did, because this is as close as we got. If I hadn't, I would have had nothing to show for the beautiful island.
Look at that... another Carnival ship in port. We were told we turned around due to high winds, and the Carnival Sunshine was able to dock since they got in earlier that day. I was just in shock that we got that close, and the whole reason we booked the cruise in the first place slipped away from us as we turned around and left. I understand that itineraries can change due to unforeseen circumstances, but when you spend your hard earned money and vacation time on a trip for a certain destination, and it's taken away from you in the blink of an eye you'd expect a large corporation such as Carnival Cruise Lines to be somewhat sympathetic towards the unfortunate circumstances. A little something extra would have gone a long way in keeping the disappointed guests happy who were stuck on board an extra day at sea spending money in the bars, the casino, the spa, etc..
We have filed several complaints, each one going unanswered. We filled out the survey recently, and got a response that the crew members we praised would get recognition, but absolutely no mention of our unfortunate experience.
It makes me think of my friend who missed her sailing on a Royal Caribbean cruise due to a flight connection that got cancelled, and she ended up missing the first 2 days on board and had to meet the ship in Aruba (the first stop). Royal Caribbean reimbursed her and her husband for the time missed AND gave them vouchers for another free cruise. Them missing the first few days wasn't even Royal Caribbean's problem (it was American Airlines problem), but they stepped up and did what they thought would make their guests happy and coming back. To me, that is excellent customer service. I am by no means looking for a voucher for a free cruise, I just think that if Carnival was prepared when missing a port due to extraordinary circumstances such as a free round of drinks or money off the on-board sail and sign account would go a long way in showing that they care about their guest's happiness. And the fact that our complaints have fallen on deaf ears has just soured us even further towards Carnival which was a bad move on their part considering we cruise 1-2 times a year, and will never sail with them again.
I apologize for the book, and want everyone to know we had an amazing vacation despite our disappointment in missing Grand Turk, and thoroughly enjoyed the other three ports as well as the ship. Carnival just has some serious changes to make in their guest relations/customer service procedures. A little bit goes a long way in keeping guests happy.
Have you ever had a bad experience on a cruise? If so, how was it handled?