Running from gate 7 to gate 74 at the detroit airport is something I'd like not to ever do again. We got to Indy at 9am- great! but he went to go park the car and by the time he got back it was 10am! so I was freaking out that we would miss our plane. In detroit, we stopped for a quick lunch at Max and Erma's- the menu had a timer symbol for those in a hurry- that took a half hour to GET our food. we should've just left. but we ate, and when we walked out the door he looks at his watch and boy dowe gotta go! we ran from gate 34 to 74, and when we got there- the doors were closed. Oh no. the attendant stopped the plane for us to get on, then we did the walk of shame all the way to our seats from the third row from the back.
We got to Miami and the taxi wasn't so horrible, $36 from the airport to the hotel, and then another $30 from the hotel to the seaport.
Embarkation in the new terminal was extremely fast and friendly.
The boat is terrific. English is the main language, not Spanish as on our last trip. Things are said once, in English, and that's it.
The Art Auctions are a great thing for days at sea. There were two this cruise. We brought home five free pieces of art and bought two at the auction for a great price. The auctioneer Chris was very knowledgeable, my husband learned a lot, and we got to know more about how our own individual art styles.
There were two formal nights. The first day at sea, then the night at Grand Turk. The photographers were fabulous, (or we just looked extravagant all week long). By the end of the week I had 70 8x10 photos to choose through. I narrowed them down to three. It was hard, I wanted a good portion of them.
There is a nice variety of food to choose from. Our dinner table decided that a cinnabon restuarant onboard would greatly help the breakfast line-up out.
I missed our dog a lot while at sea, the cabin steward left us a towel dog Sunday night, so I spent the week cuddling with it. Monday was an elephant, Tuesday a rabbit, Wednesday an osterich, Thursday a frog, Friday was a seal.
A word of warning- if you're not a big alcohol drinker, take the large bottle of water with you off the ship, it's $3.50 but worth not being hounded at the beach to buy a beer or colada drink. At Half Moon Cay we lounged on the beach and walked around the island. The restrooms are hidden by the food court, these should have a flag on them so they can be spotted when needed. I spent way too long wandering about for them. There is a buffet set up on the island. Very nice and a great chance for the native animals to come up close for a picture on their own terms. The gift shops were kind of a trap as well. Not a lot of selection a all. T-shirt styles were limited and the size variety left a lot to be desired.
At St Thomas, we took a taxi to RedHook ($10 a piece) to catch a ferry boat to St John. ($5 a piece). I recommend going to St John, the ferry runs every hour from Red Hook, every other hour from Charlotte Amalie. Snorkeling is the best on these islands. Upon our return we stopped by one of the jewelry stores that were mentioned during the shopping talks. We got a free 1ct Midnight Sapphire and a pendant w/ what looks like a pink topaz. I purchased an Alexandrite pendant here. Awesome price, and we got free drinks (beer for my hubby, water for me).
San Juan PR was just HOT. It felt like 100*, we were sweating so bad. I'm glad we used a lot of sunscreen, because we would've been so burnt otherwise.
We walked over to the old Forts (five blocks away) and did the United States National Park tours for $5 a person for BOTH forts. It's a long walk between them, but the view is just spectacular. At Del Morro Fort go to the gift shop, buy a 16oz water for $1.50 then find the AV room (two rooms to the right as you come out of the gift shop). It's running a fifteen minute movie, but it's the only air conditioned spot in the fort. Well worth it! There are some nice gift shops on the walk back to the ship. T-shirts 3 for $10.
Grand Turk was a tourist trap. The only thing worth going to was Margaritaville- which was party central with the swim up bar and rocking DJ giving free drinks away. The gift shop was a bust though- they had only Small or Mediums in t-shirts. The other shops seemed to have a lot of knick knacks, and overpriced ones at that. $22 for a wood frame that had "Grand Turk" on it, there's the same one on the ship that has "Carnival Triumph" for only $9. Hmmm. Del Sol is here, but they had a miserable selection. Puerto Rico had far more in stock, weren't sold out of Sunshine the Bear, oh and were CHEAPER in price?! That's wrong.
The last day was at sea, and more things needed to be available to do other than the Art Auction, trivia, and gambling.
Our room was nice, balcony on the 10th floor, the only downside was Camp Carnival must have been right above our room, because during the day if we were in the room there was a lot of thudding, but it was quiet at night.
The weather must have made the sea rough, there was a lot of rocking back and forth, but I slept pretty well so I'm not complaining. It rained the first day at sea and only at night the other days. Our closet door kept squeaking during the night, so we used the door stop to keep it shut.
Each time we came back to our room "Carnival" items were moved around. The three books they have, the glasses, the ice, the popcans, I put them in one spot on the first day, and each time (four times a day) they were put back to where the staff wanted them...which did not make me feel safe at all.
Debarkation went smoothly. Again, the new terminal is great. However, beware of being scammed outside the doors by taxi-drivers. We were told on the way to the port it would be $24 to go back to the airport as it's a set price by the yellow taxi mini-vans to EITHER AIRPORT (it's a sticker on their window as well). but these mini-vans were not around when we got off the ship. There were five or more "taxi-drivers" (the owners of these van companies more than likely) bidding for our business. We were told $30 to go from the port to our hotel, but once we were in this "taxi" the ten of us were driven a terminal away, the driver pulled over and demanded $20 a piece then!(American Transit) We all ten got off, luckily got our luggage back, because the driver was erratic. One of the persons got another vanline who promised us $18 a piece to get to the airport. Our hotel was just outside of the airport, so he helped us get to our proper shuttle area at the airport to get our hotel shuttle even! (American Tours) We tipped him well for his humor and superb driving skills.
Overall, we enjoyed our trip and can't wait to go back to visit different islands.