Exciting new experience for me. Read on-line reviews to glean what it would be like, what to expect and what to pack for a Southern Caribbean Cruise. Talked extensively to my brother who has several cruise experiences and my travel agent. Went to the doctor and received a Hepatitis shot and booster as well as a prescription. for possible stomach ailments as a preventative. Didn't need the meds. because the ship had lots of hand sanitizers and the crew kept it very clean. Frequent hand washing was recommended.
My brother was on the cruise with me and was very helpful. Be sure to bring a neck chain and plastic holder for your sea pass, which is the size of a credit card. You need the pass constantly to get into your room, buy stuff on-board and get off and onto the ship. For heaven sake don't loose it, or you are sunk!
The first thing that was lacking was communication between the cabin steward and me. The bathroom cabinet was a mystery until my curiosity got the best of me 3 days into the cruise and I didn't find the bar frig until 4 days into the cruise. The number of photos taken by the on-board photographers was unbelievable -- every time you turned around they were snapping a photo. Finally, had to brush them off to get a break. The photos were not very good either.
The crew were really nice and they pampered the guests like royalty. A lot of the English, morning announcements were difficult to understand with the heavy accent of the announcer. The music in the Atrium was very professional and a great mix of styles. The pool deck was a constant party and very noisy, however, the Solarium pool was a wonderful retreat. There was dozens of activities available on-board and the movies were shown in several languages throughout the day. I didn't know there were pay movies on TV, but these were twice the price of a cable offering. The Internet connection was very poor and really expensive, so it's better to use a land Internet cafe.
The food was unsurpassed! The menu was varied and everything was fresh. The morning buffet in the Windjammer was incredible!!! Be prepared to gain weight.
I didn't get sick from the ship motion, but just couldn't get my "sea legs". The ports of call were very interesting and the shore excursions went off without a hitch.
The ship was very luxurious and well appointed. A real upscale floating hotel. The only drawback was the room air-conditioning that could not be turned off in order to leave the balcony door open. Thankfully, I took a roll of packing tape with me and was able to block off the side of the vent that blew in my face when I was trying to sleep. Be prepared to have a cover-up for times when the dining room is cooler too. The library is a small oasis of quiet with books you can borrow if you have time to read.
Take a napkin folding demonstration, fitness class or spa treatment. Be prepared to pay 15% on all your extra charges for gratuities. Also, expect to pay gratuities on your bill for 4 serving crew members, and they add it times each number of guests per cabin.
My cabin steward was very attentive and he provided me with fresh towels twice a day and also a turn-down service. He also made up cute towel animals for my room on three nights to add a laugh. Asking for a filled ice bucket every morning was a good idea.
It was an expensive holiday, but a real treat because I deserved it!