What an amazing first cruise experience! I traveled with 5 other friends. We had great cabins on the 9th deck. Since there were no inside rooms, there were not many people in our hallway which was nice.
We went to Miami a couple of days prior to the cruise and stayed at the Wave Hotel in South Beach. DO NOT stay here.... the a/c only worked when it felt like it, our window would not close, our bath tub would not drain - even after the repair man came to fix it. If you look the hotel up on-line --- remember, looks are deceiving!
Embarkation to the ship was a breeze. Just a quick check-in and we were on board and eating lunch within 30 min. The windjammer had good food each day.
The main dining room was fantastic, our server was very friendly and always joked with us. Her assistant was still learning the ropes, our cruise was his first, but he did a good job as well.
Our cabin steward was great - everytime we came back to our room it was re-arranged and put back in order. The couch/sittin area in our cabin was very nice. We had three rooms all next to each other which was a lot of fun. I used the phone a couple of times to make ship to shore calls and the connection was great.
I used the ships computers to check e-mail a couple of times, although they advertise high speed - it was about the pace of using dial up at home - certainly not dsl or cable modem pace.
Our cruise director, Jimmy Rhodes, was fantastic. He and his staff were a lot of fun to talk with and listen to. The ships entertainment was a lot of fun to watch.
The pools were great on the ship also! They were filled with salt water and since I'm allergic to chlorine, it was great to be able to spend time in the pool and not worry about allergies. There were plenty of deck chairs and people were good about not "hogging them". There were not many kids on the cruise which was nice also.
The casino was a lot of fun. We were not expecting to win and didn't win, but the vegas style slots were a lot of fun to play!! :-)
The art auction was definitely worth attending. Especially the free raffles!
Nassau was an okay stop. We only spent about 3 hours off the ship there. We went to the straw market and bought some gifts and cigars and then spent the rest of the afternoon and night on the ship swimming and hanging in the sun.
Cococay was an awesome stop.... talk about tropical paradise. It was fantastic, the water was perfect, the food was great. I had read complaints about the bbq on the island, but my friends and I thought it was great. The floating mats for $10 is about the best $10 you can spend on the trip
Key West was okay... it was really warm and humid that day. I only got off the ship for an hour or so, and spent the afternoon on the pool deck and relaxing.
The midnight buffets were great also! I was too full usually to eat any of the food at the buffets, but my friends loved it.
I would definitely recommend the later dinner seating. This allows most of the day to do what you want and not worry about getting ready for dinner
Disembarkation was a breeze also. We did an excursion in Miami, so we were able to be the first off the ship and our luggage met us as soon as we got to the baggage claim to pick it up.
Do not book a late flight. I ended up spending six hours at the Miami airport. If you book a mid-morning or early afternoon flight, that allows plenty of time to leave the ship and get to the airport.
My friends and I are already planning a longer cruise next summer on Royal Caribbean. We couldn't have asked for anything more. The price of the cruise was fantastic. And it's up to you how much you spend on the ship. You are not forced to spend! We spent between $200 to $300 each for our 4 night cruise.
Here's to cruising and Royal Caribbean!!