Here's our long and boring cruise synopsis. We had a great time and it is hard to be back at work!
Travelers were myself (41), DW (42), and DD (17).
Saturday, July 5th - Flew to New York City (nonstop on Delta) and stayed in Times Square at the Marriott Marquis. We just hung out in Times Square. We had a wonderful room with a view of Times Square. DW and I really enjoyed seeing New York again - DD couldn't way to leave! She says she prefers her suburban life over the big city. She usually had a death-grip on the back of my shirt as we went exploring.
Sunday, July 6th - We got up early and rode the subway to lower Manhattan and went to the "ground zero" site. We thought it was important for DD to see it. We wandered around lower Manhattan. We were very impressed by the little church and cemetery across the street from the "ground zero" site. We rode the subway back to Times Square, packed up, and got a taxi to the cruise ship pier. The pier was packed, as there were two ships (Spirit and Dawn) loading passengers and leaving New York City that afternoon. We finally got on board and explored the ship. The ship was originally built for the Asian market, so it has a very Asian look and feel to it. It is very nice, and we were very happy with our selection of a ship to take DD on for her first cruise. The ship sailed from Manhattan at 4:00 PM, down the Hudson River, past Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and under the Verazanno Narrows Bridge and out to the Atlantic Ocean and then south. We had a nice dinner in the Windows restaurant which overlooks the wake of the ship. After dinner, our luggage was delivered to our stateroom and we put our things away. Our exciting evening consisted of going to bed early, as we had been up and about since 6:00 AM.
Monday, July 7th - We spent the day at sea. We really enjoyed the day relaxing. We ran on the treadmills (DW made me exercise every day on this trip - how rude is that?!). It was very warm and windy outside - well it's always windy on a ship that is moving. The ship sailed along the eastern seaboard towards Florida. That night there was a musical production in the theatre, which we really liked.
Tuesday, July 8th - Our ship came into view of the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. When we were about an hour from the port, the ship sailed through a "swarm" of jellyfish. It was very interesting to see. The ship pulled into port at Port Canaveral around noon, we rented a car from Budget and drove to Sea World in Orlando - about an hour away. It poured rain on us all day while we were at Sea World, but it was okay. I was glad we hadn't planned a beach day. We just put on ponchos and trudged on. All the exhibits are under cover so actually the rain made it not as hot as it usually is in Orlando in July. We had a great time at Sea World, and it was the perfect venue for a rainy day. Many people from the ship went to Universal Studios and the various parks at Disney World. Most people use the ship's buses to go to the parks (for a huge fee), so we decided to get a car and head off on our own. It worked out perfectly. We got back to the ship around 8:30, and had a nice dinner at the Garden Room restaurant on the ship. There was a "White" party that night in Galaxy of the Stars that we went to, where I discovered that I am really old and crabby - the music was just too loud! They were taking family portraits, and we had one done with us all in white. It turned out really good and we bought a set. It wasn't any more than having a good picture done ashore. There was a comedy show in the theatre that night, but we got back to the ship too late to see it.
Wednesday, July 9th - The ship arrived in Nassau, Bahamas, at 1:00 PM. The ship has a bridge observation room where you can watch the crew. As we pulled into Nassau, I went to watch the crew, and it was amazing to watch. The ship - 880 feet long by 105 feet wide was crewed by only two men as it pulled into port. They turned the ship around and backed the ship into the pier without assistance of tugs or pilot boats. It pulled in alongside the Royal Caribbean ship Serenade of the Seas. We spent the afternoon shopping and sightseeing in Nassau. DD bought a purse and some jewelry at the straw market - a large swap meet where - according to the women who are selling stuff there - everything was on sale just for that day. DD learned how to haggle and walk away. We dropped all of our stuff off in our cabin, then headed off for the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island by taxi. Atlantis is beautiful and HUGE. We went to the beach, and walked around the grounds there. We could easily spend a nice vacation there in the future. We had a nice dinner again at the Garden Room restaurant, then went to see the magician in the theatre. It ended up being a late night, which didn't bode well for the next day. We really enjoyed Nassau.
Thursday, July 10th - The ship pulled into Freeport, Bahamas (Grand Bahama Island) at 7:00 AM. The ship was only in port for six hours, so we wanted to head into town early, which was a mistake, as nothing opened until 9:00. We took a taxi to Port Lucaya, which is the tourist area of Grand Bahama. We went to the beach at the Sheraton and Westin. We did a little shopping, then took a taxi back to the ship. Our cab driver drove us all over the western end of the island, and showed us things he taught were interesting. Grand Bahama took a direct hit by hurricane Wilma in October 2005, and the island still hasn't recovered from it. Many homes are abandoned, and much of the vegetation has been destroyed. We didn't care much for Grand Bahama, which could have been because we were there so early, or because we didn't go on an excursion. We got back to the ship, took a long nap to make up for the late night, had a nice dinner, and went to see the musical show and comedian that night.
Friday, July 11th - We spent the day at sea heading north to New York City. Once again, a nice day at sea. There was a really good up-close show with the magician who did some incredible card tricks. We had a last night nice dinner, then attended the crew show where some of the crew from all over the world share talents from their home countries. It was a lot of fun and pretty interesting to see. The crew hailed from 58 countries. We reluctantly packed up for the ship docking in New York on Saturday morning.
Saturday, July 12th - The ship docked at 10:00. We left the ship at 11:30, went through customs, and took a taxi to a place that would let us store our luggage for the day. We then walked to Times Square (only a few blocks), went to see Wall-E, then did some shopping in Times Square before picking our luggage up, and taking the New Jersey Transit train to Newark Airport. We caught our flight home at 5:30 PM and were home around 9:00 PM SLC time.
We had a great trip. We ate too much, lost a little money in the casino, but thoroughly enjoyed the week away from the phone, email, and work.
I would highly recommend this ship. It had an incredible children's play area with a waterslides, and a pirate ship pool on the back of the ship. There were 11 restaurants on board, although we didn't eat at all of them - French, Asian, Steakhouse, Italian, fast food, two main dining rooms, buffet, a poolside café, sushi, and teppanyaki, as well as 24-hour room service. We didn't pay any extra for food on this cruise and we enjoyed ourselves just fine. Food is very subjective. For us, dining in the main restaurants was great. There were also many drinking establishments, as well as two big nightclubs and a big theatre. There was also a full gym, big swimming pool, game rooms, card rooms, and a spa. There was a lot of the ship we never saw. DD wasn't interested in the teen group, which was fine. We enjoyed her company when she wasn't complaining about being seasick. I think it was more homesick for friends and her cat, than seasick! We bought DD a Teen Passport, which gave her 20 drinks/smoothies, and she had about fifteen. She loved the strawberry/banana smoothies from Champagne Charlie's.
We were in an inside cabin on the 5th floor. We really liked our cabin with upgraded linens. DD slept on the trundle unit on the floor. She didn't want to sleep on the bunk. We had enough room for all our stuff - we packed pretty light. The bathroom was fine - I really liked the size of the shower and the door instead of a curtain. We had a wonderful cabin steward, and had towel animals four nights of the six. Our cabin was always cleaned and beds made, which was all we ask for. If we were on a longer cruise, it could have become claustrophobic, but for six nights it was fine. The ship has a great movie selection on channels 15 and 16. The shopping was fine, we bought some trinkets.