This was an unusual cruise situation beginning with Royal Caribbean telling passengers that thier cruise would not begin on Sunday, but on Tuesday and our cruise would be cut short to five days from seven. The reason? Noroviris! My husband and neice and nephew were supposed to sail Dec 10 but left on Dec 12 after the CDC recommended a thorough sanitization of the ship. I have to give Royal Caribbean credit for the way it was handled. We only found out when we arrived at the Port of Miami on Sunday morning because that's when the decision was made to delay the sailing due to approx 70 passengers getting sick on the previous cruise. RC offered hotel rooms, transportation, a 50% discount on this cruise and a 50% discount on a future cruise plus a $250.00 credit per person on our sail pass which I found to be more than generous! Because of all this, it seems everyone was happy. So now to the details of the cruise.
THE SHIP; One word--CLEAN! This had to be the cleanest ship on the planet after the two-day scrubdown! Everyone had to sanitize thier hands before getting on the ship and in and out of the dining room and so on!
STATEROOM. We had a balcony statroom on deck 10 towards the back of the ship. I loved my stateroom! It was roomy, clean and had a spacious balcony. We had a flat screen TV and the bed was very comfortable. Next time though I think I'll get a room more towards the middle so as to not be so far from the elevator. The halls are LONG!
FOOD: I had rooms service twice and it came exactly as I ordered it. The Windjammer Cafe on Deck 11 had a wide variety of choices--hot meals to fruits and veggies and desserts and great breakfasts where they would make omlets to order. There is no way you couldn't find something you like. No longer do you help yourself. Because of health concerns, now the staff serve you as you go through the line. The dining room food was excellent every day. The service was very good. I'm trying to find something to complain about but there isn't anything! Sorentos pizza on Deck 5, the Promenade was great! And free! There is always something to eat even late at night. If you want Ben and Jerry's ice cream, plan to shell out $5.50 for a small sundae. The ice cream isn't free.
JOHNNY ROCKETS. we went there one night just to try it out. there is a charge to eat there. Shakes are 5 bucks. I liked the food and would go there again next time.
ICE SKATING. This was fun. YOu have to sign a waver, then put on your skates and go! My feet got tired after 10 minutes but even though I'm not a kid anymore managed to do a few slow twirls! Surprisingly, it wasn't crowded. I didn't see the show.
CASINO: I entered the slot tournament but didn't win. The casino has a good variety of slot machines and tables. I ended up ahead at the end of the week!
WAVE POOL: I watched as cruisers surfed and boogie boarded. I saw some as old as 70 and young as 9. You have to sign up ahead and sign a waver. Music plays as you surf in front of the crowd. There were two staffers who gave instructions to those who needed it. Only one at a time allowed. It was fun to watch.
SHOWS: I saw only one show and it was spectacular.
GYM: My husband and I spent lots of time there at night. The gym is state of the art and has lots of machines. Bring a headset if you have one because the machines have thier own TV's but you have to supply your own headset or buy one for $7.00. It was never crowded. I guess everyone was busy eating.
PORTS OF CALL: Due to our shortened cruise, we missed The Caymens and Cozumel.
Jamaica: We took the horsback riding excursion. After getting on a bus, we took a 30 min drive to the stables. We rode up a mountain and then changed horses and went into the ocean . I was in the front of the line in the ocean along with the guide and it's a good thing. Horses leave a gift when they swim in the ocean and the guy in the back wasn't too happy.
HAITI--I've been to many islands, but this was the most beautiful place I've ever seen including Tahiti and St Lucia! Labadie is so scenic and RC has done a spectacular job with the land they leased. It's immaculate with hammocks, lounge chairs, bars, and the barbeque was so good! The beaches were amazing! Our ship anchored offshore and we tendered in. We took the wave runner excursion. It's a good idea to take the early excursion (9am) as you get off the ship first. Also with the 9am excursion, the second person rides free on the back. The RC guide takes you in single file on a whirlwind FAST ride with several stops in the water. On one stop, native Hatians came to our waverunners on thier canoes to sell thier crafts. I absolutely loved Labadie and would go back in a second! One more thing. DON'T go to Labadie without closed toe watershoes or sandals! There is coral rocks here and there in the sand and the coral is the same color as the sand. I stubbed my toe on the coral and it's still blue!