We traveled as a group of 22 coming from Virginia. Our previous cruises were with a larger group. We ranged in ages from 4 to 65. Most of us had cruised before but for some in our group this was their first cruise. We flew out of Richmond Int. Airport into Miami. 8 people in our group flew in Friday, the rest came in Saturday. We all stayed at Embassy Suites. I had read many bad reviews about this particular Embassy Suites (I have always had good experiences at other Embassy Suites) so I emailed the Hilton company to find out if they had improved on their customer service & the overall appearance of the hotel. They emailed me back saying they would have someone contact me. The manager called me the next day & let me know they were still doing renovations but for the most part they would be done by the time we arrived. Well the room I requested had been given away but they told me I could get that room the following morning. (I had requested a room w/ a roll in shower as I am in a wheelchair) They provided a decent shower chair to use so I decided not to change rooms.The room was perfect besides the roll in shower bit. Furniture and bedding were new. Yes it costs $10 a day to park there but everywhere we went in the Miami area charged to park (South Beach,Bayside Market Place,etc) Breakfast buffet was pretty good, managers reception was good also.We rented a minivan from Dollar, we returned it Sunday morning & rode their shuttle to the pier.
We had 1 bad experience at the pier(my oldest daughter had her Ipod & cell phone stolen but she shouldn't have put it in a little carryon & ckd it w/ the other luggage it should have been in her purse)Check in was a breeze (I am in a wheelchair so we usually get good service) It may have taken 5 or 10 min, I had filled in all of my paperwork online. The ship is absolutely beautiful. We had an inside handicap accessible cabin. It was perfect for the 4 of us. We traveled during the week of Hurricane Dean. We had not 1 bad day!! The weather was wonderful! I really didn't go to any of the shows but I did stay extremely busy. Just wandering around the ship was great. We didn't do any excursions. I enjoyed Labadee except for the pushy people (but I don't have a problem looking at people and telling them to back off. You have to be assertive no need to fear people, you are on a large Island w/ plenty of others)The lunch was ok not the greatest but heck I am on vacation I didn't have to prepare it. In Jamaica we hired a driver to take us around ( Woody was wonderful, polite and always helpful) I am a double above knee amputee and he helped my husband and 1 of our friends get me in & out of the van, he also hunted around & found me an accessible bathroom. That I really appreciated. He took us to have Jerk chicken & pork it was wonderful. I didn't get off in Grand Cayman it was showering a little & I spent quite a bit of money in Ocho Rios, but my daughters did & they enjoyed it. Cozumel was our last port of call. We took a cab downtown, wandered around a bit, ate lunch at Carlos & Charlies -- my husband said & I quote " these are the best nachos I have ever had" The food was wonderful. I did have a margarita (it cost me $15 bucks, my fault I didn't pay attention to the prices) We shopped a little then headed back to the ship. Yes they do kind of bug you to buy their products but most of these people think we are all rich. I told some lady in a jewelry shop I still have to pay my mortgage when I get home.
The food in the Windjammer was pretty good. The dining room was very good. If you receive something you don't like just send it back. We ate at Chops on Wednesday night. Let me just say **** OH MY GOODNESS*** this was the most wonderful meal I have had in a long time. Our head waitress was Helen from St Vincent & our asst waitress was Michelle from Brazil. They provided the best service. Anything we needed or wanted or had a problem with they corrected immediately. Anyone who can actually complain about the food has got to be crazy. If you don't like it send it back -- just do so politely!! Our asst waitress Michelle hugged me goodbye & thanked us for being so polite because there are so many rude people in the world. I have traveled around the United States & I have lived in 5 different states & I notice that if you treat people with respect they will do the same to you.Our room steward was great too ( I forgot his name) I really never felt that the ship was crowded except for the elevators at the mustering & trying to get off at the ports but it wasn't too bad. I have 1 complaint though and it is not the fault of Royal Caribbean --- There were so many completely able bodied people trying to push past me in my wheelchair to get on the elevator. That to me is one of the rudest & most inconsiderate, disrespectful things a person can do. Where is the common courtesy??? All in all this was the best vacation I have ever had!