This was my first cruise. The night before we left, I took one Bonine pill. I then took a Bonine each night before I went to bed and NEVER felt sea sick at all.
I went with 2 friends and one 14 year old teenager. We took a bus called Entertainment Tours from Massachusetts (with additional pick ups in CT) for $75 round trip. Not a bad price, but we didn't get to the ship until about 1:15pm (after most other guests had arrived.) Check in was crazy and somewhat unorganized. There were long lines. When we got on the ship at about 2:15pm, we went straight to our room and dropped off our carryon's and small cooler. The cabin seemed small, but we got used to it. We requested a fridge through our travel agent and it was placed under the desk. We had 2 lower beds, one upper bunk that pulled down and one trundle bed that pulled out from a lower bed (was only pulled out at night). The bathroom was a good size but it did NOT have an outlet plug in it. The only outlet (1 plug) was above More
the desk. The shower had a hand held showerhead which was a nice feature. We went to Raffles for lunch. It was very crowded but the variety of food was very good. The Salad bar was very good. The Muster Drill was at 3:30, so we went up to the room to get our life jackets and then to our designated floor. It lasted about 30 minutes. We watched our ship depart from NY from deck 13-front. It was very windy but we had a great view and got great pictures of the skyline and Statue of Liberty. We then went back to our cabin to wait for the suitcases to arrive. They didn't arrive until 6pm and then it was tough for 4 people in one cabin to unpack. The suitcases did all fit under the single bed. The beds were comfortable, we asked for eggcrates but never got them, which was ok, because we found the beds very comfortable. We went to Windows for dinner. My complaint there was that our waiter barely spoke English which was a challenge for my friend with a wheat allergy. My other comment is that the food came out separately. My friends dinner would arrive and another dinner would come out 5 minutes later.
Sunday - Day at Sea - up at 8am, but we thought it was much earlier because we had an inside cabin with no windows. After this morning, we set our cell phone alarm clocks for when we wanted to get up. We went to the pool to get lounge chairs. All chairs on deck 12 near the pool were taken with people or saved with pool towels. We found chairs on deck 13. This deck was very windy. We went to Raffles at 9am for breakfast. I found the selection to be very good and the food very tasty. It was very cloudy this day and it rained off and on. We had lunch at Raffles as well. The stir fry was open but had long lines. the lunch selection and food was very good. We were told there were 15 foot seas today. But I never felt sick. The hot tubs were always full and the only time we got to use was them after they cleared out because of a downpour of rain. NOTE: Buy a bottle of water at any bar for $5.50 then keep that bottle and refill it at the buffet each day. I didn't do this until the last day and spent a crazy amount of money on bottled water. Tonight was Captains night in the dining room. We never saw or met the Captain this night. Every did dress up and wore dresses and suits. When we arrived at Windows, they said it was a 30 minute wait, it ended up being a 70 minute wait in a crowd of other frustrated people. I had the beef wellington and it was very good. Portions in the dining room were small, but sufficient since there were 4 courses (appetizer, soup or salad, meal and dessert). Again, our waiter barely spoke English and our meals came out at different times which was very frustrating. We then attended the Newlywed Game and it was funny. After that we headed to the Stardust Lounge for Standing Room Only. It was good entertainment and good vocals.
Monday - Bermuda - up at 6:30am. We had breakfast at Raffles. The breakfast is always the same in the buffet. Which was ok for me, but others got sick of it fast. We sat outside in the back of Raffles in Raffles Terrace. It was cloudy and spitting rain. We got off the ship at 8:30am and were booked on the Catamaran Cruise and Snorkel trip. It was fun, but not worth the money. Maybe our day and excitement was dampened by the bad weather and clouds. The water was cloudy and the fish and coral were just not colorful. They took us back to the pier early because of the weather. We went back on the ship to change. NOTE: bring your change of dry clothes in a bag on your excursions so you don't have to waste time going back to the ship and through security. We then walked into town and toured the glass blowing factory. It was interesting, but very expensive to purchase the blown glass. We then headed to Clock Tower Mall. It was a nice indoor shopping mall with little shops. NOTE: buy water and soda in Bermuda to bring back on the ship with you. We headed back to the ship at 2pm. I decided to buy an internet package in the internet cafe. 75 cents a minute. We then had a late lunch at Raffles, it was crowded but we got a table inside. We then were lucky enough to find 3 chairs on deck 7, The Promenade. We relaxed there for a while. NOTE: this is a great place to relax in the shade, but the chairs are limited. We then headed back to the cabin to shower and went to a show called Jeff Trachta, he was an impersonator and it was a good show. It started out slow but got better. We then had dinner reservations (made the morning before) at Shogun for 8:30pm. Because the reservations were 8:30pm or later, the cover fee was cut in 1/2, only $5 per person for this specialty restaurant. It was good, if you like Asian food. I ordered a bottle of White Zinfandel ($22). At the end of dinner, they recorked the bottle and saved it for me for the next dinner. They give you a receipt and can request it back no matter where you eat the next night. Worked out better than paying per glass ($5.25 a glass). After dinner, we checked out the casino, it was VERY smoky. There was a lounge behind it that was crowded and smoky too, Maharini's Lounge. We would have stayed longer, but left because of the smoke. This was at about 11pm, there was a buffet set up at this time in the casino.
Tuesday - Sea Day - we set the cell phone alarm for 7:30am. We had to get up early to get a lounge chair somewhat near the pool. We settled for chairs on deck 13 where it was less crowded. I had breakfast at Raffles, while my friends went to Windows for breakfast. They commented that the service was not good and the omelets were better in the buffet than in Windows. It was sunny all day, which was a nice change. Their was a cookout at the pool and Bier Garden. Hot dogs, hamburgers, fries and the fixings. Everything tasted great. We went to the Sharkbait Show at 7:30pm, it was entertaining and funny. We had dinner reservations (made the morning before) at Cagney's for 9pm. The fee was cut in 1/2 because we had a later reservation ($10 per person). The service here was TOP NOTCH and the food was the best we ever had on the ship so far. I had the rib eye steak and it was very good.
Wednesday - Tortola - up at 8am, We had breakfast at Raffles, sat in Raffles Terrace which was always a place we could find a table. We had a front row seat to coast by all the islands we were passing as we entered Tortola. It was cloudy, but got sunny. We booked the Virgin Gorda Bath & Snorkel excursion and this was our FAVORITE part of the whole trip. I highly recommend this excursion. We got off the ship at 12:30 and took a 45 minute ferry to the island of Virgin Gorda. They provided the snorkel gear. They gave us a guided snorkel tour approximately 100 yards to a beach. We saw lots of coral, fish and reefs. Bring an underwater camera It was very beautiful and the water was calm and warm. Then we took a guided walk through the caves and rock formations. There is a lot of climbing involved and you have to carry your snorkel gear too, so be sure you can climb with one hand. We then had 1 hour to snorkel around and back to the anchored ferry. The 4 of us had a lot of fun on this excursion. We got back to the ship at 4:30pm, we dropped off our bags and changed then walked off the pier to a makeshift market that sold souvenir type things. Shirts, clothes, jewelry, Tortola souvenirs. The stuff was pretty cheap, I recommend bargaining with them. We went back to the ship to shower. We had dinner in the other main restaurant, the Garden Room. It is smaller than Windows and had much better service. Our food came out together and the staff could communicate better. We were tired by 10pm and called it a night.
Thursday - Saint Thomas - we had to be up early for immigration. St. Thomas is a US Port, so you have to go through immigration again. Basically they call you floor by floor. You show your passport and ship ID. We moved through it very quickly. We headed back up to our room to get our bags and cooler (room service filled with ice). We didn't book an excursion on this island because we choose to go to Magens Bay on our own. There were cabs right off the pier waiting. We took a cab (minivan) filled by us and others from the boat. They charged us $8 per person for the cab ride to Magens Bay Beach. It is a really beautiful beach and now I know why it is one of the top 10 in the world. The beach rents chairs, floats, kayaks, umbrellas... etc. A lounge chair was $6. The water was warm, calm and crystal clear. We changed into dry clothes in their changing rooms and left at 1pm. We had the cab drop us off at the Havensight Shopping Area. Lots of jewelry, liquor and souvenir stores. NOTE: There is a little market there where you can buy water, soda and snacks for your cabin. We walked back to ship to drop off bags then walked to the Paradise Point Tramway Ride, $16 per person. A five minute ride to the top with really beautiful views. It was definitely worth going. We left Saint Thomas at 4pm. I was at the back of the ship and got some great pictures of our departure. We went to the 8pm Second City show, we left after 20 minutes because it was boring. We had dinner in the Garden Room, the service was just ok this time. We stopped in to the Ralph Achilles show, we caught the end and it seemed funny.
Friday - Sea day - We got up early to get chairs, ended up back on deck 13 which was ok because it really was less crowded up there. (Basically how this works is everyone that wants a chair on deck 12 near the pool gets up at 6am, waits in line till 7am when the towels are given out and takes chairs on deck 12. They hardly use the chairs, but they leave their towels and books there so no one else takes them.) We went to the Buffet for breakfast and lunch. We sat in the sun most of the day, by now we were using SPF 30 because the sun was so strong. We attended the Chocoholic Buffet at 1:30pm. There was a HUGE line already at 1:15pm. You cannot go in to take pictures early, but can take pictures once inside Windows. The display was impressive but didn't "wow" me. We then went down to deck 7, the Promenade. It is a very nice place to relax on the comfy blue chairs in the late afternoon. Chairs are scarce though. We then showered and had dinner in the Garden Room again. The service and food were very good. We attended the 9:30pm Showtime Show and it was great. Then there was a farewell performance by the captain and crew.
Saturday - Sea day - up at 7:15am again to get towels and 2 chairs on deck 13. I refilled my water bottle from yesterday in the buffet so I didn't have to buy another for $5.50. We had breakfast at Raffles and sat outside. It was cloudy today by noon and then started to rain. There was a Taco bar by the pool but they ran out of food so fast, we missed out. The Bier Garden had hot dogs and fries again. We decided to skip that and try the Blue Lagoon. The teenager with us ate here daily. We got mac and cheese, fries and chicken fingers. They were all very good, small portions, but good. With it raining, we decided to go and pack our suitcases. Then I went to the Galaxy of the Stars Lounge to relax at the front of the ship. I actually caught a nap while I was there. There were activities going on, towel making and line dancing lessons. After we showered, we went back to the Galaxy of the Stars lounge for a drink. We wished we did this every night, because the views are great and it was not crowded. We had dinner reservations at Cagney's again at 8:30pm. The service was not as good, but the food was really good again. We ordered room service that day, chocolate mousse, and put it in our fridge. We had it for dessert that night back in the cabin and it was the best I ever had. We finished packing and put our suitcases outside the door. We decided to do the regular disembarkation since our bus wouldn't arrive until 1pm.
Sunday - we arrived in NY at 8am, had breakfast at Raffles. We waited in the cabin for our color to be called and then we were off the ship at 11am.
Taking the Entertainment Tours Bus is a good idea if you don't want to drive. But be prepared to be one of the last to get on the ship and to wait at least 2 hours in a hot (somewhat smelly) bus terminal to be picked up.
Overall, I had a relaxing, great time. I was on vacation and didn't have to go to work, answer the phone, type emails, attend meetings, mow the lawn, wash dishes, do laundry and all that other stuff that is part of our daily routines. The teenager with us says the teen program was great and kept him busy. My only suggestion is to be sure to read the Freestyle Daily every day. There was a teen registration and orientation the first night that he didn't attend because we didn't read it in the Freestyle Daily. Less