February 2014 - Serenade of the Seas to Caribbean - Bahamas
After trying to talk my wife into a cruise for the past 20 years, I finally convinced her to give it a try. Although we live 20 minutes from the Galveston port, we chose to make the 6 hour drive to New Orleans because of the the destinations, the ship and the price. The cruise director, John, and his wife were great as were the rest of the crew. The entertainment onboard was nonstop and there was usually a good variety to choose from. And between shows, there was a great rock band playing in the Centrum every night. We dined in the formal dining room the first night. Although the food was really great, we decided we didn't want to devote the time it takes for fine dining because we would rather see the shows. To be honest, we only brought casual clothes and didn't want to go to formal dining in shorts. Besides the fook in the Winjammer was excellent. Tip: When you go to the Winjammer, take a look around at ALL the food on the buffet. If you don't, you will miss some really great dishes. The gym was fine for me. I mostly use the Aerobic equipment like the elliptical, bike, and recumbent bike. I used the gym every day we weren't docked or moored at a destination port. Tip: My wife and I decided on Day 2 to use the stairs only. We decided we needed to do something to mitigate for the increase in calorie intake. Running up and down between Decks 4 and 13 all day long burned a lot of calories. Our state room was an interior on the 8th floor near the front of the ship. This turned out to have an advantage we did not predict, Bev wakes up every morning at first light and has trouble going back to sleep. The interior rooms are pitch dark. First light happens when you flip the light switch. So, Bev slept well.
One surprise was how easy it was to get on and off the ship at the beginning and end of the cruise. I dropped my first cousin and her son off and picked them up for a cruise (Not Royal Caribbean) in Galveston and it took them hours to get on the ship and situated and hours to get off. We got on pretty quickly without a lot of standing in lines. We took our own luggage off the ship and were driving away from New Orleans by 8:30 in the morning. This was a pleasant surprise for a guy who has a real aversion to standing in lines for long periods.
Bottom Line: My wife's vacation philosophy leans toward, "Let's plan the most enjoyable vacation ever. Costs is a minor consideration." I'm a "Bang for the Buck" type of guy. I want the most enjoyment and relaxation I can get for the beat price. This was the perfect choice for both. Bev claims it was her favorite vacation ever and we've spent two or three times as much on a week in Europe. I was able to relax and enjoy nonstop food and entertainment for a price so low I honestly don't know how they do it. I plan to take at least one cruise per year as long as I can enjoy it. I will most definitely take another cruise with Royal Caribbean.