Coming home to this cold weather makes me wish I had a BB cruise booked. Our cruise started by driving from Maryland to Port Canaveral (906 miles)we took my father, step mom and 2 of her relatives with us on the drive. They did not go on the cruise with us, they stayed with family on the east coast. My sister, her hubby and 2 adult kids went with us. The first night we stayed at Country Inn and Suites which is about 5 minutes from the port. They have a terrific breakfast, nice rooms, and we choose their park and cruise package. We were assigned the 11:30 shuttle which was on time. Very friendly drivers, although they do let you know tips are appreciated.
From the time we got in line at the port it took 20 minutes until we were on the ship. This is our first cruise with Royal, so no special perks for faster boarding. Our room was ready at 1:30, I got busy wih all the normal things, unpacking and drinking :) We walked around the ship getting tons of pictures while everyone was in the Windjammer. There were 4200 guests on the ship but it never felt crowded, there are plenty of places to go to escape if you choose to.
Day 1 was at sea, we played trivia, got some sun and visited the casino (I won $500) Hubby and I went to the meet and greet and met some very nice people, some we saw again, others we didn't. This was also our first formal night. It was fun getting dressed up and scouting out various locations to get our picture taken. Pictures turned out great, the photographers do a really good job!!
Day 2 Labadee, the water was cold, so we didn't stay in too long, but it was beautiful. I didn't go to the market area, as my niece said she got the typical hassle you find on some islands. It was extremely windy so they closed the zipline early. I'm too chicken to try the zipline, those who did it looked like they were having fun. I tried the roller coaster, it was fun and you can control how fast or slow you go. It cost $19 per person per ride, and was worth it for the view and experience. The buffet was ok, nothing special, they had ribs, chicken, burgers and hot dogs. As we were returning to the ship, we got stuck in a really long line. After about 10-15 minutes we noticed the line wasn't moving. We walked to the side of the building in time to see a helicopter land on the pier. There was a medical emergency on the ship involving a man, that's all the information we ever got. I hope and pray he is ok.
Day 3 Falmouth Jamaica. It was even windier today, so windy that it blew my sunglasses right off my nose. I enjoyed the shopping area, got a few good deals (tip for smokers, Winstons are 4 packs for $48). If the wind didn't feel as if it were going to lift us up and blow us away, we would have stayed and shopped longer. Margaritaville is still under construction. They have Dairy Queen and Quiznos open. We chose not to do any excursions due to the amount of traveling required to get there and back. We enjoyed the activities on the ship the rest of the day.
Day 4 Grand Caymen. Again we did not choose an excursion, choosing to walk the massive shopping area. Somehow I managed not to buy anything :(
Day 5 Cozumel. My niece and I did the Amazing Cozumel Race, we had a fun time, walked/ran over 4 miles and placed 10th out of 20 teams. After the race, we returned to the port, shopped and chilled at Senor Frogs. This is my first time at Senor Frogs, it was nice but expensive. The 4 other family member went on the Isle of Passion Twister, which takes you to an all inclusive beach. I expected them to come back drunk, but since the boat was so fast, they were afraid to drink too much then ride the boat.
Day 6 our last day at sea...packed and got ready for our departure. Took advantage of all the sales the ship offers on jewelry and knick knacks.
Shout out to Shaun Victor our waiter....he was AWESOME!!!! I think he went well above and beyond to make our meal time memorable. One night my hubby ordered shrimp (you get 4), when Shaun bought his plate to him, he told him he placed another order for shrimp because he knew it wouldn't be enough for him. Every employee on the ship (except for 2) were incredibly friendly, smiling and greeting you as they passed you. One employee at a jewelry store acted like I was a bother and the man at Starbucks didn't seem to like his job....
The shows: don't miss the Freedom Ice Show!!!! It was great, and my second favorite show of the week. My favorite was a duo John Joseph and Johnny B. (I think). I laughed the whole time they were on stage....they weren't billed as the comedian, but 10 times funnier. The late night comedy show was ok, the only thing "adult" about it was the language he used. I thought he was just throwing the "F" word into his routine to make it adult....enough is enough.....sometimes it didn't fit the joke. We were totally bored with the "Broadway" type shows, no acting, total singing that was a few bubbles away from the Lawerence Welk show (for those of you old enough to remember). We gave the show a second chance thinking it was an off night, but honestly, people were getting up and leaving the "Once Upon a Time" show. I'm sure some loved it, it just wasn't us. The magician was fabulous!!! Quest was a blast!!!
I purchased the soda card online precruise and was disappointed. I wasn't expecting a cup that I had to carry around all week. There were only a few machines (6), and at least once a day they were out of ice. I assumed the soda card was good for the week, however, when you place your cup into the machine, it tells you how long the "free" refills are good for. Mine "expired" at 11PM Saturday night, which means when I got up Sunday and took my cup to the machine (yes, I tried) it had a message to see a crew member to purchase a drink. I thought I paid for a week, which I thought was the entire cruise. Hubby refused to carry his cup around after he found out that you can go to the bar or Sorrentos and get a glass of soda.
Disembarkment was fast and easy. We requested a 7:15AM departure and met in the Arcadia theater. They had coffee, juice and pastries for us to enjoy. Departure was running late, it was closer to 7:45 before we were called to leave. Make sure you use a porter!! Our porter took us to the other side of the building where we were 3rd or 4th in line instead of in the very long line in the first section. Those guys work hard and know the faster they get you out, the faster they can help someone else. We called the hotel who quickly sent a shuttle for us. From the time we got in line, got our luggage, went through customs and were curb side, it was only 25 minutes.
All in all we had a nice time, not terrific, just nice. Food was so so, nothing I would crave or look forward to, nothing memorable. Desserts looked better than they tasted.