Hi all! We just got back from our 4-day to Freeport and Nassau yesterday. You guys are super helpful and helped me find my way around for this cruise, so I thought I'd share a recap with you.
We arrived at Jaxport around 11:30, went through security, showed our ID's and passes about a hundred times, and were on the ship by 12:30.
Small, but in great shape. There's some wear and tear if you're looking for it, but looks great if you aren't.
It's pretty hard to find a good spot on the second floor of the Palace theater, the glass seems to hit right at eye level no matter where you are, or there's a pole blocking a part of your view. We were only there for a game of Bingo and one of the gameshows, didn't go to any of the productions.
The atrium is very pretty, especially when all lit up at night. We spent a lot of time at the Atrium bar thanks to it being pretty breezy out on the decks - say hi to Andreea and Simona, they make great drink recommendations.
FOOD & DINING:
Buffet breakfast on the Lido was the normal eggs, pancakes/french toast, hash browns and some fruit, and there was always a line for the omelet station. Nothing new to report there. I stuck to the buffet breakfast, no complaints. Hubby had omelets, said they could have been better (probably if they were fresh cracked and not poured out of a bucket...) We stuck to the grill/Rotisserie/Mongolian for lunch, all were good - Rotisserie being the best, Mongolian always had a long line. We never had dinner on the Lido, so can't say anything about that.
Pizza was slow if you wanted something other than pepperoni or plain cheese, but yummy. Same for the deli - could be backed up, but yummy.
We had Your Time Dining and were assigned to the Sensation dining room. We made it to dinner 3 of the 4 nights, 2 of the nights the service was pretty slow, the last night was much quicker. We never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a table. There was a lot of confusion between the different waiters - I never liked how you had to talk to 2-4 different people to get your whole meal. They seemed a little unorganized - forgetting drinks, not realizing what table got what drinks, getting drinks after the app had showed up - that kind of thing. The food itself was mostly good. Between us we had..
Shrimp Cocktail - Good
Escargots - Hubby enjoyed, I didn't try it
Pan Seared Tilapia - OK
Braised Beef Brisket - Very good
Stuffed Mushrooms - Good
Veggie Spring Rolls - Good
Lobster & Shrimp - Very good
Roasted Prime Rib - Not good
Crab Cake - Mostly good, but had hard pieces of uncooked potato..maybe? Picked those out.
Sushi App - OK, but small.
Mahi Mahi - Good
Roasted Spring Chicken - Very good
Captain said we had run into some rough seas, ship was being swayed and we had to slow down on our way to Freeport. We arrived about an hour and a half later than planned. We had booked a deep sea fishing excursion, but it was canceled due to the weather/rough sea.. or so they said.
We took our time getting off the ship. Freeport is much more done up than I had expected. Yes you are docked in a very industrial area, but there are lots little shops, a few bars/drink stands, and music right off the ship. We were stuffed into a shared taxi to Port Lucaya, $10 per person round trip. They dropped us off at the casino and we walked over to the free beach area and Billy Joe's. The beach area is very small, not a beach to lay out on. The water was chilly, and it was pretty windy - not sure if this is typical or if there was an extra chill in the air that day. We had an order of cracked conch at Billy Joe's which was delicious, and a few beers/frozen drinks.
They gave us an extra hour in Nassau to make up for the lost hour in Freeport. Since we're late risers, we didn't want to spend the $30+ per person for a day pass at one of the beaches for just a few hours in the afternoon, so we decided to just hang around the popular areas and built our own bar crawl. It was a mad house. There were at least 4 other ships in port when we made our way off the ship around 11am and it was PACKED. Lots of vendors and stands. We weaved our way through towards Señor Frogs and walked down to the Fish Fry. We stopped at a small shaded bar at the very end for a beer, then went to Goldies for Conch salad and and more drinks. From there we took a cab to free beach area - Junkanoo beach, but parked ourselves at the Fat Tuesday's bar. It was much warmer out than the day before in Freeport, the beach was pretty busy and people were enjoying the water. We made our way down to a hookah spot next to Señor Frogs, then Señor Frogs (which was super packed) and then Sharkeez before making out way back to the ship.
Our last day was at sea. It was pretty breezy and cold if you weren't in the sun on the Lido deck. No open deck chairs down there, but plenty on the higher decks (if you wanted to wrap up in a towel and brace the wind). Spent a lot of time at the Atrium bar that day, going out to brace the wind for a few minutes at a time for some air.
We had an early flight out of Jacksonville, so we were grouped in with the Faster to the Fun folks and were told to meet in the Sensation dining room at 8:15am if we did Self-Assist, which we did. We didn't get moving out of there until around 9:15, and then it was about another 20 minutes of waiting to get on an elevator to get off the ship.