Some friends finally persuaded my husband and me to go on a cruise with them. They take a cruise every year so we trusted them to pick the ship and destination. I figured a 5 day was good for a first time in case my husband was bored out of his mind. There were 8 of us in all so we sat together in the main dining room and had rooms in the same corridor. We chose inside rooms to save money and figured we wouldn't be in the room that much anyway.
We drove from Ohio and spent the week before the cruise visiting friends and family in Florida. The morning of the cruise, we pulled up to the ship and were met by a couple of men who asked if we wanted to use valet parking. My husband was thrilled he could just hand over our luggage and car at once. It cost $95 for the week (Monday to Saturday) which I thought was a little pricey, but my husband thought it was worth it.
I have nothing to compare this to, but getting on the ship was relatively quick and easy. Apparently, there was a problem with our dinner seating, but our friends had dealt with it before we got on board, so we didn't worry about it. Our paperwork said boarding time was 1:30, I believe, but we listened to our friends who said we could get on much earlier and they were right. We were on board well before noon and made our way to the Windjammer for lunch.
The room-much more spacious than I expected. Lots of closet/drawer space, the bed was very comfortable, the bathroom adequate and the shower bigger than expected. Our room was toward the front of the ship on deck 9 and we felt it was very convenient without being too close to the elevators.
The food-we ate in the main dining room every night for dinner and the food couldn't possibly have been better. I was amazed at how they could cook that much food and it be so delicious. . Every single employee we encountered was friendly. Our waiter and his assistant were very nice and somehow learned our names after the first night.
We ate breakfast in the dining room a couple of times and it was excellent, too. The rest of our meals were in the Windjammer and we loved it. There were so many yummy foods it's impossible to mention them all. If I had any complaints, it was the buns were hard if you wanted a hot dog or hamburger, but so what? I loved the iced tea and the lemon wedges that were always available. In the morning, the coffee was delicious.
There was some food I wasn't ecstatic about, but guess what? You don't have to eat it! The pineapple was too sour for me, oh well, I ate more watermelon. I'm a very picky eater, but I found plenty of food I liked. My husband tried the Seaview Cafe for the fish and chips. He said it was really good. I read a review where someone complained about the hand sanitizer being squirted in their hands upon entering the dining rooms. Being a germaphobe, I appreciated that, but if you didn't want it, you just shook your head no. How is that a negative?
We didn't try room service so I can't comment about that. I didn't go on a cruise to sit in my room and there was so much food to eat other places, I was pretty full the entire time.
The entertainment-the first night where the cruise director talks about the cruise and the comedian does a short routine-kind of boring and we never went back for any of the shows! Our friends did, though, and enjoyed the singing and dancing. My husband and I found plenty of other things to entertain us. We enjoyed all the music that was played and thought the seats in all the lounges were very comfortable.
Oh! I thought of one complaint. On formal night, the photographer was annoying at dinner. We were in the middle of eating and he insisted we all get up and gather round for a group picture. There was some grumbling about that, but who's going to be the one that says no? That definitely should be requested by us, not forced.
We did an excursion to Tulum even though we were a little concerned about the heat. Well, we were right. That was the hottest I've ever been in my life! We took a smaller boat from Cozumel to the main land and then had to walk several blocks on uneven sidewalks crossing a couple of streets with cars flying by to get on a bus. I'm still glad we did it since we didn't want to pass up the opportunity to see Mayan ruins.
On our second stop at Costa Maya, we just walked around the shops and then rode a nice tram back to the ship.
Our last day, getting off the ship was even easier than getting on. Everything went very quickly and we were soon in our car heading home. Overall, a great experience and we'd do it again on the same ship!