Embarkation We arrived for check-in at 12:15 We were thru security by 12:30 and were issued our Sea Pass cards by 12:40. We were on-board by 12:50. Our room was supposed to be ready by 13:00, but our floor wasn't yet open, so we headed up to Windjammer for lunch. By 13:20 we were able to get into our stateroom and drop off our carry-ons.
Our captain, Flemming Nielsen, kept the ship running precisely on schedule. This was a nice change from some of the other cruises we've been on where everyone has to wait for stragglers. The weather was generally quite nice, so I'm sure that had a lot to do with it.
The "Texas Tenors" performed one night. The won "America's Got Talent" a couple of year ago and they were superb.
The ice skating show was wonderful.
There were a pretty good number of recent movies being played (in-room and the theater).
Our table mates. With the assigned seating you kind of always say a prayer about getting good table mates. We hit the lotto with Richard & Tressa and Dwayne & Lydia. They were cordial, interesting, decent, and pleasant to be with. Getting to visit with them each evening was the highlight of the entire cruise.
Captain's Corner - This is where the captain gives a presentation of about the ship and has a Q&A session. It was very informative and fun.
Carly and the CD staff kept everything lively and on time as well.
Past guest parties - There were a couple that we got to go to. One was for everyone with 1 or more cruises with RCCL, and the other for Platinum (and above) members.
Watching movies poolside bites. Sight lines aren't so good given the layout of the pool / hot tubs. Grand Princess and Carnival Magic offer a much better layout.
Only a couple of comedy shows throughout the cruise. I need to laugh some more!!!
No real explanation as to why we didn't go to Falmouth. It's not so much that we changed ports as that the reason for the change was not communicated.
Cigarette smoke is overpowering in some areas of the ship (Wig & Gavel as well as the Champagne Bar).
Windjammer - Generally good. We like how RCCL has the beverages already prepared so you're not fiddling around trying to fill your glass (are you listening Carnival!).
Dining Room - We had excellent servers (Kristina & Keisha) and the food was pretty good. Not everything was delicious, but I'm not one to make a big deal about the least little thing.
Johnny Rockets - A guilty pleasure we enjoyed twice. The apple pie al a mode is sinful.
Ports of Call
Cozumel, Mexico - A busy day for Cozumel as there were 6 ships in port. We talked at the International Pier and then walked to downtown San Miguel (about 3 miles - an hour's easy walk). We hit our favorite watering hole - Viva Mexico. If you go there, you must try the mango margaritas, they are magical! After 3 of the magic margaritas, a cab was needed to get back to the International Pier.
George Town, Grand Cayman - I queued up for our tender tickets at 08:55 (they were scheduled to be distributed at 09:30). I foolishly thought that I would be "getting there early" as there was already a substantial line. Complicating matters was that 1 person would get a large number of tickets for their "group". In any case, we ended up being in group 3. It was 11:00 before we boarded our tender. It was also a busy day in Cayman as there were also 6 ships in port. Stopped off at Kirk Freeport to drop of a couple of our nicer watches to have their batteries changed ($12 / watch). We then walked over to Eden Rock to snorkel. This is a nice spot to snorkel, with a very lively reef. The cost was modest too - $27 for 2 snorkel set rentals and a locker. After snorkeling, picked up or watches and fought off immense temptation to buy more watches!
Montego Bay, Jamaica - We were originally scheduled to go to Falmouth. No explanation was given as to why the port was changed. We were a little disappointed as we had been to Mo Bay back in November. In any case, we ended up taking a ship's tour to Negril. The tour involved a long stop at Margaritaville and a short (30 minute) stop for some duty free shopping. It was about an hours pleasant drive from Mo Bay to Negril. The road was much better than the hellish interior roads we had taken earlier to Appleton Estate and Croyden Plantation. The beach at Negril was very nice and the scenery quite pretty. I wouldn't say its the best beach that I've every been too, but it was definitely in the top 25%. A real downer was the constant bombardment from the locals when walking on the beach to buy ganga.
We opted for the "lug your own luggage" option. To do that, you are to meet in the main dining room. We showed up at 06:35, but the dining room was closed. We milled about until 07:00 when it was opened. We then sat down until we were permitted to debark - at 07:25. All things considered, a fairly orderly process. We were in our car driving back home by 07:45.