This being our first cruise, we were really hoping we chose the right ship, ports, etc. I was a little nervous after reading some of the reviews, but we had a WONDERFUL time and can't wait to cruise again soon!
We flew from Boston to San Juan the night before on JetBlue. They were great. Got a room at the Radisson through Priceline. Taxi to the hotel was between $20-25 for 2 people and way too much luggage. The hotel was OK, fine for one night but I don't think I would want to stay there for an extended stay. Check in and out was easy and quick. Left there around 12 and took a taxi to the Pan American Pier. This again was about $20.
Got dropped on and embarked the boat quickly and easily. We were on the ship by 1 having lunch in the Oceanview Cafe (buffet). Our room was ready around 130-2. We changed into our bathing suits and headed to the pool deck for drinks and sun! Nice, relaxing atmosphere. We were back to the room early evening and our luggage had already arrived. Showered and hit the late dinner at 830.
We had an oceanview room on the 2nd deck about midship. It was great. Heard no weird noises, no noise from above. Our stateroom attendant, Abel, was rarely seen and did a nice job keeping the room tidy. Always had nice fresh towels. Bed was turned down when we got back after dinner every night with chocolates. One night we had a towel bunny, but that was the only towel creature we had all week.
The food was amazing as far as I was concerned! I gained 5lb!!! Had breakfast every morning in the Oceanview Cafe. Quite a lot to choose from...omelets and eggs to order, standard American breakfast, English breakfast, pancakes, waffles. Was slightly disappointed in the watery scrambled eggs, but the omelets made up for it! Skipped lunch everyday except for the day at sea, when we just ate in the buffet. They had a panini station but the line was too long on that day to try it. They have a burger/hot dog station out on the pool deck which was nice for an afternoon snack. Hit the buffet daily after getting back to the ship for a snack. Had dinner at the MDR every night except for one, when we went to Normandie. Dinner in the MDR was delcious, and our waiter, Senthil, was awesome. Normandie was OK, I don't think we would have gone if it hadn't been a freebie thrown in by the TA. It was good, don't get me wrong, but not any better than anything I ate in the MDR. And dinner took 3 hours that night.
Day #1 in St. Croix: I have been there 14 times in the past (yearly in the summer) so we rented a Jeep and went around the island. Vendors in port are nice. Got a handcrafted wine bottle opener and some mango jam which is delicious! Only downfall is that the shops in C'Sted are closed on Sundays. Went through the rainforest to Cane Bay, down through town, out to the east end. Had lunch and beach time at the Divi. Hit KMart for some aloe and then off to Sandy Point. It is amazing. It is only open in the winter due to turtle nesting, open from 10-4 on weekends. Rent a car and go. No facilities, gorgeous unruined beach. Back to the ship by 430.
Day #2 in St. Kitts: Walked around port and did some jewelry browsing, there are definitely some good deals to be had!! Lots of locals charging for pictures with their monkeys. They are cute. Give them 5 bucks for a few pics. Took a taxi from "Sam the Man" to Cockleshell Beach. Food and drinks there were good, average price. Chairs $5 each in the sun or shade. Go in the shade a save a few bucks on an umbrella. Water was warm and calm. Beautiful views to Nevis. Left the beach at 3, back to port, little more shopping and back on the ship.
Day #3 in Dominica: This was my least favorite. Stayed on the ship til lunch time due to clouds and sprinkles. As soon as you get off beware the hungry taxi drivers. Take one from inside the gated area. They have local vendors set up but they all have the SAME souveniers. Went to Mero Beach, about 1/2 hour taxi ride. Black sand beach, it was cool, not overcrowded, water was warm but kind of rough for me. Not much for food/drink but there is some. Lots of locals walking trying to sell hand made jewelry, etc. Left there at 330 and went straight back to the ship.
Day #4 in Grenada: Loved this one! Got off the ship fairly early, and caught a water taxi to Grand Anse Beach, about a 5-10 min ride. $8 r/t. Tons of water taxis to leave whenever you want. Dropped you off on a dock at the beach. Beach rental was $20 for 2 chairs and umbrella (get the umbrella here!). I am a serious sunbather and was so happy with the umbrella that day! Water was close and calm. You could walk out quite far. Only downfall was the guys on the beach trying to get us to go out on his tube. $10pp for a 1 minute ride. They were very persistent. We finally gave one guys $5 to leave us alone. Food was not good. Lots of different people selling food and apparently all have different menus. Get a fresh coconut for $3 and drink the water. Delicious. Got back to the ship around 4, after a little shopping for spices in port. They smell delicious and I can't wait to cook with them!
Day #5 was the day at sea. Get out early for a good seat. We spend the morning in the shade because we were a little burnt, and the afternoon in the sun. A lot of people went in after lunch so more chairs opened up. Entertainment was OK. The band, Xtasea, was good, and loved the steel drums. My boyfriend likes to gamble so he did the poker tournament this day and won $250.
Day #6 in St. Thomas: Could possibly be my new favorite island! Docked at Havensight, walked around a bit before taking a taxi to Magens Bay. Shopping here was so-so. Taxi to Magens was $8pp each way, and $4 to get into the park. They had beach chair rentals and such. Food and drinks were good. Food a bit expensive. GORGEOUS beach and water. About 8 feet deep at the buoys. Left the beach around 3 and went back into Charlotte Amalie for some jewelry shopping. Got a few killer deals. Go to the Golden Star on Main St. Had to rush back to the ship this day, which I didn't like, but we made it and I got my jewelry! Sailaway this night was particularly beautiful.
Disembarkation was the worst part of the whole trip. Luggage had to be out at 11pm the night before. We were assigned a number and time based on our flight (which thankfully was not early). We were assigned 935am and didn't get off the ship til nearly 11am. They only had 2 officers doing Customs (which is not Celebrity's fault). The lines were so long. You pretty much had to wait inside until they called your number. Breakfast was available until 8am. Got our luggage, through Customs, and took a taxi to Old San Juan.
Taxi was about $18. Dropped off at Barrachina where they hold luggage. $5 charge is totally worth it! Had lunch here as well. DELICIOUS!!! I would venture to say it was better than the cruise food! This is the home of the Pina Colada, which were yummy. I had Mahi and my boyfriend had the local favorite of mofungo. Both were awesome. There was a resident macaw there as well, who is 18 years old! Left the restaurant and just walked around the city, down to the main cruise port, Senor Frogs, and then back up to El Morro. Left town at 330 and were at the airport by 4.
All in all a great experience and I can't wait to go again. May choose another ship/cruiseline as we are in our 20's and there was not much for nightlife. Then again, I was in bed right after dinner! Loved it!