04-11 THRU 04-15-05
Just wanted to share our experience on this cruise. We had purchased transportation from the airport in Miami to the ship, then back again. We were greeted promptly upon arrival and after another plane landed with more passengers, we were loaded up and driven to the ship. It was all very painless.
We arrived at the ship around 2:30. Checking in at the ship's terminal took about 10 minutes. We went to our cabin first and our room steward, Alvaro, promptly came and introduced himself and explained where things were and answered our questions. He made us feel that we were in good hands. We were able to eat at the Windjammer Cafe and relax before we departed.
We had the late seating for dinner at the Maytime. Our waiter, Djordje, pronounced "Georgie" was excellent and elaborated on the dinner choices. Our head waiter came around early and often throughout the cruise to make sure everything was satisfactory. Our assistant waiter always made sure we had all the bread and drinks we wanted. The food was very adequate, but the outstanding part of dinner was the service and the presentation.
Our room was on the 6th deck. It was small, but we weren't expecting a large room. It made very good use of the space; none to spare really, but room for everything. Our empty luggage fit beneath the bed. The bathroom shower was very, very small. However, the walls were always very handy to brace myself when the ship started rocking. I noticed many people wearing patches for motion sickness, but I rather enjoyed being rocked to sleep again! We didn't experience any discomfort. Our room was straightened and fresh towels brought several times throughout the day and evening, and they made those cute little animals out of the towels. We were, in fact, in good hands.
Our trip to Nassau was a good experience. My favorite things were the old, old buildings and the very friendly folks. We had signed up for the Yellowbird Tour and enjoyed it very much. Pearl Island was very pleasant. And the ride back (and the endless supply of rum punch) was very fun, too.
Our next stop was at Coco Cay. We were pleasantly surprised. There was everything that we needed right there. Nobody had to scramble for the beach chairs and there was a good number of hammocks here and there, too. The folks were friendly. There were a lot of chickens on the island, and many baby chicks. Because it's still early in the year, the water was colder than we like. Next time, we'll go when it's a little warmer.
Our last stop was Key West. The ship had to be cleared by Immigration before we could get off, but honestly, when our deck was called the line kept moving and we barely stopped. I had brought our Customs card down to fill out while we waited, and there was no waiting. The only delay was a few guests who must have "forgotten" that they really needed to go through this procedure, and needed a very public invitation. We enjoyed this stop, too. We stopped off at Capt'n Tony's bar and asked about getting a really good cheeseburger. The bartender suggested the "Depot" in a mostly residential area. It's a sidewalk cafe with a "Kleen Wash" laundry attached to it. They have a model train that runs above the seating area. We were seated in the "West Wing"; actually the middle of the three picnic tables provided in the front. It had a great umbrella. This is not a fast food establishment but it was time well-spent. When the owner got a whim, he would blow a real train whistle. This is at the corner of Margaret and Fleming, and across the street is "Maggie's book store", also known as the "Flaming Ladies". We were told that years ago, it was a cheap diner, and Ernest Hemingway used to eat lunch there most days.
The next morning we were back in Miami. I dreaded the process of getting off the ship and back to the airport, but we were called for the Customs process at about 7:30AM and were getting our boarding passes at the airport by 8:30AM. It was just extremely easy.
The only inconvenience we encountered was the lack of ashtrays available for use on the smoking side of the ship. I never saw more than four plastic ashtrays and there were several tall ashcans here and there along the decks but a real lack of them for sitting at the tables.
We felt that this was a very wonderful way to spend four days, and worth the expense. I'm very glad we went.