pre cruise stay: we stayed at the Lago Mar, which was the best pre cruise stay ever. true old fort lauderdale charm, great pool and public spaces, wonderful room right on the beach. you could walk to the end tof the beach to see the ships sail away, or wave from your balcony. best pre cruise stay ever. a hidden gem. good beach front and easy walk to other spots as well. great restaurant on site. great pool. great private beach. quiet area.
the embarkation: easy as always. we head over there about 11am, and get on board just in time for the mariner lunch. took maybe 30 minutes but we like to head to the room and leave whatever we brought on board.
the room: 5042. nice veranda. port side. good amount of space, good overhead cupboards with extra stowage space near the veranda. never really did fill all the spaces given and we moved in with a lot of stuff for two people for two weeks. comfy bed, and the pillows were amazing. always clean. ice bucket always full, and clean wine and champagne glasses always at the ready.
the ship: we love the art, the decore, the orchids, the gorgeous art on each deck as well as the awesome stuff in the silk den and outside. there was art by cristo, warhol, new york pop art and so many others too many to name. as well as historic tabeltop art and other historic things. the glass sculpture in the atrium was new yorks reflection in the water. wonderful. it changed colors. of course walking the observation deck is a great source of relaxation and exercise as well as a chance to see sea birds, the sunset, sunrise and see our fellow travelers. we love hot tubbing on the back deck. we love the library and exlorations cafe as well as the crows nest. we didnt get to go out on the bow to get our famed photo of the ship bell so we will have to sail this one another time for that.
the dining: mondo beyondo in the main dining room. naturally. tamarind was the shining star here. we of course had lunch at pinnacle (skipped dinner here this time as we ate at tamarind for dinner 4 times this 14 day sailing). had to have our Canaletto also. never a disappointment. only mention was that the menu repeated itself each week, so we did notice that, but we were able to chose a different thing on those repeat days . other than that, it was superb. and yes, we took pics of our food.
the gym: we didnt really gain weight, but this is mostly due to going to the gym for 45 minutes each day that we werent on an excursion. good equuipment. thank god for the tv mounts and music. bring earbuds. you will need them.
the excurions: we booked 7 snorkeling trips. we always book through the ship. it is always worth it. take an underwater camera. we snorkeled in cozumel, grand caymen, grand turk, half moon cay, key west and st thomas. so fun.
the staff: always hard working and gracous. always remember your name. they always have a good day and acknowledge you even when you know they must be dog tired.
the food: dont miss the eggs benedict station in the lido. breakfast is incredible. in the main dining is good too, but you can eat at the back deck by the sea on the lido for relaxation. lunch in main dining room is good, but this was a port intensive cruise so we had lunch on lido before or after excursions and headed out again. we liked sushi, asain, salads , panini, or heck it is all there, take your pick. sweet potato fries so yummy too.
the entertainment: comedian funny, piano guy okay. hal cats good to dance to pre dinner most of the time. as well as the jazz musicians. we missed the live music on the lido. the steel drum was good but hard to dance to if you know what i mean. the shows, we have seen so many times, tired from snorkeling all day, so, we didnt attend all, but do not miss the cooking demos. they are wonderful and you get recipes to take home to try. have tried a few already.
the ports: good port selections, as we listed on excursions above. we arent shoppers but we did buy a mask in key west and we usually visit the forts in san jaun. easy to walk to. we pretty much walk everywhere. the wather was fine and it keeps us moving, in shape.
disembarcation: sad to leave was all. it was fine. would like to be able to stretch that out for awhile honestly.
post cruise stay: we stayed at the Hilton Marina. what a mad house. our room wasnt ready for a long time. but in all fairness everyone was checking out when we were arriving on sunday. the pool and outside areas are the good things about this hotel. we have stayed at bahia mar and embassy suites on 17th street, and hilton fort lauderdale beach resort before,and those were good. so if we do this again, we will stay at the Lago Mar again.
overall, we are three star mariners in love with cruising and in love with each other in our 50's.. it is hard to dampen our day. any day on vacation is better than any day at work. we live in a beautiful area, so good thing, because that makes coming home as nice as leaving it.