We started our vacation by traveling by air NWA from Michigan to Orlando the Wednesday before our Saturday sailing date to spend a couple of days with family. Rented a car at MCO with Alamo. We stopped at a local Publix to get an 8 pack of caffeine free diet & regular coke and a six pack of bottled water to take aboard with us. Friday we drove via the Florida turnpike to Miami where we had reservations at the Crown Plaza near the airport. We would have liked to stay at the port at either Holiday Inn or Intercontinental but because several things were going on in Miami that weekend they were either not available or the rate's were sky high $400 for one night. The Crown Plaza was quite nice and helpful with directions to Bayside Marketplace which we ventured off to after our 4 hour drive from Orlando. A nice place with shops, entertainment and restaurants. After dinner we dropped our car at Alamo & took their shuttle to the airport and then caught the hotel shuttle in a matter of minutes, all quite painless. We arranged for the hotel to have a bellman pick up our bags the following morning and have a cab waiting for us. The cab fare is a flat $24 plus tip from the airport. All went smoothly.
Embarkation: We decided to arrive at the port early after reading several posts here on CC. We arrived at 10:30am. We were allowed to enter up the escalator to a waiting area which has a small amount of seating. We decided to sit down and in a matter of minutes the seating was all taken. We saw some large groups of people being talked to by RCCL personnel and were told there were 5 weddings scheduled for the week. After waiting about 45 minutes we were shown to the area for check in and then to another waiting area. This area allowed everyone to be seated; we sat there another 45 minutes and could see that passengers were still getting of the ship. We finally got on the ship about 12:30. If we hadn't been there early we would have had to do a lot of standing and waiting as some of the other passengers later told me. We immediately went to make a reservation at Chops for Valentine's Day dinner, on to the Windjammer for lunch. After lunch we stopped by the dining room to check our table and were disappointed to find it in the Rembrandt dining in a small room we went directly to the desk and with no problem our table was changed to a table of 4 in the Michelangelo dining room on deck 4 next to the window. Our table mate was a gentlemen traveling alone from Scotland who was one of the biggest enjoyments of our cruise.
Stateroom: Our reservations were made 11 months ago and I changed our stateroom 3 times over that period of time. RCCL had no problems with that. Our D2 balcony stateroom on deck 7 portside was nothing else than perfect. All of our bags were in our room by 2:30pm. Our room steward was Sonia she stopped in and introduced herself. I left her a couple of post it notes on the mirror and all requests were taken care of. Our room was always made up while we were at breakfast and later while we were at dinner. She gave us a big hug on our last evening. I measured the room and it was it was 8.5' x 17', the balcony was about 9' x 7'3"deep with 2 chairs and a small table, the bathroom was 4'x4', the shower about 34"x34" kind of a circular shape with sliding doors which was really nice. There was more than adequate storage and closet space as we came with 4 large suitcases and 2 carry on bags which after unpacked all stowed under the beds. Plenty of drawer space and in the bathroom 3 corner shelves and one under the sink.
Ship: This ship is very magnificent and beautiful. It was quite easy to get around and there are several touch screens and standing ship maps that are quite helpful. The only time we noticed any large crowds were on the evenings that there was a parade or other activity on the Royal Promenade. We really enjoyed being able to sit there and relax, with many places to get a snack or drink.
Dining: We ordered breakfast our first morning from room service & it came promptly at the time we stated. We even added some items not listed. The other mornings we ordered coffee and juice from room service while we got ready and then had breakfast in the Windjammer. I thought the Windjammer was nicely laid out with 8-10 different areas with some of the same items at each. You could get eggs & omelets to order in a matter of a minute. Coffee and juice was delivered to your table. Only one morning it was busy and RCCL had personnel to help you find a table. We had Horace from Jamaica and Olga from Russia for dinner. They were great. I had several requests and all were delivered. In my opinion the food was quite good. We ate at Chops on Valentine's Day. I was given a red rose when we were seated. The meal was exceptional. We had a table for 2 looking out at the port of Cozumel at sunset and as the ship left port. All very enjoyable. Later that evening I gave the rose to our room steward.
Labadee: Tendering was a little hectic I would wait and try not to be the first off the ship when you have to tender. We scheduled the Thriller Boat ride. Since I had heard how poor these people were in Haiti I had no problem tipping a little on the high side. Lounge chairs were moved to the spot we liked and in the restroom there was someone to hand you the paper towels. RCCL had 3 different locations with lunch which was jerk chicken, ribs, salads, rolls, desserts, fruit and drinks. It was quite good. We took the tractor pulled train to the other end of the peninsular and walked up to dragon's breath where a security guard offered to take our pictures with our camera. It is quite beautiful there. I only picked up one small item in the marketplace the vendors are quite pushy.
Montego Bay, Jamaica: Docked so it was easy on and easy off. Since we are not to adventurous we booked the glass bottom boat ride, which was quite educational. Another beautiful day and quite nice. Stopped in the terminal building before boarding the ship and picked up some items.
Georgetown, Grand Cayman: Beautiful day. Took the tender a little later and it as quite easy. We did the Land & Sea tour which was the Nautilus semi submersible, a tour of a turtle farm, rum cake bakery and the town of Hell. It was all good with the exception of on and off the bus. Had time to shop a little at the port before tendering back to the ship.
Cozumel: Docked and scheduled Atlantis submarine. Quite exciting to take a boat out to sea and board the submarine. Beautiful waters, coral and fish. It was quite interesting and educational going down 125'. Had time to go in to some shops and pick up some items.
The passengers on this particular cruise were quite international and diverse. I would say there was a small amount of children and very well behaved. RCCL did make announcements before shows about watching your children.
On sea days it was a little difficult to find a lounge chair by the pools, it took some looking. The days we were in port we were always back to the ship a little early and had time to spend a couple of hours by the pool without a problem finding a good spot.
We saw all the entertainment that was in the Platinum Theater and it was all quite good and entertaining. The cruise director was Ken Rush, he was good if not a little corny. The Ice Spectacular Encore was just that SPECTACULAR don't miss it. There were many places around the ship with live music & singers in the various lounges which were all much better than average entertainers. Not a sour note in the bunch.
Debarkation: We were up early and had breakfast in the Windjammer about 7am there were no lines and plenty of seating. Back to the room to pick up our carry on bags and out of our room by the recommended time of 8am. Down to deck 4 into a line that moved right along. Picked up our luggage, got a porter and a cab and were at MIA at 9:15am for a 5 hour wait for our flight. Shopped around and had lunch and time passed pretty quickly. Nice flight to Michigan and arrived to cold temperatures in the 20's. Overall this was a wonderful cruise with 7 days of beautiful weather and exceptional service. Someday we will certainly cruise with RCCL.
If anyone has any questions email me and I will be happy to answer you.