We sailed on the August 30Th cruise out of Bayonne, NJ. We drove in from upstate NY on Wednesday afternoon and stayed on Staten Island at the Hampton Inn. We left our car there for the 10 day cruise at no charge and used their free shuttle to the pier. We arrived at 11:30 and were on board by 12:15 and headed up to the Windjammer for lunch. We must have been ahead of the crowd because we were able to find a table for four without any trouble. The vacation had begun.
Muster drill went well and afterwards we headed up to deck 12 for the sail away and to go under the bridge and out into the ocean. It is like "Free Willy" every time I go under that bridge. I know we are headed for the open waters and the vacation has begun.
We had four adults in an inside cabin. Some people may find that terrible but it worked out well for us. Two of us were early risers so we got up, showered, dressed and got out of there. The other two slept until they woke up and enjoyed their late sleep in mornings. It was my self, my husband, our daughter and her significant other. DD had never been to "the St. Islands" and was really excited to be going.
First stop was Bermuda. As always a great Island. It is my favorite stop. I have been on cruises the last four years that have either stopped for a day or stayed for three days. Can't get enough of Bermuda. Did Horseshoe Beach and wandered the Dockyard until re-boarding time.
Next we had to go a little bit out of our way to avoid Hurricane Leslie. The captain took us about 180 miles off our route to avoid the storm. We arrived at St. Maarten about an hour later than scheduled but stayed an hour later that night. We did Bernard's Tour of the Island since I wanted our daughter to see her first "St. Island". We hit Maho Beach a bit late for the big planes but did see three smaller ones lands. Then we did a bit of tour around the island, some shopping in Marigot and then off to Orient Beach. Just did some wading there. The Orient Hotel is closed for renovations so there weren't too many nude bathers on that end of the beach. Yep we did look to see what was going on down there.
The we headed for St. Thomas, our daughter"s second "St. Island." We did an island tour. We were picked up at the ship and dropped off for three hours of shopping. Then at noon we did two hour drive around the island. We stopped at Mountain Top and socked in the beautiful views. Then it was off to Megan's Beach for two hours of wonderful swimming. Back to the ship and headed off.
Next stop was San Juan, P.R. We did a ship sponsored tour that day to the rain forest. Again, DD wanted to see a rain forest. We were only in port about five hours so we decided on a ship sponsored excursion so we would be sure to get back to the ship on time. No rain in the rain forest but a great trip anyway.
Final port was our day in Labadee. We rented a cabana and really enjoyed that. My DH is not a water person so he spent the day relaxing in the Cabana. The enhanced buffet was really good. The shrimp and the steaks on the buffet were wonderful. Labadee has been greatly improved since the last time we stopped there. We were last there when the ship anchored out in the water and we had to tender into the island. Labadee was my favorite stop after my very favorite of Bermuda.
The last two days at sea were R&R time. The last night on board, at dinner time, the captain said he was turning the ship around to go and assist a sailboat in distress. I think he wanted to make sure we did not think he was taking back to the Caribbean. The French sailboat was headed for Roanoke, VA and could not use their sails because of some kind of problem. They were running out of fuel. We off loaded fuel, water, and food for them and sent them on their way. The captain turned the ship around and we were off to Bayonne again. Just added a bit of excitement to our last night on the high seas.
The weather was wonderful. We only had two brief rain storms and the rest of the ten days was sunshine all the way. Even sharing the ocean with Hurricane Leslie did not ruin this perfect trip.
The crew was amazing and very helpful. Our cabin was kept spotless and our waiters brought me ice tea every night after I asked for it once. The Customer Service people worked out an OBC problem for me and the $200 showed up on my account that same day. I had a back issue about 2/3 way through the cruise and visited the Spa for a massage. That was the best $100 I spent of my OBC.
We have done cruises with other lines but keep coming back to RCCI. My DH and I love this cruise company.