Embarkation: My son, daughter-in-law, husband and I got to the pier at about 10:30, dropped our luggage with a porter and went to check in. The line looked really long but only took about 10 minutes to get through it. They let people that are platinum or gold Latitudes members or suite cruisers board first, then silver, bronze members, then everyone else. It was a little chaotic but manageable. We got on the ship, were greeted by some of the crew and the “Washy, Washy” ladies! They told us to go to the buffet on Deck 12 and that our rooms would be ready soon. We were in our seats with our food by 11:50! They announced that our rooms were ready at about 12:15. We had balcony rooms on the 9th floor. I was pleasantly surprised at the size. I expected it to be smaller. The balcony is small – 2 chairs and a small table – but I won’t cruise without a balcony again! There is plenty of room to put your clothes. We had 3 drawers and 4 big shelves along with a good amount of space to hang things. There are also a few cubbies that you can store things. The bathroom is small, especially the toilet area but you get used to it! At 3:15 we were called for the muster drill. There is a sign on your door that says where you need to go. It took about a half hour, not too bad! We roamed around the ship for a while to see where everything was. There are signs everywhere so it’s not hard to find your way. Our luggage came at two different times. The first bag arrived at about 4:30 and the second one at around 5:45 so don’t panic if your luggage doesn’t come at the same time! We were supposed to leave at 4:00 but were delayed because of Hurricane Arthur. The captain said we were going to have a rocky night which we did but it wasn’t horrible.
I love that when you enter any of the restaurants, your hands are squirted with hand sanitizer (washy, washy, happy, happy!) to avoid spreading germs. We didn’t eat at any of the specialty restaurants. We only ate at the Venetian for dinner one night. It took about 2 ½ hours for that dinner because the service was so slow. We ate at the Garden Café Buffet two nights and Aqua the rest of the time. Aqua was my favorite. It had basically the same menu as the Venetian but took a lot less time. We didn’t see lobster on the menu at all but there were enough other choices to keep us happy. The only night my husband and son wore long pants was the night we went to the Venetian and they could have worn shorts that night too but it was “Dress Up (or not)” night and we chose to dress up a little bit. They did wear polo shirts every night to dinner. Ladies can wear just about anything other than a bathing suit to dinner – skirts, dresses, capris, shorts, etc! A few days we had burgers or chicken sandwiches from Bimini which were very good. Lunch at the buffet is good with a lot of different choices from soup and sandwiches or burgers to hot entrees. We had lunch at the Blue Lagoon one day too and it was great. It’s a limited menu but the chicken wings and sandwiches were very good. We had breakfast most days at the buffet because there was a lot to choose from – omelets, waffles, French toast, bacon, sausage, cereal and anything else you can think of to have for breakfast. One morning we eat at the Venetian and it was good but again, it took a long time to be served. My only problem with the food is the amount of salt in it. I have issues with fluid retention and by the end of the cruise I was having a hard time walking because my feet were so swollen. Before we go again, I’ll check to see if there is anything I can do about that.
Entertainment was good. We saw the Band on the Run show which was really good. We missed the Luminescence show because of our 2 ½ hour dinner but heard it was very good. We also missed the magic show. The Second City Comedy Troupe was very funny. They did a skit about life on the Dawn that had everyone laughing! We played bingo one afternoon because the weather wasn’t great. We saw the Battle of the Sexes Show, the Marriage Game, and Second City Improv in the Spinnaker Lounge. They were good but very crowded. My favorite show was Elements. I was amazed at what they were able to do on stage (and above it) while the ship was rocking! We went to the White Hot Party which was fun to either join in or just watch. There were games and things to do around the pool just about every day. Getting chairs on the pool deck was an issue. If you didn’t get a chair by 9:00 at the latest, you didn’t get a chair. There were even people fighting over chairs one day. Even the places I had read would have chairs any time were full.
We were supposed to be in Bermuda at 11:00 am on Sunday but didn’t get there until 8:00 pm because of the storm. Some of the stores at the Dockyard stayed open until 9:30 or 10 for us which was nice of them. They usually close at 6 on Sundays. Bermuda is so beautiful. We bought two day bus passes on the ship before we got to Bermuda. They let you use any bus or ferry as many times as you like for the two days. We took the ferry to St. George and saw the Unfinished Church, Tobacco Bay and St. Catherine’s Beach. We were going to see Fort St. Catherine but decided not to. It was pretty hot and very humid and we walked instead of taking the mini-bus. We took the ferry back to the Dockyard, went to the Maritime Museum and then shopped around at the rest of the stores that weren’t open the night before. The best place, in my opinion, to get t-shirts and souvenirs is Davidson’s at the Clocktower Mall. Bermuda Fudge Company has amazing fudge. We tried mango thinking there was no way we’d like it and ended up buying some! We stopped to watch the glass blowers at Bermuda Glassworks. It’s amazing to see how a tube of glass can end up being a Bermuda long tail! It would probably be best to go there first thing in the morning though. It was very hot in there when we were there. The Bermuda Rum Cake Company is in the same building. If you like rum cake, you need to go there! They have samples you can try. To me, they were all good! When we were getting back on the ship, we were greeted by the “washy, washy, happy, happy” person and given a cold cloth and a cup of cold water. After being so hot and sweaty all day, it felt amazing! The second day we were in Bermuda we took the regular public bus to Horseshoe Bay. The bus was full from the people on the ship so it didn’t make any other stops. We walked down the very steep hill to the beach. We rented chairs for $32 but got $10 back when we turned them in. So far, this is my favorite place on Earth! I love the pink sand and the rocks, the small private beaches you can get to and the snorkeling near the rocks is great. I had read that there were lockers you could rent but that wasn’t true so don’t take anything of real value with you and leave it on the beach. We spent a few hours on the beach and then paid $2 each for a mini-bus ride to the top of the hill. It was the best $2 we spent all week! We took the public bus back to the Dockyard. We didn’t do the caves or anything else because we’ve done them a few times in the past. We didn’t leave Bermuda until the next morning at 6:00 instead of 5:30 that afternoon to give people enough time to do the things they wanted to do. Watching Bermuda fading away was sad but I’m pretty sure we will be going again next year!
I can’t say enough about the people that work on that ship. They were always friendly and willing to help in any way they could. A lot of them took the time to chat with us and we got to learn about where they come from. They all work extremely hard to make sure you are having a good time and that everything is the way you need it to be. There are always things that happen while on vacation but if you keep a positive attitude, you’ll have a great time!