We flew into the Hobby Airport at 12:30 am the night before our cruise. Since my cousin lives in Texas and planned on driving us to the port we didn't have to worry about hotels or transfers; we were able to stay at her house that night. We arrived in Galveston around 11:30 am and were on board by 12 or 12:30. We were pleasantly surprised at how quickly we made it through check in and to the Lido Deck. We tried to check out our cabin as soon as we boarded but were unable to get in it until 1:30 or so. Our cabin steward came in as soon as we opened the door and introduced herself; unfortunately, I didn't catch her name. She did a fine job with our cabin; nothing extraordinary, but we didn't really ask for anything. Our cabin was what we expected except for the sewer smell that we would occasionally get in the bathroom. It wasn't bad enough to complain about though. We were extremely happy with the location of our cabin since we could walk right out the door and be on the Lido deck. We didn't have any noise problems at all.
This is the first trip we took with the kids, but they never really did use the kids clubs. They spent most of the time with us. Our son (11) went a couple times, but didn't spend more than an hour. And our daughter (14) didn't have any desire to go hang out there. (she is a little more shy than our son)
We had late seating in the Monet dining room; which we ate in every night. Our waiters were Ricardo and Gun; they were amazing with the kids. Infact, the last night when our son was saying good bye to Gun he started to cry. We were not very pleased with the food in the dining room or else where. We had really been looking forward to the food but felt we could cook everything better ourselves. I think the only spice the chefs used was salt. Everything was salty and cold. The only night that was really good was the first formal night; I had pumpkin soup, shrimp cocktail, lobster, some prime rib and of course the awesome melting chocolate cake. I tried the pizza, burgers, and Sur Mer and I was disappointed in all of them.
What we saw of the shows they were good. There was some type of a mess up with one of the entertainers not making the ship. So the ships entertainers had to put together a show with only a couple hours to plan it; that was very funny! My daughter and I did go to the 70's and 80's dance lessons which were a lot of fun.
In Jamaica we did the zip line excursion which I thought was amazing. I'm afraid of heights but would do it again in a second. The staff was very professional but yet entertaining. After our excursion we went straight back to the ship so we didn't encounter any of the drug dealers or pushy merchants you read so much about. When we were getting back on the ship we were not split up into two lines (male and female) and nobody was patted down. I had read so many bad things about Jamaica and I was concerned, but it ended up being my favorite stop and can't wait to go for a land based vacation.
In Grand Cayman we did the stingray thing, I didn't care for it at all. But the kids and my husband had fun. I have no desire to ever do it again. Next time I am really going to push for a beach day like I wanted.
Cozumel we did the beach buggy at Punta Sur. Driving the buggy was interesting to say the least; I had a real hard time reaching the clutch since the seat didn't move forward. We stopped at a Mayan Ruin, a lighthouse, and then a beach where we could snorkel. My husband and the kids snorkeled while I laid in the sun.
We didn't do much shopping in any of the ports so I can't say how the prices were. My son did want a chess set in Cozumel so he and my husband went around haggling for the best prices.
Disembarking was amazingly easy. We put our luggage out the night before and in the morning we didn't rush to get up and going. We were going to take our time and have breakfast at the buffet. While we were heading to get in line they called our number so I grabbed coffee and we headed off the ship. We didn't encounter any traffic on the stairs or in line to get off the ship. We found our luggage in a matter of minutes and made it through customs in less than a half hour. We called my cousin while we were getting off the ship and she was pulling up when we walked out the terminal. It couldn't have been more perfect. We were on the road by 8:30; waving good bye to our ship.
Overall, we had a very nice time and can't wait to cruise again.