This was our first time embarking out of Bayonne. It was a breeze! Chilly due to it being February, but no issues. We booked parking through Premium Parking, slightly cheaper than at pier. They picked us up and took us back to car as well. Check in was easy. We had arrived about 10:30, did not board the ship till about 12:30-1pm so we had to wait in a waiting area.
The ship seems to need some slight updating, but is still well functioning. No odd smells or torn carpets etc. Staff was constantly cleaning something somewhere. Always said hello etc.
Windjammer Food did not impress me much, seemed to be overcrowded in there and the food was "cafeteria" quality in my personal opinion.
Royal Promenade was very nicely decorated. No complaints. The bar tenders in the Weekend Warrior bar, Andre and Vladimir, were great. Fun to talk with, made great drinks and very people friendly.
Didn't seem many shows, the ones we did were the one comedian and the Broadway musicals. Both were awesome.
Main Dining Room: The first 2 nights service was awful. Took quite awhile to be served but our waiter Ronald was very apologetic and he definitely impressed us the other nights, having our drinks there on table already and very informative. Our wine/bread/assistant waiter was Muhammad and he was such a sweetheart. One night i was not feeling well and he brought me over tea and bread and was very helpful. The food was great. Not much complaint there. I highly suggest the warm chocolate cake dessert! Wish they had this every night.
Room Service: We did use it often. Delivered within 20 minutes usually. Food was always hot and well cooked. No complaints. We tipped the person bringing room service.
The first 2 and last 2 days at sea were very cold, given the time of year. Seas were so rough the last 2 days home, they had to drain the water from the pools.
Disembarkation was a breeze. Literally all of 20 minutes. It was great!
Overall a very enjoyable time. Would definitely go on this ship again.
Our ship tendered in Samana, Dominican Republic. I wish someone told me this prior to even getting on a tender boat: BOOK AN EXCURSION THROUGH THE SHIP!!!. We did not and chose to just get off and walk around and mingle a bit. This was not the place for that. The closest "flea market" was about 3/4-1 mile down the road and the entire way you are hassled and haggled by people trying to get you to book an excursion. Once we reached the "shopping area", it was a bunch of tents set up all selling the same similar jewelry or hand carvings.
There were many dogs walking around, they bothered no one and appeared to be just wanting food.
I regret not booking an excursion. The rain forests looked gorgeous and everyone raved about the waterfalls back on board. Either book an excursion, or don't expect to do much in this port.
Labadee, Haiti, RCCL's private island, was awesome! Weather was also perfect. This is a great beach day. There are several beaches to choose from. We chose the one closest to the volley ball courts. After going into the water and floating and tanning a bit, we went and ate. Food was provided by RCCL no issues there. You can borrow floating mats for $12 each, we did, they were a nice touch. The water was crystal clear but the bottom was rocky. Apparently the other beach across the way on the side of island where cabanas are is much smoother. Found out too late. We did not do any excursions. There is a flea market back near Columbus Beach. They people selling stuff are very pushy but are willing to haggle with prices. If you touch something plan to be harassed and bargained with. I had little patience with this and did not enjoy walking around shopping very much here. As long as your strong minded and aren't afraid to be pushy by saying no and moving on, its uneventful.
We arrived at approximately 4:30pm, so a lot of the local shops were getting ready to close up. Overall a gorgeous city, lots of sights to see. If your looking for WIFI, there is a Starbucks about a 3-5 minute walk from the pier. Ask the counter staff for password. We did not do any excursions, but did enjoy wandering around the city.
There are no words to describe St. Thomas. Very peaceful, wonderful scenery etc. A $4 per person taxi drive gets you right into the center of town. We were shopping for jewelry and did very well at Diamonds International. We booked the Magic Ice excursion through Magic Ice. It was $20 per person, being there were 4 adults, it was quite a bit. The price did include a shot glass and one shot at the ice bar inside. Once inside the building where the sculptures are, its breathtaking, a true phenomenon. I only gave it a 4 rating due to the price, I think $15 would be more reasonable. Still a lot of fun.
We did the normal browsing/shopping and headed back towards the ship ( via taxi, Way to long of a walk) and stopped in at the Butterfly Farm store to pick up some souvenirs. We did not need to pay admission just to go into the store.