We enjoyed our sun and fun with Royal Caribbean! We drove from Virginia (my husband, self and college aged son) and met my parents who drove from Pennsylvania. We stayed one night at La Quinta Oceanfront, by the pier in Cocoa Beach (Great location and ok breakfast-nice rooms and friendly staff).We arrived early Saturday morning-enjoyed the ritual walk through Ron Jon and some time in the sun-lunch at Grills Seafood Deck,near the cruise docks (nice atmosphere and good food) and dinner on the pier (not so great-mediocre)
For the first time we parked remotely with Cruise Parking. A good experience and I had an online Christmas coupon, so we only paid $33 (fast and friendly service). We were on board by noon-ish, had some lunch, I purchased one more excursion and my son purchased the soda package and all went smoothly.
I like Royal Caribbean because all age groups are happy. My dad likes to eat, my son likes lounging in the sun and reading, we all like the trivia, we all enjoyed the piano and guitar performers in the bars, loved the booked shows, and there's so much room on these big ships that you never feel over crowded.
Labadee-time on the beach-very pretty day
Grand Cayman-I did Sting Ray City (ok) my husband swam with the dolphins (enjoyed) and my parents and son had lunch and did some shopping on their own
Jamaica-we took a taxi to a local public beach-beautiful but not for everyone-I think it was called Burwood Beach, it was just down the beach from the Chukka Beach excursion provided by the ship. We were able to rent some chairs from the local "beach lord" (I think his name was Jason-can't remember for sure) and some beers from him as well. Very local feel, only about 8-10 cruise guests on this beach. Saw some spear fisherman come back from the reef with their fish-very cool. As long as your kids are illiterate (there were some not so nice words written on the one structure there-pretty run down) or you can handle some local flavor I would recommend this place as it is close to the ship and pretty-but you need to be prepared for the local flavor and try not to take valuables and be prepared to fend off a few vendors (they did not bother us once we said "no thanks")
Cozumel We did the 12m sailboat race-a lot of fun, we all enjoyed it, we raced another boat with passengers from the NCL ship (we beat them! :)) Then had some lunch and went shopping downtown with the taxi. We all enjoy the friendly Mexican atmosphere.
Great cruise and a nice break from Winter.