Profile: Sail Date 04/06/2014 Self (43) Hubby(52) Friends (52) Previous lines, Premier, Carnival, Royal Carib.
Cabin... Owners suite #10006 and friends had balcony #10008
Concierge was John, Butler was Akhmed and Steward was Chris.
We arrived in Tampa on Sat and went to the Airport to pick up our friends who arrived from Nashville. We booked a room at the Intercontintal. The room cost about $135 each. They have a park and cruise package but we opted to park at the port. I just like having my car accessible. There is a nice mall across the street from the hotel with lots of dining options.
We took our time getting to the ship and arrived around 1pm. We dropped our car off with Valet and a porter took all our luggage. Since we had to go through the VIP line, we left our friends. It was VERY fast. After showing our passports we were escorted to the Concierge area that had refreshments and snacks. We were met and given a small speech on what to expect by our Concierge John and then giving cards to fill out and instructed to pick out three bottles of liquor for our cabin. I picked, Bacardi Rum, Smirnoff Vodka and a bottle of Kahlua. We were then escorted to our Cabin.
Our cabin was very nice... a little bit dated and you could see some wear and tear but honestly, it did not bother me at all. We had a large area that had a king size bed, a forward balcony that is right under the bridge and right next to the bed, a very large his and hers walk in closet with a vanity area and a bathroom that was so large it made me want new ones in my own home. The Bathroom had a whirlpool tub with a small flat screen tv above it, a double vanity sink, a separate toilet closet and a fairly large shower stall with multiple shower heads. LOVED THAT SHOWER! Outside our bedroom area(with sliding doors and curtains that closed it off from the rest of the cabin) was our livingroom/dining area. We spent quite a bit of time there. In that area, was another large balcony, a guest bathroom, a small mini bar with a fridge and coffee machine and a larger flat screen tv. There was a lounger, a chair with an ottoman and a large couch. There was also a dining table for four. On the side of the couch was an adjoining door to our friends cabin which we had our butler keep unlocked. It was almost like having a two bedroom cabin that way. We spent a lot of time with our friends in the living room area and they got to enjoy our balcony's as well as their own.
It took our friends only about 20 minutes to get to their cabin after we got to ours.
It did not take long for our booze to arrive in the cabin and we also got a welcome treat of chocolate covered strawberries. We decided to stay in our cabin for the sail away but first we had to go to the muster drill. That was around 4pm. Whats different about this ship is that you get to leave your life vest in your cabin and you go to the very large auditorium they use for shows. They tell you where to sit according to your cabin location and you just watch them demonstrate and talk about what you will do in case of emergency. Honestly, I got nothing from it and was a bit confused. Guess I would go down with the ship...LOL.
We went back to our cabin for the sail-away, made some drinks and went to the forward deck of our cabin. This had two loungers on it and a small table. It was the PERFECT location because you are on the very front corner right under the bridge. One thing you HAVE to experience is going under the Tampa Bay bridge. I forget what its called but its a great experience. We took tons of photos.
By the time we did that, our luggage had arrived and we unpacked. There is TONS of space and storage in this cabin. I used one of the HUGE drawers in the vanity for our dirty s. I sprayed it with lysol before we left the trip.
Now I am going to describe some of our experiences.
Dining... We did not go to the Main Dining room AT ALL! We opted for the Ultimate dining package for $119 per person and got to go to ALL of the specialty dining options. We did try them all...
I have to say that the food in all of these were good.. not great! I honestly think Royal Carib does the food so much better! Out of all of them my fave was either the Italian or the French. Cagneys was OK.. We ate in Bamboo twice and I had the sushi both times. I have had better back home. We also ate a couple times in the Garden Cafe for Breakfast and lunch. Breakfast is typical for a buffet but we never had a problem finding a table. On port days we ate breakfast in our room. On port days we had lunch in the ports of calls that we went to. On the last sea day we had the Pool side BBQ. That was HORRIBLE and DO NOT try the cold potato salad that sits in the sun.
First Sea day... I spend it sitting out by the pool. I did not feel it was that hard for us to get a couple chairs as long as we sat on one of the top decks above the pool. I drank way to much this day and had to take a nap...LOL..
Day 2: Rotaan Honduras... we did not get to go to this port of call.. the day before a crew member from the NCL Pearl was shot and killed. NCL decided that all ships would skip this port. We were a little upset by this. We had an excursion booked and was really looking forward to it. They had already caught the shooter and to us, it just felt like all NCL was doing was punishing the people of Honduras who rely on tourism for a living. Plus, No other cruise lines were skipping this Port. Maybe they should have skipped taking us back to Tampa also because people are shot and killed there EVERY DAY! We ended up having ANOTHER Sea day.
Day 3. Belize... We booked the Cave Tubing/Zip Lining excursion through the ship on this port. You hope on an old school bus with your guide and drive about an hour and 20 minutes to the Jungle. Great excursion! The water in the caves were cool but perfect, the caves were amazing and the zip lining is not for the faint of heart. If you have a hard time walking stairs.. do not do this! They ended the excursion with an amazing lunch of authentic Mayan food. Our guide gave us so many details of his country and if you do this tour, I recommend you ask for him.. His name is Stanford. The tour is called Chuuka or something like that but its the only excursion called CRYSTAL cave tube and zipline. There are others similar on the NCL website but do not confuse them.. they are different.
Day 4. Costa Maya... We booked our OWN excursion on this Island called Maya Chan. You can google it. Its AMAZING. Its an all inclusive beach that includes all the food and booze you want, beach chairs, umbrellas, hammocks and beach beds. We also got to try Kayaking on this Island. The place is owned by a couple and they are VERY generous and so much fun. They have a large staff and keep the place extremely clean and even rake the beach every day and all day. I could have stayed at this beach for days.
Day 5. Cozumel... This excursion we have booked before and I would probably book it every time we go there. Its very much like Maya Chan and called Nachi Cocum. You have to book this one also on your own. Its a little more resort like and not as rustic as Maya Chan but the food is fantastic, the booze keeps flowing and you get all the amenities you could want. The big difference it that you have to pay for all the water stuff where on Maya Chan they just let you use it all. They also have a swim up fresh water pool and hot tub at this place. They offer beach side massages at both places and I got one at Maya Chan.
Day 6. Sea Day. This day we just lounged around on our own balcony's and walked around the ship a bit looking at our photos and people watching. We did go to the pool side BBQ and tried it, but I would not do that again... food was HORRIBLE and I am not sure but I think I got food poising either from that or the Garden Cafe that night.
Day 6.. Medic.. this was the first time I have ever had to use the Medic on the ship. Around midnight everything started flowing out of both ends and would not stop. I had some zofran pills that I had brought on board but I think I threw them up also. Around 1am I called the ships doctor and they said that he was asleep but the nurse would meet me in the medical office on deck 4 for a charge of $148.00. They were going to send a wheel chair but I told them I could walk. Hubby took me down and I have to say.. the nurse on that ship was so nice. She took my vitals and they were fine. The doctor then came down and he was very nice but I could not understand a word he was staying. He had a very thick accent. They have me a shot of zofran in the bootie and some anti diarrhea medicine and sent me to my cabin. I guess they told my husband that I would have to be quarantined to my cabin for now on because he thought I had the Noro Virus... They also did not charge me because they thought it was the Noro. Honestly, I think it was the food on the last day. I was not that worried about being quarantined because it was 2am by the time I got to my cabin and the next morning we were back in Tampa.
Tampa.. Because we were considered VIP.. we got escorted off by our Conciser John. Let me tell you.. It was FAST! We got to our meeting place at the Spinnaker Lounge and he took us down a private elevator and we were at Customs. We had a separate line for customs and I do not think that the Customs guy even looked at our paper. Since we did the valet service, our truck was already outside and waiting for us. We found a porter (or he found us) and we were back on the road in about 20 minutes from ship to luggage.
Shows: We only went to two shows and both were really good. We saw the Comedian Tim Kaminski and he was funny and we went to Bollywood and that was AMAZING!
Casino: Hubby went there quite a bit and did OK.. he lost but got some of it back. Kinda smokey but it didn't bother him.
Crew... I HIGHLY recommend John. I have heard things on these boards about the Conciser not doing much and not worth the extra tip but we had the opposite experience. It seems like John was everywhere on that ship and ALWAYS wanting to help us with something. He also have our friends the VIP treatment even though they were in a regular balcony next to us. They even got to dis embark the ship with us and given priority luggage tags which was great since we were taking them back to the airport. Tipped him $150.00
Buter.. Honestly, this is where I kinda think its a waste. Ours was nice but we did not see him much. He brought us Ice every day and a snack but that's about the extent of it. He might have also brought us soda refills for our cabin but we never saw him. Tipped him $150.00
Cabin Steward: Chris.. This guy worked his butt off! He was always so nice and ALWAYS had a huge smile on his face. He remembered our names from the very first day. We honestly wanted to tip him the most but we gave him an extra $100.