We arrived in Miami on Jan 13th - the night before our departure. Since we were flying out of Minneapolis I wanted to be sure that we did not have any weather related problems (SNOW!). This turned out to be a great decision as MPLS received 1.5 feet of snow Sunday morning.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn International by the airport. Reasonable pricing and they had a shuttle picking us up at the airport and then free transfer to the port on Sunday morning. Great service!
DAY 1 - We arrived at the port early - 10:00 and were not able to board until after 12:30 - we were the second people to go through security. Had lunch in the Windjammer by 1:00 and were in our stateroom by 2:00. Our room was on deck 6 category E2 hump cabin. We loved the location and the room! Also had 2 additional interior cabins for the teens - quads. They felt they had enough room for them. THey were rarely in there.
DAY2 - Sea day... rested by the pool, watched the 4 teens play dodgeball, rock climb - etc. Fun day at sea. Great entertainment.
DAY 3 - Raining in Belize. Not a problem thou. We booked cave tubing with cave-tubing.com. Awesome experience and great outfit to book with. THey kept us entertained all day.
Day 4 Costa Maya. I had read on the boards that you can take a cab to town and enjoy the real Mexico beaches outside of the cruise pier. Boy we were glad we did! We went Cats Meow - wonderful service, food, location and all around a super deal! Definitely recommend this beach stop.
Day 5 Cozumel - shopping day! Hubby negotiated a great deal for a necklace and earrings - what a guy!
Day 6 - Grand Cayman. We booked prior to arrive the Buccaneer Stingray and Snorkel. What a wonderful relaxing day. This excursion was $39. Significantly less than the ships and we had a much longer trip. The boat and crew were outstanding. My daughter had one of the guides holding and kissing stingrays for a good half hour. She will always remember this stop as her favorite!
Day 7 - Day at sea - much cooler weather as we were headed home.
The Explorer. I though the crew was very helpful and courteous. The activities director Allen was very much a comedian! We thought the entertainment (production shows) were not as good as previous cruises but not really that bad either. The singing/acoustic guitar player (Dean Gray??) in the pub was truly outstanding.
Our stateroom attendant Dwight was always attentive and got us anything we needed.
Our dining staff of Rufesh and Fredika were wonderful. We had 29 lobsters at our table of 11 on lobster night!!! These 2 servers were top notch. Nightly they had my coffee ready after dinner and our drinks and wine memorized by the second night. We sailed with 5 teens (15-20) and they were always joking with them each night.
RCL is my favorite cruise line - we always walk away with wonderful memories and look forward to sailing again!