My husband and I traveled alone for this cruise. We both teach, so with this cruise leaving the day after school got out, it was perfect for us to relax at the end of another year. We flew American Airlines direct to Miami (MIA), and when we arrived around 11:30, we took a cab to the port ($24). A few people were beginning to arrive when we got there, but dropping our locked bags (TSA locks) with the porters and tipping them went quickly and efficiently.
We had our FAST PASSES filled out, and our brand new passports were put to good use. We essentially walked straight through lines, never waiting longer than 5 minutes to give our credit card info, pick up our cabin keys, or take our embarkation picture. We were on board by a little after noon, and we were asked to give the stewards a little time to clean the rooms before attempting to enter our cabin. We went directly to find the maitre d' to have our seating arrangement changed to a 2 person table. He was accommodating, and changed it without the blink of an eye. We particularly enjoyed our personal table, with the personal service our waiter and drink service brought. Soon, we checked into our room, and it was spotless. The balcony was kept clean during our entire cruise.
We thoroughly enjoyed each of our ports: Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica. In Cozumel, we enjoyed shopping in town and walking around to see the sights. We ate lunch at Senor Frogs, and the waiters were very accommodating and fun. We left with balloon hats and fond memories.
In Grand Cayman, we took an excursion that was extremely enjoyable. We went to the turtle farm; we really liked getting to hold the smaller turtles. Our island tour also took us by "Hell," where we were informed of the history and allowed to take pictures. After weaving through the island a little more, we boarded a boat for Stingray City. This stop was so fun; we truly enjoyed swimming with, feeding, and taking pictures with the stingrays. We were given rum punch on the way back to the island, and when we returned, we had plenty of time to shop around and enjoy lunch at Margaritaville. The line to tender back to the ship was long, but with people in good spirits and the sun behind the clouds, we didn't mind.
In Jamaica, we took the “Bamboo Beach” excursion. The beach can actually be viewed from the ship, as it is only a few hundred feet from the pier. We were allowed several choices of chairs; some were directly in the sun, others were partially or completely under shade bungalows. Every twelve people had their own personal attendant who brought rum punch, tropical punch, or lemonade as often as you desired. They also brought fruit, cold pasta salad, and jerk chicken throughout the day. You could come and go as you pleased, playing in the sun and sand or entering the town marketplace to shop. There were massage services, souvenirs, hair braiding, and motorized sports for reasonable costs. Local dancers performed every few minutes, which was very enjoyable to watch.
On the ship, we ate breakfast a few times in the formal dining room, and we often usually ate dinner in the dining room. My husband and I are vegetarians, so before attending dinner, we checked the menu to see if there were offerings of interest to us; usually, there were plenty of choices. We also took advantage of the 24 hour pizzeria, room service, the grill (for fries), and the deli, all of which had vegetarian options. The food was excellent; we particularly enjoyed the array of desserts.
We used the fitness room several times, as it is part of our lifestyle. Their equipment is adequate for the ship size; we appreciated this.
We always enjoy the art auctions on board, but with the main auctioneer being sick this week, our art auctions left something to be desired. Enthusiasm was lacking, and at times, the art personnel seemed short and rude to those in attendance. By the last auction, few people bothered to show, as there were no informational services about individual artists and the atmosphere was somewhat cold.
Overall, the staff aboard the ship was upbeat, and we truly enjoyed this cruise.