Born in Buffalo NY, reside in Maryland. I enjoy relaxing with a drink in my hand, and toes in the sand. I keep busy working in Education, but when I'm not, I try and get to the gym, enjoy walks and photography, as well as anything crafty.
Cruise Lines: Royal Caribbean
Convienent and some hiccups
Well deserved Vacation
I booked this cruise after a bad day at work and planned it after the busiest part of work, and I will tell you I was ready for it and deserved it. There were some small minor nuisances we encountered. We have cruised RCI only, so we knew what we were getting into and have a level of expectations.
We flew down the night before which I will highly recommend to anyone! We stayed at the Crowne Plaza hotel which was nice. Free easy shuttle from the hotel and $12 per person will get you a round trip from the hotel to the port and when you get back from the port to the airport. Money well spent for peace of mind and transportation.
I will break down the cruise bit by bit here. Embarkation/check in was a mix bag. The checking in process went smooth and fast. We had a shuttle from our hotel, and it had us at the port around 10:30ish. There was no wait, and they were training someone, but no issues there, however the port workers for intercruises were not the most helpful. They gave no directions on where to go or any next steps. The seating was a bit disorganized and the workers were not the friendliest (which was apparent in disembarkation).
After about an hour, we were able to get onto the ship. The rooms were not ready, which was anticipated, so the BF and I found on air to have some drinks. It was the least crowded and a nice place to chill until some other not so pleasant cruisers made for an iffy atmosphere so we went to the boardwalk to grab a hot dog and buy some time until the rooms.
1pm came and the doors were still closed and no announcements. There were some other cruisers waiting outside our room doors as well. Once that was in a scooter told me to just open the door and go in. I wasn't going to argue, and sure enough no issues and maybe 3 minutes later the announcement that the rooms were ready came on. It seemed for the first couple of days things were always delayed... The rooms for one, We get there and there was no Crown and Anchor letter (which our state room attendant said it would be there tonight), I had on board credit that was not posted until the 2nd day.
Now I will let you know these were all Little things. I still had a fantastic time and our wait staff was amazing! We didn't make one night because we had a late lunch on an excursion and I felt guilty. For breakfast we did room service on days we were in port/had excursions and it was the same old room service breakfast (scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon/sausage), or I went to the solarium bistro. We only ate at the Windjamer once for lunch and it was the Windjamer... typical buffet food and set up. I will say the MDR food was great! They redid the menu and it was nice (taste and visual wise). What was fun was I ran across the chef on one of the channels that gave a sneak peak into some dishes.
As far as entertainment, we did CATS, which if you are not familiar with it, I can see how it can be boring or confusing. It was extremely long! We went to a water show one night, but it was canceled because of lightning, which was a common occurrence because the show before us had the same issue.... We never did make it, which is saddening because I hear it is great! The comedy show was mediocure and short (maybe 40 min max).
My BF and I were trying to find "our bar" and favorite bartender, but could not find it (but we tried!). We are more of a Solarium couple where we like to relax there instead of the main pools. We never had an issue finding a chair, but the pool was small and crowded (well over the posted limit).
I attended a few activities on board. The one time I wanted to do water aerobics, it never happened (but I walked by another morning and they were running it). The sales were overcrowded on the promanade, and not appealing this time around. I did go to an art auction and was tempted with a few pieces, but did not pull the trigger. The auction was a long auction (maybe too long).
Overall it was a great cruise! We had a beach day in Labadee, Did a waterfall climb in Jamaica and Tequila experience in Mexico. I wish I booked our next cruise on board, but we never got around to it, but will be doing one on my own anyways.
I did buy water shoes for Labadee and the falls specifically. If you go to the Columbus cove, it is not rocky and there is a tram you can take to the end. The falls, you NEED the water shoes. There was a man in flip flops, and he did not last....
On disembarkation, it was a MESS and the workers were rude. Yes I will be picky here, but I work in a heavily customer service field. There was a HUGE backup. We did express disembark, which was not express. We ended up leaving our room at 8 (which was a delay on our part... I wanted to go earlier), and they had already started with the first couple of groups (ahead of schedule I do believe). The line off the gangway was backed up from the elevators, snaked twice, and to the doors. We were told "we are waiting for them" when we asked why we were not allowed to proceed downstairs to customs, and when I asked, "Who is 'them' " The woman rolled her eyes and didn't address my question/concerns.... This is not how you handle a crowd of people who are getting agitated and do not have any idea what is going on. Ft. Lauderdale has 2 sides for CBT, and the one side was backed up (The other side I would find was not so backed up, and how or why they wouldn't let the express go there, not sure....). We waited for a good 15-20 min and were finally allowed down the escalators. Overall, it was not organized and I left saying that we will be leaving out of our home port in bmore next time....
A mixed bag of good and bad.
This was the largest ship I've been on, and it was almost too large. Our experience was a mix of good and bad. The best I can say is that service was inconsistent. I would almost say that the ship was too large, and I was not able to experience everything it had to offer. Still have not gotten to the flow rider or the zipline on this ship. We were only able to go to one show because all of them were full before we were able to get make reservations (not a fan of the pre- reserving tickets). My partner is not a person that likes to pre-plan, because he is not sure he will be in a mood for one thing or another, so the reserving of shows prior did not suite us any. Either have a better system, adjust what they have, or offer more showings (Which I know would be hard on the performers, but with 6000+ guests, you would need to anticipate the demand). 2 of the ports I've been to previously, and Nassau was new, and I was not impressed. There were some shining moments and excellent individual crew members that made the experience better. I ended up getting an ultimate package under the assumption that "Specialty coffee" included the Starbucks per the sales person on the phone that was helping me, but come to find out, it does not. I would have stayed with the premium package had I known. All in all, still nothing like a cruise, whether you are doing an excursion every port, or exploring on your own and relaxing by the pool.
My return to cruising
I had gone on 2 previous cruises with RCI, and had a long sabbatical before coming back. This was a larger ship then my first 2 cruises, and my first time with a balcony room. It was my first time cruising with my boyfriend (who was his first cruise) and his parents.
The room was great for the most part. We both could not seem to cool down. We always had the balcony door closed and the air up, but found ourselves hot a lot of the time.
The port of calls were slightly disappointing. It was my first time in Belize and Cozumel. Our only excursion was to a "resort" area. My Boyfriend and I relaxed by the pool, and there were other things to do for more money, but we had a rough morning, so did not want to push it.
I'm not sure if it was because I had not been cruising in some time, or if it was the cruise/ship, but it seemed like there were not as many activities on the ship as I remembered. It was the first time that the drink packages were offered for booze, and I jumped at the change. I must say it was super convenient. We did splurge with the cupcake shop which was a nice treat.
Overall, it re-sparked my love for cruising, and was not a bad experience.
Second time around- Relaxation was the goal
And relaxation I got. This was the second time around, on the same ship with the same cruise director as well. I was a little more seasoned and knew what to expect, and what not to do (Stay up all night the first night!). I cruised with the same group of friends the first time around and was still enjoyable. I enjoyed having a window overlooking the promenade and people watched
This was my first cruise, and I loved it! I was so excited, I did not sleep the first night and well into the second day. I cruised with seasoned vets and their friends, so I had help and guidance. Getting the layout of the ship was tough at first, but I got into the swing of it.
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checked into September 24, 2016 cruise on Oasis of the Seas roll call and is traveling with 1 other guest. Interested in meeting:- Other couples- Other large groups