Was aboard from 24 Sep 19 for 7 days out of Miami on the West Caribbean route.
The ship is huge. Huge and white.
We stayed in Miami Beach for a couple of nights prior to embarking (that was a great place to wander around) and had a short taxi ride to the cruise terminal. Once there the porters were straight on us and a couple of dollars later we were luggage free. Very efficient. Check in was the usual MSC quickness we've encountered - about 20 mins. When you step into the ship it's in the atrium which is very shiny, very big and very jaw dropping. First stop was buffet as usual for us. Straight to the cabin after that and all baggage was waiting for us. A quick unpack and up on top for sailaway. There was a storm going on behind downtown and some of the photos we got were amazing. You will need water shoes which can be hired but I'd recommend you buy some before you go as they'll come in handy....
First stop was Ocho Rios in Jamaica where we took a MSC trip to Dunns River Falls and Reggae Hill. The Falls are a must see/do but are quite strenuous in places. There is a Jamaican marketplace on the way out where you do get a little hassle but it's their living so hey-ho. Reggae Hill is on the White River and you can paddle, have a plunge or just sit and watch the tubers go bu every 5 to 10 mins. There is an option for food and drinks and it was all very pleasant. Final stop was the usual Jamaican souvenir shop for all your tat needs.
2nd stop was Grand Cayman where we did the MSC Stingray City deluxe tour. This was a tender port and we were picked up from the dock and whisked off to the Baradere Marina where we caught the boat to Stingray City. The boat provides snorkel gear if you need it but be aware that no footwear can be used i.e. no water shoes
The boat anchors in the sand bar and you are about chest high in the sea. Stingrays and fish are all around you in minutes. You get the chance to touch, feed and kiss a ray under supervision. Listen to the guys in the water and you'll have the best time. It's over all too quick and you are back to the dock. There is a good duty free shop where cheap rum can be procured. For medicinal purposes obviously.
Stop 3 was Cozumel where we took a MSC trip to Cenote Chaak Tun - a Mayan sink hole system. Here we got to swim in the pitch black crystal clear waters. Lovely and cool with a great couple of guides. Tequila tasting afterwards and some free time in Playa del Carmen. The traders on 5th Avenue do hassle you but its dog eat dog on that street........ A long day but really great.
Stop 4 was supposed to be Nassua but Hurricane Dorian approached and as Miami port was due to close the Captain decided to return to Miami a day early to let those disembark who wanted to and then take the ship back out to calmer water till it was safe. We got off as we couldn't change the plane home and booked into a hotel by MIA for the night. In the event the ship stayed in Miami and was able to go out on the Saturday. All charges relating to missed days, missed excursions and port charges were reimbursed without too much hassle.
The cabin was nice. Everything worked, and was cleaned well. The app was great in booking shows. The shows were the usual mish mash of singing and circus acts. Didn't get to see the MJ show but its supposed to be the highlight. Food was fine. Pizza is the best. Some American foods on offer which is different to the usual European fayre. Always managed to find a quiet space on a sunbed on sea days although the pools were understandably crowded. Bought a fun pass beforehand and got $180 for $90 cost - better than aboard. The games area is open at odd times though so check. We ended up 10 pin bowling at 11.30pm one night.
MDR had plenty of choice with NY steak being one of the options every night. The Cruise Director was Eric Bouman who was everything you'd want a CD to be, bright, bubbly and visible.
Overall we had a great time except for Dorian, so much so we intend to return in 2021
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