My family decided to take a cruise out of Baltimore since we live about 1 hour away from the port and did not want to deal with the airport travel. My husband and myself were traveling with our 3 year old and 8 year old sons and meeting up with other relatives on board.
We had a very easy time reaching the port about 11 a.m. and only had to wait a few minutes to pay out the $120.00 parking fee. Every single person we interacted with was extremely pleasant and friendly from the RCCL staff to the passengers. In just a few minutes we were checked in and ready to board the ship.
It was a difficult decision to decide upon the grand suite because of the extra money but with 4 people in a room we wanted to have enough space for everyone. It was the best decision I made because I felt like a queen the entire time on board.
We went up to the Wind Jammer for lunch and got into our room right on time at 1:30. Luggage was waiting for us. The room 8040 was amazing. We had so much storage space and the sofa opened up into a full size bed. My son said it was more comfortable than the real bed. The bathroom had two sinks and a big tub. We stored the suit cases under the bed and had lots of drawer space and three full size closets. The balcony was spacious and contained two lounge chairs and a table with two chairs. The room had a flat screen TV and a DVD player. We brought a sound machine but never heard any significant noise from the Wind Jammer above us. The room is close to the elevators which is nice but a little walk to the concierge lounge.
A fruit platter was in the room on arrival and later in the week we received other tasty treats. We did have a few minor maintenance issues and they were immediately taken care of. The only issue I had the entire trip was with the minibar. I immediately put the snacks, water, and soda in a bag and placed it into the closet. My three year old would have had a field day and I did want to pay $61.00 dollars. The stateroom attendant must have thought we ate and drank it all and next day we had a whole new minibar delivered. Yikes! Now, I had two sets of minibar snacks. It took several phone calls and the help of the concierge to remove the minibar and get the charge removed. Next time, I will tell the stateroom attendant before doing that again.
Overall, I felt the service was incredible. Everyone was so pleasant and kind from the workers at the pool to the waiters at dinner. My other relatives felt the same way and they were in lower level cabins. The ship was in good shape and I did not notice the wear and tear other reviews have commented on.
The concierge Reyno was the best part of the suite experience. He was enthusiastic and immediately handled all our requests. It was so nice to know I had a person in my corner to deal with any cruise issues. The lounge itself was small and did not have the amount of snacks and beverages that I expected. There was a coffee and hot water machine in the mornings along with a juices and some bagels and muffins. We preferred the Wind Jammer for hot food. I also expected soda in the lounge but it was only offered in the evenings along with free cocktails.
I expected the Wind Jammer to be very busy and it was crowded but we always found a table and the food was plentiful and tasty. The staff quickly cleaned tables and offered to bring beverages to the table.
The first day at sea was very rough and windy and rainy. I am so glad I got the patch to prevent motion sickness. My husband and both sons were sick along with a large portion of the ship. Every person I ran into told me they were not feeling well. The staff told me the rough water was typical going to Bermuda. I wish someone had told me in advance. My poor son was at the Adventure Ocean Club. The Club members gave the kids barf bags and just waited for the parents to pick up the kids. The Adventure Ocean Club is up on the 10 deck which is more prone to motion.My family felt better after a little medicine and some green apples and ginger ale.
The next few times my 8 year old visited the Kids Club he had a great time and did not want to leave. My 3 year old had separation anxiety and stuck with us. I saw some other 3 year olds and they seemed to have a good time.
Due to the weather we were not able to use the pool deck and rock climbing wall. Later in the cruise my 8 year old was able to go on the bungee bounce and rock climbing wall. The staff were very encouraging and gave him the confidence he needed.
Poor weather conditions prevented us from enjoying Bermuda. It poured buckets. We did some shopping the first day in Hamilton. I was not impressed. Many of the shops were closed down due to the economy. We tried the $5.00 beach admission by the ship dock due to the weather. My sons had a nice time for a couple of hours before we were rained out. The beach does have a lot of green bottle glass but we had no trouble due to the water shoes. No activities were out due to the weather so I cannot comment of the snorkeling and jet skis.
We would have loved to have visited St. George but the ferries do not run there on the weekends and the travel time would have been over 2 hours just to get there.
The rain finally stopped and we had sunny weather for Boston and Newport. We took the City Tour trolley in Boston. We walked right off the ship and there are tents to the left of the ship with various tours offered about half the price of the cruise ship prices. It was $19.00 for the 9 stop trolley. They had a nice shuttle that took you to and from the ship and you could get on or off at any of the stops.
My other relatives took a tour of Newport but we just stayed on the ship.
The concierge booked me a spa treatment. I received the ginger and sea salt scrub with the full massage. My husband got the reflexology. The spa was wonderful. Sonja took good care of me and I never felt pushed to buy any products.
My husband enjoyed the shows while I stayed with the boys. He enjoyed all the shows especially the juggler. My husband loved the private seats reserved for the suite members. He did notice that other passengers waited by the ropes since those seats are open to anyone about 10 minutes til showtime.
We ate in the main dining room and had Jamie wait on us. Food was excellent and now at home we say "Where's Jamie?" because he took care of every need immediately. The servings were adequate for me and my husband just ordered an extra plate if he really liked an entree. We tried the Kids Club kid pick up. This is where the Adventure Ocean will pick up your kids in front of the main dining room at 6:40 so you can relax with your dinner. There was simply no way to feed the kids and get them out by that time. I had to go out and tell the staff member that we would see them later. Nice concept but the waiter staff simply could not keep up. The wait staff were so hard working but they would need some magic to keep with that schedule.
My family cannot wait to go on another cruise. We walked right off the ship, grabbed our bags and were home by 9:30a.m.