We flew out of Milwaukee on a nonstop flight into Ft. Lauderdale the night before our cruise. We would highly recommend this to prevent any traveling snags. We stayed at the Ramada Airport/Cruiseport. The free shuttle service from the airport and to the cruise port was the reason we chose this hotel. It was a nice place to stay.
DAY 1 Embarking was organized and it didn't take too long. After getting on the ship, we went to make our Chops reservations and grab a couple of drinks. Then we wandered around the ship to familiarize ourselves with the layout. Next we headed to the Windjammer to grab a bite to eat. The multiple buffets offered lots of options. After lunch, we met our fellow CC members at the Oasis bar. We hung out there for a couple of hours and then went back to our room to get cleaned up and ready for dinner. Our bags arrived without a hitch even though the random search of bags did include mine. I found my things were a little strewn about and they left me a nice note.
We had late seating for dinner. Overall, we thought the food quality was very good and there were several options for each night. After dinner, we headed to Boleros and found our drink prices were a bit lower there. We went to the Viking Crown to meet some people and then called it a night. The music that night turned into more rap than anything and we decided not to stick around.
DAY 2 This was a sea day and we spent the day in the Solarium. The main pool was crowded and it was impossible to find any chairs. We did notice that the crowd started thinning out around 3 p.m. and we were able to move out by the pool and read. We really enjoyed the Solarium and it's relaxing atmosphere. We especially liked when they opened the roof up because it was almost too hot with the roof closed.
We went to the room and got cleaned up for formal night. Before dinner, they take pictures in the Centrum with four or five different photographers. We didn't realize until later that they had different backgrounds. We might have purchased a picture if it had a different background.
We arrived to our stateroom to find a cute little towel animal sitting on our bed. There were towel animals almost nightly.
DAY 3 Grand Cayman - we bought the Reef, Rays and Rum excursion through Nativeway Watersports. The excursion included snorkeling, Stingray City and a nice beach lunch. This was a great excursion and we highly recommend them. We were on the first tender with two other people and avoided the crowds. Our private excursion allowed us to tender without waiting for tickets. We looked around the shops but weren't impressed with the prices.
After dinner, we went to Quest. Quest was funny and if you haven't seen it before, we'd recommend going to it.
DAY 4 Cozumel - we booked spots at Nachi Cocum, a private beach resort with a guest limit of 100. It was a $15 taxi ride and it was faster to hail our own cab vs. waiting in line. The $47pp price included unlimited drinks and lunch. It was relaxing with a fresh water pool, swim up bar, and hot tub. We were assigned a waiter who took care of everything for us including our parasailing reservation. Parasailing cost $50pp and the water taxi took us out to the boat right from the dock. We did a lot of shopping and once we bought one thing, it seemed the retailers came to bring us into their shops. Keep in mind that prices are negotiable.
Before dinner, we went to the Orpheum Theater to see the show. The performers were excellent and talented. This was the only show we went to, but we enjoyed it. After dinner, we watched the Love & Marriage game which was amusing. We also saw the late night adult comedian.
DAY 5 Another day at sea. More poolside drinks and relaxation in the Solarium. We also took advantage of the Cha Cha and Swing dance classes held at Boleros.
We had reservations at Chops that evening and my champagne included an engagement ring! The food was good, but perhaps a bit overrated based on what we had heard previously. The service, however, was excellent and the evening was very memorable. The atmosphere was elegant and our window table made for a nice view of the ocean.
DAY 6 Disembarking was pretty easy. We decided to just lay on deck and relax until our color was called.
Overall, we had a great time. This was our first cruise, so we weren't sure exactly what to expect. The roll call boards were very helpful in planning for the cruise and allowed us to "meet" some interesting people before we even left home. The service in our stateroom and the dining room was excellent. Obviously, RC puts this as a top priority. The ship was beautiful and the weather cooperated nicely. We are not ready to completely give up our land-based vacations, but we will definitely be cruising again in the future.