5 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Sail Date: August 17, 2009 Cabin Type: Inside Traveled As: Family (older children) Reviewed: 7 years ago
This was just an excellent cruise, and exceeded my expectations. Room service changed our room twice each day, always greeting us in a friendly way. They decorated our room with these charming animal towels, a different one each day. My kids loved this. The food was excellent (and I'm a food snob), activities were always available, there was always something to do, whatever your thing was. I went as a single mom with my children and I had an absolutely great time and so did my kids, who range in age from 10 to 20. (My object was not to meet another man, though--my object was to socialize, have fun, have a good time. If you're a middle aged single person and want to meet another person who is not 30 years younger than you and not married, this particular cruise would not be a good cruise to go on; go on a singles cruise.)
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
The good was excellent, the buffet was excellent. We went to the buffet for breakfast and lunch, and for afternoon tea, and to My Fair Lady for dinner. The buffet breakfast was amazing (they had lox and capers!), and I loved going to afternoon tea, with bread pudding, and nachos too! The dinners were excellent. My only complaint was that our waiter was usually rushed and not quite attentive. If I had paid for this at a private restaurant, there would have been a few nights he wouldn't have gotten a high tip (I always tip 20 percent in these kinds of restaurants and he would have gotten 12-15 a few nights.) Other nights he was great, and played games with my kids. Out table was a bit tight, too; the back of my chair hit up against the back of another person's chair. But our view was great--we were right up against the window and watched the sunset. The waiter improved as the time went on. One night he was great, very attentive. It was erratic.
5 out of 5
I don't expect Broadway caliber entertainment on a cruise ship. (I live near New York and see it regularly anyway). Three nights were great--the comedian was wonderful, very funny; the magician was fine (one trick was amazing); the ventriloquist had a cute fun show which had us all smiling. The dancing and singing one night were of course pretty bad. (A couple of the guests singing karaoke one night were better than the performers!) I didn't go--I knew it wouldn't be good and I'm a snob. Overall, the shows were great. The music around the ship in bars and so on were wonderful--very varied, whatever kind you wanted basically.
3 out of 5
I had a 14 year old and a 10 year old (and older kids) and they would have benefited from a more fun program. They went once each and the activities were pretty lame. But I understand they were trying to keep it safe. And my kids probably didn't try too hard.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Amazing--almost everyone went above and beyond, not just one or two people. Most people had a smile, and went out of their way to help. We were carrying a few drink glasses back to the bar from where we had been sitting in the Centrum (my kids had had a non-alcoholic pina colada, which they love, and I had had a daquiri), and someone popped out and took the drinks from us and carried it for us. We didn't ask; she just did it, and graciously. This is typical.
5 out of 5
Just beautiful, and always clean. We especially loved the Centrum with the glass elevators, and would read there, or sip a drink, or play a board game and talk. There was always lovely elegant live music, classical or jazz, and the views out to sea were beautiful. Very restorative.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
We stayed in the cheapest room and the beds were so comfortable. The sheets were amazing. My kids loved it too. Yes, it was very squooshy, but we expected that. It was cozy and great.
We went to the Chankanaab park and went snorkeling and swimming in the beautiful clear waters. It was absolutely wonderful. Beautiful, beautiful waters, very restful. We also did this by ourselves, taking a cab. Much cheaper this way, and very easy. Afterwards we took another cab back into the city asking for a good spot. We did our shopping there. By all means, make sure to bargain down. We always got $10 off or so from merchandise. We got lovely jewelry and gifts. They are very aggressive there with selling, and call you out so you go to the stores, so don't be intimidated. Bargain. We sipped Cokes in huge glass bottles in a quiet square under umbrellas--Cokes were a dollar each. Don't overpay (beer is really cheap and good, if you like beer.) It was very hot and the people definitely expected you to be gullible tourists. that said, it was a cool experience.
Don't Miss: Chankanaab was really beautiful.
Very poor country. We went to see the ruins, an unforgettable experience. It was scary though, climbing up the ruins--different country, so no safety; sheer drops. However, absolutely unforgettable. We hired a private person and had our own trip. On the drive out we got to see the countryside, which was an experience. So very poor and quite diverse. Our driver was excellent; safe driver and very courteous and informative (from Dennis Perez, Explore Belize Caves--highly recommended. I heard some other drivers, such as the bus drivers, were maniacs. )
Don't Miss: Altun Ha--amazing. Tubing (we didn't go but I heard it was great.)
We went parasailing (not through the cruise). It was awesome. However this wasn't an especially interesting port otherwise. On the other hand, I've visited Florida a great deal, so I'm sort of jaded. It was fine.
Don't Miss: parasailing was great
Pros: Ship amenities, food, ports of call, friendly and fabulous cruise staff
Cons: I liked pretty much everything. The only thing was that the pool got pretty crowded, but that was fine. I always got a lounge chair when I wanted and always got into the pool. If you wanted to go when it was less crowded, the adult pool was always much less crowded and much more peaceful.
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