15 July 07 (Sunday) This was our first cruise out of our home state NJ. What a joy to wake up, throw the suitcases in a limo and be to the pier within an hour. There was a long car line for drop off but other than that, check in went quickly and smoothly. We are Platinum members and used the designated check in area. There was no line and we were checked in less than 10 minutes and sitting in the Platinum/Diamond area. We boarded the bus to the Pier area at noon and were on the ship before 12:30. The first thing we did was go to the dining room to change our dining time from late to early seating. RCI was very accommodating and switched us without a hitch. From there we went to Spa to make appts. My daughter made an appt for a basic massage, more on that later. We went up to the Windjammer for lunch found a seat no problem and had lunch. The food was pretty much the same food as on all the ships, good but not great. After lunch I headed up on deck to enjoy the pool area while my daughter ran off to the teen club to try to make new friends. Let's say she had a large group of friends by the first night. Most of the passengers were from NJ/NY/CT/PA and MD area. I saw quite a few wedding parties on board also, getting married that day or in Bermuda. Lots and lots of large family groups traveling together to celebrate a birthday, anniversary etc. We left the Pier right on time. What an experience of going under the bridge....it appears like the tallest part of the ship won't make it. It does!
Our wait staff (Barry & Jodi) were absolutely wonderful. We are going to request them again on our Explorer cruise in March 08. We were at a table for 8, a family of 3 with a teenaged boy, retired couple and one lady traveling alone. All very nice people and all from NJ. After dinner I just explored the ship a little, browsing through the shops etc. Went to bed early.
16 July 07 (Monday, Sea Day) - Extremely windy (40 mi), couldn't sit on deck 12 without being blown away. I saw someone shake out their towel, when the wind carried it off and it the ships smokestack, then fly off. No bellyflop or poolside activities that day because of the weather. My daughter had her massage that afternoon. They had indicated it was 45 minutes when she made the appt but only ended up being 25 minutes. She was happy either way. Dinner was great in the dining room. I'm not that into food, so anything I try is usually good. Went to see the ice show that night. Starts out a little slow but got better with each act. Met some friends in the Cafe Promenade for drinks and conversation.
17 July 07 (Tuesday, Kings Wharf) - We opted to buy the bus pass and spend the day at Horseshoe Bay Beach, which is absolutely gorgeous. There's a direct bus, no stops just look for a bus called Special. The bus passes for the day were $18.00 for the 2 of us. The bus drops you off at the top of a hill and you have to walk down, not a bad walk at all. You can rent chairs and an umbrella. I highly recommend the umbrella as it was VERY hot on the beach. They do not take credit cards, only cash. Chairs and umbrellas are $10 each with a $5 deposit each, which is given back when you bring the items back with your receipt. Don't lose the receipt. HBB is huge with powder white sand, lot of space to sit, smaller coves to swim and for the adventurous types rock formations that you can climb and jump off into the blue ocean. We walked up and down the beach area. They have a concession stand with burgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, fries etc for about $5 each. I believe you can also rent snorkel equipment and boogieboards, we didn't do either, so I don't know the price. Try to get there early before noon time otherwise it's very crowded. We stayed for a few hours. There's man at the bottom of the hill that charges $1 each to bring you back up the hill, well worth it. We took the special back to the pier. My daughter shopped in the Glass Factory and said it was expensive.
That night was the Pier Festival that was supposedly not to be missed. I could have missed it. There was entertainment from the ship, ok and local vendors. Wow were they overpriced. Example: I priced a long beaded necklace, thank the ones we used to string as a kid. I thought $25 at the most, try $65! No thanks. I stayed about an hour and left. I went to production show which was the best I've seen yet on all our cruises. The performed songs from movies (Flashdance, Footloose, Saturday Night Fever). Not to be missed!
18 July 07 (Wednesday, Kings Wharf) - We took the local ferry into Hamilton for the day ($12 for both of us) to shop. Stores were nice and some pricey some not. My daughter bought little trinkets for her friends. I got a cute t-shirt and sweatshirt in the Flying Colors shop. I also found the fresh water pearl necklace I had been seeking, $30 not bad. We went back to the ship after a couple hours and had lunch at Johnny Rockets. The food was great better than our mall. Walked around the Promenade that night and enjoyed the music etc. Saw the second show with the RCI singers and dancers, another great show. The theme was music legends (Beatles, Jackson Family, Elton John).
19 July 07 (Thursday, Sea Day) - Opted to avoid the busy Windjammer and had room service. Way too crowded in the Windjammer this cruise. Never could find a seat and too many people running all around. Another windy day at sea and a bit rainy at first. It cleared up in the afternoon and they finally had the belly flop contest on the pool deck. Lot of sales going on in the Promenade. We packed in the afternoon, I went to the gym and then dressed for dinner. Again our wait staff was excellent! Saw the goodbye show, the comedian was very good, sorry can't remember his name. I didn't like the contortionists or whatever they were called. Would have rather heard more from the RCI singers and dancers. This was the first day that I actually saw the CD, Allan Brooks out among the people. He was playing dodgeball. He was good at the shows but never saw him around the ship otherwise.
20 July 07 (Friday) - We were up and out of our cabin before 8am. Couldn't get into the breakfast in the main dining room, line wrapped around the promenade area. Decided to go to the Platinum waiting area. They had pastries, juice and coffee, not crowded at all. We were off the ship by 10:15 and home by 11:30.
Overall great cruise, loved Bermuda, the RCI staff, entertainment, food and activities. I doubt I will cruise again in July, way too crowded for me. Looking forward to being on the Explorer in March 08 for a different perspective. We are in a JS this time instead of an inside cabin, which will be great. If you have any specific questions, you can email me at AnneR40@yahoo.com. Happy Cruising!