OK, here's the trip in sort of a nutshell...
Getting TO Miami and getting ON the ship:awful. It seemed like it took forever and it pretty much did. From the time I woke up that Sunday until we FINALLY got on the ship; 10 HOURS...UGH!!!! Flying: AWFUL 'CAUSE I HATE TO FLY. Waiting in line just to board the ship: AWFUL! 2 HOURS!!! Life boat drill once we finally got on the ship: crappy but hey, safety first! 2000+ people, 1/2 of which are Spring Break kids...NOT FUN but it got a lot better.
Getting to our state room...fun looking around and being in total AWE of this ship. You just can't imagine it until you see it in person. The thing is humongous!!!! This was after all our first cruise but the only complaints I have are above. At 40 years old, this was my first cruise and I felt blessed just to be able to go so I wasn't about to start knit picking. Unpacking and getting organized: pretty fun. I thought our room was great and I had heard they were small. There was plenty of room for our clothes and 2 nice size closets for dresses and slacks. Exploring the ship: fun and eye popping. We just wandered and looked at everything until we started to figure it all out. Getting a drink and something to eat: fantastic cause we were starving! There's always something or someplace to find food and bartenders and waiters always ready to wait on you.
Rest of the week highlights: Being at sea: BEAUTIFUL and at first a little scary. Don't believe it when they tell you you don't feel it rock...YOU SURE DO! Watching the flying fish from my balcony in early morning hours with my coffee and daily ship agenda...amazingly peaceful and beautiful. Watching a school of sharks from our balcony, chasing the flying fish...my husband said he didn't see them but I sure did! He told me to wash my contacts but the water is so clear...how could you miss them!? Sunrise from the balcony over Cozumel...breathtaking! So many colors against that ancient landscape. We took the fiesta party boat tour with a bunch our gang and of course, all these spring break kids and they were kinda laid back. Maybe tired?
I walked up to the top deck to see what was happening and got a "tiki tiki" dance by surprise! This adorable Mexican guy grabs me as soon as I walked up the steps, plopped me in a chair and proceeds to embarrass the crap out of me in front of all these kids so I said "What the heck!" and got all into it and started smacking his butt and yelling "WOOHOO!!!!" and everyone was hysterical! Then we went to this beautiful beach and I got my hair braided. It was fun and kept the hair out of my eyes all day. LOTS of alcohol folks. OH MY! Going in to Cozumel...a BLAST! The people everywhere were so nice and funny! Fast cab ride too! Went to Carlos and Charlies with all the Spring Break kids. Man those kids get DRUNK. I've had better times.
Dinner in the ship's dining room: Our waiter for the week, Punya: the guy was wonderful and fed us like we were royalty. The food was 5 star quality and I even ate escargot! After dinner, the waiters and waitresses put on a big show for everyone, singing and dancing with trays on their heads!!! The LIDO deck (where our stateroom was) had this HUGE 4 deck open area with 2 swimming pools, a 50 foot water slide, 3 Jacuzzi's and a big stage in the middle for the Reggae band, who were great and really set the fun mood and another small stage up top where you could stand and take pictures or whatever, overlooking everything. It was like bikini and muscle beach everywhere with all the college kids. I don't know about cruises in March again. Those Spring Break kids well, they can be a bit too much at times with the drinking but they were nothing compared to our old farts. There were 40 of us in our group and at any given time, there were at least 30 of us on deck taking up one whole area and they were watching US carry on!
Grand Cayman: I've had better times. It was OK but we had to take a boat to get to the beach because the water isn't deep enough for the ship to get to the pier. We went shopping and to the Hard Rock in Grand Cayman. We also went to the Tortuga Rum Cake factory, which I was expecting this huge place and it ended up being this cute little house. Lot's of samples. JAMAICA MON!!!! This place is unreal. First of all, just the feeling in the air is paradise. Now, our cruise director does talks each day about what to do, where to go and how to handle situations with certain Jamaicans but we never had a minute's trouble. The people there were SO great and nice to us. They just go out of their way for you but of course, tourism is their #1 income but they are the sweetest, nicest people. We got up early and hit the gangway by 8:30am so we could get a little shopping and exploring in before we went horseback riding. We went to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville and that was cool but expensive. The horseback riding was probably the best tour we took and although a little frightening at first, once you trusted your horse in the water, it was the wildest most incredible feeling you can imagine. Then, after we came out of the water, we switched to horse with a saddle on it and took a scenic trail ride through plantations and field's and farms for about an hour. This was cool cause you have time to dry out! Our guide Vern was such a sweetheart.
My mother in law wanted to take him home with us! Our little group got quite a reputation on board for carrying on a bit. Even the cruise director said in one of his video talks, "I guess you've noticed there's a group of people with us on this cruise who are REALLY having a good time!" WE all went to Karaoke one night and My husband and his friend Charlie were the hit of the show. They sang "Drift Away" 3 times and the crowd went wild. They were fantastic for real. Everywhere we went on the ship people would stop us and say, "HEY! It's the Karaoke guys!!!!!" Our last day, Saturday, My husband and 3 of his buddies, all rather LARGE fellows, decided to plan a prank on the whole ship.
WELL, they went back to the rooms and changed into white robes and those straw fedora hats and came walking up on the pool deck and there were about say 1000 people out there relaxing and drinking and doing the usual. Well, they proceed to walk up on stage and signaled the reggae band and the next thing you know...they start playing "Who let the dogs out"!!! Well, all 4 of them start dancing and stripping off their robes and underneath...ALL THEY HAD ON WERE G-STRINGS'!! WELL, you've got to imagine 4 very large men, almost naked, dancing around on stage in nothing but hats and g-strings and well the whole ship just roared with laughter! The music was pumping and they were up there gyrating and it was like the full monty! Even the spring breakers were like.."HOLY CRAP! These guys know how to party!!!" We laughed so hard our heads hurt! So 2 of the other wives and I ran up on stage along with some of the spring break girls and were dancing with them acting like crazy people and having the best time. Well, believe me, there is tons more but my fingers are tired and I have a lot of laundry to do and you're probably tired of reading by now! Glad to be home but I miss the ship.