This was our 1st cruise for me and my wife. We went on recommendations from our friends. Celebrating our 10 year anniversary. No child just me and my wife.
Our cruise was the 7 day Eastern Caribbean. Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. We booked our cruise through a local travel agency. Doesn't really matter the cruise line sets a price so not going to get it any cheaper from a travel agency. We booked our own flights through Delta.com a few months in advance. They were only $400 round trip but Carnival was charging $850 for the same flights! We booked our transportation through the local travel agency from Orlando airport to Port Canaveral for $100 roundtrip. We flew Delta from Raleigh,N.C. into Orlando,F.L. on the day we departed. Left Raleigh at 7:00 a.m. and arrived in Orlando at 8:45 a.m. Gathered our luggage, waited for a short time period, then got on our bus along with a group of others for a ride to Port Canaveral.
Once we arrived at the Port the Porters handled our luggage the rest of the way. We never touched it again. Very Nice! A few weeks before we left we had gone online and filled out our funpass so we could be pre-registered and not have to wait in a long line. The lines went pretty quickly. We only had to wait to get on the actual ship then had to wait with a crowd to catch the elevator going up to eat lunch. Then everyone had to wait till 1:30 before being able to get in the cabin.
At 1:30 we went to our cabin. Deck 6 around middle of the ship and was a balcony room. The balcony room was AWESOME and will be the only cabin I would rent for future cruises. Others on the ship that did not have a balcony said that was what they were renting on their next cruise. The room was very clean and in perfect condition.
Then our mandatory life boat drill at 4:00 p.m. Our luggage arrived to our room around 5:30 p.m.
My only complaint is the SPA. DO NOT USE THE SPA IT IS A WASTE OF MONEY! Take that money and apply it towards a shore excursion, casino, bingo, or anything else! After we settled in our cabin we called to set a couples message. The spa wanted us to come that day I said no, we have 7 days to get this any day will work. So they scheduled us for Monday at 8a.m. The cost was $242.00 (w/out tip) for a 50 minute couples message. The actual time of message was much less after they talked to you, changed clothes, and prepped you. My wife has had better messages at our local spa in town plus much cheaper. On Thursday night the paper came out saying for Friday buy his message and get hers FREE!! Yes, I was upset and contacted the pursers desk. They sent a message to the spa Manager. The spa manager never contacted us back or the pursers desk. So on Saturday (the day we are leaving) they sent us a letter for a number to call and address. It did no good the lady just got rude with me and I did not get a refund for 1 of the messages.
Cruise Staff: The cruise staff were very professional, courteous, and on top of it. I was very impressed. We never waited in a line for very long at all! All the lines went very quickly. WE found out from some of the staff that they work on a contract from 6-8 months with 2 months off. During that time they work 12-13 hours per day! And all they get is a lunch break. Most of them do not get paid a salary only tips. They also have to share a cabin and sleep below deck 0! The cruise director Mark was EXCELLENT! He did a great job as well. Hats off to him, our cabin stewart, and waiters very good job!!!!!
Entertainment: The shows were great! The 'R' shows should have been rated 'X' and a lot of people got up and left them. The ships dancers/singers were very good and had to practice a lot to be that good. Just as good as what you would see on broadway.
Bahamas: Very nice. Just walked around the straw market and took a taxi ($10 one way) over to the Atlantis. Then walked around some over there. Did not do a shore excursion as we had a small amount of time for this island.
St. Thomas: Very nice island. We did some shopping and walking around. Also did a shore excursion to Megan's Bay and then took us to the top of Paradise Point(?) The cost was $82. If you do an excursion the the ship they will guarantee not to leave you if for some reason the excursion is running behind. Our tour guide "Lennox" was GREAT!! He waited on a couple that was very late coming back to the bus. He gave us some pointers and lots of information about the island. Megan's Bay was very pretty but also very crowded! Barely a spot on the beach to lay out.
St. Maarten: Very beautiful island. We took the water taxi over to the shops. Once we got to the shops we were harassed so badly we went back to the ship. We did not get harassed at Bahamas or St. Thomas like we did here. It was ridiculous!! We took a shore excursion on the Rhino Riders (cost $180). A 2 person boat that you drive over to a private beach for some snorkeling. It was a lot of fun and hardly no one on the beach but our tour group. This was a fun adventure. The snorkeling was hard cause he parked our boats way off the beach and was over 12ft deep. So we had to swim to the beach a good ways. The best way is to wear your life jacket so you can just float around while snorkeling. We swam back to our boat and got on our life jackets.
Debarkation: DO NOT DO THE SELF ASSIST. We put our luggage outside our room and had the cruise lines take it through customs and off the ship. And got off the ship faster than some of the people who did the self assist. So not only did they not get off any faster but had to lug all of this heavy luggage through lines to get off. If you go to the debarkation speech listen and take notes you will be fine. If you follow the directions and do what the staff says it is not bad at all. You will get off in a timely manner and not have to wait in a long line. Just relax and wait your turn.
In Conclusion: Overall it was very nice and we would do it again. JUST DO NOT USE THE SPA SERVICES. COST IS WAY TO HIGH AND NOT GOOD FOR WHAT YOU GET. The seas were not to bad just every now and then would get rough. I easily get motion sickness but never got it 1 time! In fact the first coupe of days I was taking Bonine pills and then just quit taking them. Hats off to the staff of these cruise ships who are from all over the world. They work very had and long hours for very little pay. Don't try and be cheap by doing your own excursions on shore stay with the cruise lines and be safe. It's not worth trying to save a few bucks.