This was my husband and I's third cruise (Second with RCCL) and my nine year old daughter and fourteen year old son's first cruise. It was during Spring Break. There were roughly 4100 people on board including 850 children.
Miami: We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Downtown a day before the cruise. We took a cab to South Beach for $21 one way. The public changing rooms/bathrooms on the beach were filthy! We ate lunch at Ocean's 10 located at 10th and Ocean. They had a few $5 appetizers and half price drinks. They also had a clean restroom with a restroom attendant.
Embarkation: We took a cab from the Marriott to the port for $5pp. We left the Marriott at 11:00am and were literally on the ship by 11:45am! It was a pleasant surprise at how quick and easy the embarkation process went. After looking around the Promenade a little, we headed to the Windjammer for lunch. We were allowed in our cabin at 1:00pm.
Cozumel: We took a cab to Paradise Beach for $12 one way for all 4 of us. For $9pp you can use the water trampoline, kayaks, iceberg, and floating mats. They would like you to spend a minimum of $10pp on food and drinks. They have chairs and umbrellas for free if you choose not to use the water activities, but the $10pp food and drink minimum would still apply. My daughter got a hair wrap for $10, my husband got a 30 minute massage for $25, and my son got a henna tattoo for $15 (which I didn't negotiate very well).
Grand Cayman: We walked right off the ship to Eden Rock. Here my son and husband scuba dived. My daughter and I snorkeled. We hung out here for a couple hours then went to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch and shopped for a while.
Jamaica: My son and husband went on the Canopy Tour. They really loved it. The last zip line was 280 feet in the air and 1000 feet long! This was book through the cruise ship. My daughter and I took a shuttle for $4pp one way to the City Center shopping area.
Labadee: My son and husband went on the waverunners and my daughter used the water slide for $20 for an all day pass. If you hate long lines, take off on one of the first tenders otherwise it will take 45 minutes to one hour to tender over. My son and husband tendered back around 3:00 and didn't have much of a wait. My daughter and I were on the last tender and there was a long wait.
Disembarkation: We had an 11:30am flight out of Miami. We kept our luggage and left our cabin at 7:45am. It took 33 minutes from the time we left our cabin until we were through customs. We were at the airport by 9:00am. Don't be afraid to book a flight out before noon.
What to Pack: When they say casual night for dinner, it is very casual. Jeans are o.k., capri pants and slacks for women, flip flops for all o.k., some men wore linen type shorts. On the last night, many wore shorts and jeans.
On Formal nights most men/young men wore suits and ties or sportcoats and ties. My son only wore a dress shirt and slacks and no tie. I thought the second formal night people would not dress up as much as the first, but people seemed even more dressy this night.
Tennis shoes and socks would be a good idea. To climb the rock wall socks are required. Long pants and socks are required to ice skate. To participate in the Ultimate Race tennis shoes are needed. Also, the basketball court requires closed toe shoes. If you have kids in Adventure Ocean some games required closed toe shoes.
Two way radios with 5 mile or better capability worked pretty well. If you were in a stateroom and wanted to talk to someone on deck, the connection was better if you went into the hall. The connection in the Arcadia Theater and Studio B was bad. If my daughter would hit the call button to ring the radio we were able to communicate most of the time. Be sure to pack extra batteries.
We brought our own scuba/snorkeling gear, but we only used it once. I think it would have been a lot easier to rent gear!
A night light, a clock, and a multi plug adapter are highly recommended! We also brought an over the door shoe organizer that I purchased at Dollar Tree that was very helpful in organizing hair brushes, hair spray, aloe, etc. To hang the shoe organizer I used a wreath hanger to hang on the bathroom door because the shoe organizer hanger was too round.
Favorite parts of the ship/things to do: Flowrider; Solarium hot tubs; H20 Zone, Adventure Ocean for 9-11 year olds; the Promenade (Sorento's Pizza is much better than the Windjammer pizza); Portofinos is well worth the extra cost the tenderloin is out of this world and the flourless chocolate cake is wonderful; Love and Marriage Game Show; Once Upon a Time production; Rondell Sheridan's comedy; The Quest; 80's Party; Don't miss the Ice Show; the Magic Show wasn't bad
FYI: If you give your children charging privileges on their sea pass card, he/she can go crazy in the Arcade so be forewarned.
If your children stay in Adventure Ocean past 10:00pm there is $5 per hour charge until 1:00am.
This was a fabulous ship. I was ready to book Liberty of the Seas for Spring Break 2008!