So let's start this off by saying that I have NEVER cruised before. I went on this cruise with my father, so I'm 17 and he's in his 50's. He has cruised before. This exceeded our expectations many, many times.
Because I'm overly cautious, I had us fly in three days before the cruise so we could explore the city. We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale, which was wonderful although we didn't see anyone who would be cruising with us. After three relaxing days at the spa and on the beach, we went back to the airport to get a transfer to the port.
Even though we were offered several times to use Royal Caribbean's transfer service, we didn't as we used an outside source to take us to and from the port (FTL-Limo), which was nice and private. Getting to the port was a bit hard when they are trying to get 6000 people to the port and 6000 people away from the port. We entered the suite entrance around 11:30. The process of checking in was relatively quick, although the agents checking you in never really seemed to be crunched for time.
As soon as we got our gold seapass cards, we were allowed to board priority. This might have been around 12. The gangway put us in the middle of Central Park and being pretty sneaky, we immediately went to see if our cabin was available. We had a crown loft suite, on deck 17. It was open! So we went in and unpacked our carry on luggage, which wasn't too much, but it made it much nicer to be able to not have to carry our luggage everywhere for another two hours.
We toured several bars and the ship as a whole on the first day and I decided that my favorite place was the Suite Sky Bar, which is forward deck 17. The bartender is Leo and you can't go wrong with him. Ever. We didn't try all of the restaurants, but we loved 150 Central Park, Chops Grille and all of the specialty restaurants. While we had two formal nights, most of the people who dined were dressed nicely so it wasn't an issue.
All of the ports were nice. Labadee is a private resort so it was extremely excluded from the rest of Haiti. We booked Cabana OW2, which was calm and Mark was nice (our cabana attendant). The lunch provided to us was very american and delicious and the golf cart was a quick way to get us around the resort. Be warned that the artisan market employees are extremely desperate to make a sale and they all sell the same goods. Only a few of them accept credit cards though so don't be afraid to say no or don't respond.
Next was Jamaica. We did the Dunns River Falls and Green Grotto Caves. Our tour attendants were very informative and the caves were really cool to see. The falls is a (in my opinion) a tourist destination as it's extremely crowded when cruise ships are present. Just make sure you stay on ships time since often times Jamaica will be an hour later of the ship.
Finally we have Cozumel. We booked the Coba Ruins Tour. Just know that you have to take a ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen, which is where most of the tours are based out of. The tour was really quite nice and they added the nice touch of having lunch in a caverns and then being given the opportunity to tour those caverns. The tour didn't allot much time to buy stuff in port, although we stopped at a local market on the way to the ruins so we got our souvenirs from Mexico.
We never got to go see Blue Planet! (Or chicago). The comedy show was really good and we watched Ocean Aria from our balcony. The entertainment for the cruise was really cool and funny, with the sexiest man competition and belly flopping competition being just plain odd, which really made the cruise unique.
Being in a suite, we used the Concierge Lounge a lot (Deck 11), with our concierge being Fernando. He really is a life saver. We contacted him 6 months before our cruise and began to plan everything from the cabana to egg crate mattress toppers to getting additional room keys made for us. They will go leaps and bounds for whatever you need, if you ask.
There were three at-sea days. The first was the day after embarkation, when we did nothing but eat food and watch the water go by. The second at-sea day we did the All Access Tour, which was phenomenal to see how everything works in such a massive ship. The final at sea day was spent with our friends and packing.
When the day came to leave the ship, it was really quick but depressing at the same time since you get used to your de-facto home for a week. We had breakfast in the Concierge Lounge and was scheduled to get out in Group 11 which was around 7:45. We got off the boat earlier than that (7:30) but customs didn't open until 8am so we were in a line for a while. Once customs opened, we got our luggage and went through customs and just like that, we were out of the cruise terminal. Once again, we had FTL Limo transport us back to the airport and just like that, it was over.
For me, it was an amazing first time cruise. From the people I met to the places I went (on ship and off), this cruise really made my spring break exceptional (considering I come from a place of snow, snow and snow).
Tourist Destination. Very crowded and not all that impressive IMHO. OK at best.
Tour guide and tour was surreal and hilarious. Not very crowded so it was very close and personable. Loved it!
We got OW2, an overwater cabana in Barefoot Beach. The location was awesome as were the amenities (Golf Cart, BBQ Buffet, Private Beach, etc.) Be warned, the locals are desperate to make a buck at the artisan markets and all of the stuff is the same.