February 2007 Destination:
Western Caribbean Embarkation:
We traveled with a group of 54 family members and friends aged 13 to 80. For many it was their first cruise, although I have cruised previously with RCCL. We traveled from Michigan, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Alberta to attend an onboard wedding. We met at the dock and were allowed an early embarkation (around 10:30 a.m.), which went quite smoothly considering that we were all herded in different directions. The wedding was at 1:00 p.m. and was followed by a private reception in the disco. This was the best service that we received the entire trip. The ship itself was O.K. definitely nothing spectacular. We found it very hard to find our way around and we also disappointed by the lack of deck space. Too many activities were planned indoors - what's the point of being indoors in the Caribbean? Our cabin was spacious and clean, beds were comfortable, our steward was courteous and did his job, but nothing more than that. Most of us were satisfied with the cabins assigned except my More
brother-in-law who had paid for a balcony cabin only to be in a cabin under a huge exhaust fan, which created so much noise the balcony, was unusable! His girlfriend complained to the purser immediately and was told it was the travel agents fault and they could not be moved because all cabins were filled. I personally think that booking 8 months early should have afforded them an acceptable room. By far the worst aspect of this cruise was the Lido deck buffets. The set up of the buffets was ridiculous with different foods at different stations and long lines at all of them, then yet another station for beverages. Finding a clean table was difficult and very seldom did a staff remove our used plates from the table. The food itself was hardly worth the wait in line, especially the dried out baguettes served daily. I made use of the pizza station often and my husband the deli that was somewhat better than the buffet food. We did enjoy the dining room food for dinner and our waiter Rex. Breakfast service in the dining room was better than the buffet but more than once was disorganized with regards to seating and receiving what you ordered. Our first port was Costa Maya, which did have some great shops but we headed to the beach in Mahajual. I had done a lot of research on the site and decided to go to the Cats Meow. Thanks to all who post on these boards we (about 30 of us) had an excellent day! Cabs there were $3 each and back $2 each. Service was friendly, drinks were awesome and the beach spectacular! Several people had 45-minute head to toe massages for only $20. One word of advice - be careful of the margaritas they are potent! Beer drinkers will be pleased to know the price was $10 for an ice-cold bucket of 6. Next port was Grand Cayman where we had booked online to visit Stingray City and snorkel with Soto Tours. The price for this adventure was $35 each. We had to wake up early to be certain to be on the 1st tenders - no problem. The Soto vans were on time picking us up at a parking lot down the road away from the port chaos and off we went. Carrie the driver was very informative about the island having grown up there. She explained the government, hurricane damages, etc. Everyone had a great time at Stingray City including my 80-year-old mother-in-law. Snorkeling was also awesome. Next we headed for Seven Mile Beach. The tour drivers had no problem dropping us off at Treasure Island Resort, which we were going to cut through to get to the beach. The bonus part of this was once we were at Treasure Island we didn't want to leave, so we spend the rest of the day there eating, drinking and swimming in the pool and under the waterfalls. The staff was warm and welcoming. Great day! Last port was Jamaica where we spend the day at Island Village, with Margaritaville as our meeting area. Another excellent day! We chose self-debarkation and were off the ship fairly quickly (except for the 15 minutes waiting for customs shift change). Took a cab to South Beach for 1 night and headed home. I think I've gone on long enough so in summary we did have an excellent vacation, however many in the group have sworn of cruising as a result of their experiences on this ship. As for the "Fun Ship" - they need to work on that! Less
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