We got to the ship at about 10.20am, I had early boarding as I had sprained my ankle pretty badly so was in a wheelchair. Checking in was easy as I had done all the required online check in stuff. Staff were very friendly at Port Canaveral terminal, room you wait in was nicely air conditioned.
By about 10.45am we were going on board, (me plus 4 friends who also had priority boarding). Got on board & went straight to Excursions Desk to put our names on list for cabana for Coco Cay, but that did not open until 11.45am. So went to Guest Services to sort out our cabins. Me & another guest had to switch cabins! Pretty big mix up.
Guest services were very quick, pleasant to deal with & sorted out our problem efficiently.
Got the drink of the day to start our vacation off right. A mai tai in a tall plastic glass which was really good!
Then we went back to Excursions to wait on line, 3rd on the line & yes, the 2 parties in front of us were booking cabanas also! We put our name down when it opened up & were told we had to come back for 5pm to see if our name was called & if so we could choose our cabana then.
Off then to Spa to book an up-do for Saturday formal, for 4.30pm, so got that booked. Then had lunch at the Park Café (in the solarium) together. I had the create your own salad & it was so good! Loved the Solarium, it was our hidden gem! Was peaceful, quiet, not crowded & not too hot either (heard other complaints about it being hot in here, not what we found).
Around 1.30pm we went to check out cabins. Didn't have our luggage yet, but did have our cabins open, so dropped off the hand luggage.
I had an oceanview cabin 2088 (category I) & although small was adequate. Only major complaint was that the bathroom was super small & shower had a curtain, which I hate! Friend was on the same deck, same category but had a door to her shower, which was much nicer! Got my soda cup for the unlimited soda drinks.
Participated in the muster drill at 3.45pm, which was easy & not too long. Was interested to see you don't have to wear lifejackets now. Always had to do that on other cruise lines. Kind of good & bad to that. Good is that nobody is stepping onto the straps that seem to trail on the ground so not tripping people up. Bad is that I think it is still important to see how to actually get the life jacket on yourself (yes they do show you, but not the same as putting it on yourself).
Participated in the spa raffle/giveaway but didn't win. Then at 4.45pm got to the excursion desk to see if we got our cabana. We did! My friend really wanted the beach view, rather than the view over the rocks, so we chose Cabana number 1.
Then right after that we met up with my group of friends (there were 7 of us) & got a group photo taken on the stairs.
Then time to go get changed for dinner!
We had 6pm seating time at Deck 4. Two big tables next to each other 148 and 150 with our waiter Yogesh. He was great! I think I had scallops for my starter, cannot remember my main course or dessert, but it was all great, I remember that!
Went to the Welcome Aboard show & compared to other cruise lines I have travelled with (HAL, CCL & Norwegian), I was a wee bit disappointed. Just a very tiny bit of singing/dancing, one short comedy act & then the rest was the cruise director (John Blair) doing/saying things to get the crowd involved. Just would have liked more singing/dancing, but more info about the ship, activities coming up etc. But friends that were first timers enjoyed it!
Signed up for the slot tournament & I think I did bingo the first night too? Did the machine where you pay around $30 for 24 cards to play one game. Not bad I thought. But didn't win! I did got check out Cool Cash Colin's balls though & got a free drink of the day out of it. LOL
Played at the casino a little bit that night I think too.
SATURDAY was Nassau. Went for breakfast in the Windjammer. I went around 7.30am & had no problem finding a window table. I had a lovely prepared ham & cheese omelet, turkey sausage & some bacon. Turkey sausage was a bit dry & a little bit spicy I thought. But I do like mild non-spicy food.
I went on land at Nassau but not for long. Done it many times, so just went to the local supermarket for some groceries (British foods that I miss from back home in England!), Tortuga for some rum cake for the husband & then Del Sol for shirts for my 2 girls (and color changing nail varnish). I did have to wait to get on board the ship as people were still coming off. Waited only about 10-15 mins though & then could go back on board. Took a nap in the afternoon & rested my ankle (as it was badly swollen by this point!).
Got changed into my formal dress then limped up to the spa for my up-do. My foot was pretty badly swollen still, could just about slip on my shoe for formal night on that foot! Can't remember who did my hair at the spa, but she was a girl from South Africa & she was lovely. She did such a nice job & even put on some special soothing gel that reduces swelling on my leg, ankle & foot too. So sweet of her!
Then headed to our formal dinner. I had lobster bisque, again cannot remember my entrée or dessert though. lol But it was all good again!
After dinner I went to bed pretty early, did not stay up to watch any shows.
My friends went to the Quest show & said it was hilarious! One of the friend's husbands even participated a bit & got 2nd place. LOL
SUNDAY was CocoCay. I got up around 7.30am, went to the Park Café & had a lovely breakfast of lightly toasted bagel with salmon cream cheese with smoked salmon on top. Divine! Plus again so peaceful in there! We were anchored by about 7.45am & they started tendering passengers ashore. I left around 8.15am, walked straight onto a tender & then once ashore I went straight to the cabana area.
Cabana area was nice, number 1 is right next to the entrance to the Oasis (private cabana area) so good & bad to that. Easy to go in & out of the area, but you had people coming & going right next to your cabana, most of the day. Private bathroom right there, nice big bar right there. Did not have any waiters coming around offering drinks to us, but bar was literally about 12 steps away! Linda checked me in & saw me to the cabana. Had a bottle of champagne on ice, 4 bottles of water & a small fruit plate. My 5 other friends arrived before lunch too. Yes, they advertise 4 per cabana online, but at the excursion desk they told us 6 to a cabana.
Went for a walk & got my hair braided. Half head with beads was $50, so gave her $60. Kind of pricey compared to getting hair braided in Nassau, so recommend getting it done there. I think I have paid $40 in the past in Nassau.
Lunch was 11.30-1.30am & again, was a private BBQ area, about 30ft away from us, right behind the bar! Got a hot dog which was good, corn on the cob which was good, jerk chicken (waaaay too spicy for most of us!!!) & another fruit plate.
Also got a Coco Loco drink from the bar, which was very good & served in a reusable plastic cup with straw.
Headed back on a tender around 2.45pm. We had had to wait about 10 mins for a tender, so not too bad, but they packed us in so it was completely full! Had to do a lap around the ship when we got back as there was already a tender unloading.
Went to the slot tournament at 4pm, I didn't win, but one of my friends got 2nd place. There wasn't a lot of people competing, it was $25 to enter & I think the 1st prize winner got $140, plus a t-shirt etc.
Ran to bingo & lost there. Then got ready for our last dinner night. Dinner was good, I think I had steak (filet piece) & dessert was the bread & butter pudding (very good) & also tiramisu (pretty good)... yes, I couldn't decide so got both!
Then went to the farewell show together with friends. That was good, singers & dancers doing screen to show special. So lots of singing & dancing. They performers were great, but choices of songs & choices of shows were a little bizarre, lots of psychedelic songs/backdrops which I had no idea what shows they were??! Then staff/crew came on stage at the end which was nice!
Back to cabin to pack & put my suitcase out for disembarking.
Went to casino & spent too much there, but then I did hit for $1000 on Wheel of Fortune ($1 machine), I was playing with $20 on that machine, so was very happy. Stayed up late gambling & then went for late night snack at the Park Café with friends. I had the cheese pizza which was really good & they had nachos with chili & queso sauce which looked sooo good too! Then bed!
I was up at 7am, so got ready & went to Dining Room on deck 4 for breakfast at around 7.45am. Had 2 eggs over easy with bacon. Really good. I asked for table for one & they seated me at a large table with 6 other people, which was actually really nice. Love to chat to other people, so was good.
Disembarking was very organized, you had set areas where you wait for your number to be called. I was waiting on deck 6 I think, in the centrum area for a wheelchair. Was off the cruise ship pretty early (soon after they called luggage tags 4). Found my bag on the carousel, cleared customs, then took my shuttle off to the hotel again!
All in all a great cruise! Would I cruise with RCI again? Yes! Would I recommend them? I guess so, but preferred HAL or CCL actually.
Minor things we didn't like:
Not able to use your sea pass card in casino & charge it to your room (had never not been able to do that before, always did that on other cruise lines!).
Casino was not open 24hrs. I understand being closed when in certain ports or by the USA. But when out at sea?
No room service on last morning? There was no note or announcement about this. My friend who was in a junior suite, put the room service card on her door the night before asking for 7-7.30am drop off. 7.40am she looks outside & cabin steward comments that there is no room service on the last day! He could have knocked & told them & they really should have made an announcement or noted that in the paper the day before. Again have ordered room service on other cruise lines on that last morning & no problem.
Windjammer was not open 24 hours or for late morning, late afternoon or late night snacks. Used to there being a bigger buffet area open 24hrs.
No fan in the cabana. It got a little warm, even in the shade of the cabana on Coco Cay & we said a ceiling fan would have been great. Have even had misting fans in other cabanas, with other cruise lines.
Did not see anyone vacuuming carpets on the final morning or cleaning public areas. Always used to seeing them vacuuming, dusting etc on the last night & early morning & just didn't see me, so made me wonder how thoroughly they clean the ship.
Friend's cabin was not cleaned! She found an opened bag of Cheetos in her room, jewelry box next to the safe. So obviously the room was not cleaned thoroughly. Bit worrying & wondered if they even bothered to do the sheets!
Cabin steward did not greet us by name. A little peeve of mine, but nonetheless I always make a point of greeting the cabin steward, introducing ourselves to them. Then normally greeted by "Hello Miss Sharon, or by Miss 'last name', how was your day?!" Did not receive any chat from our room steward unless I said hello to him & then I got a hello back.
Overall, just little things wrong. I would go with RCI again, but just not in a hurry. But the company I was on the cruise with, was what made it. Had a great time with them!