We are a family of four, my DM (75) DS (14) DH (52) and myself. We got two rooms since this was also a second honeymoon (married April 2008) My DS and DM shared one and hubby and I were next door. We opened the balcony divider which was like having a double balcony.
Embarkation was easy -- we drove (from KY) and stayed at the Hampton Inn which was very nice. We drove to the pier and got there about 10:30 and were on the ship by 11:30. Have your cruise docs filled out and it will go much more quickly.
We went to the Windjammer -- food was what we'd come to expect on the first day -- nice selection,nicely presented and good but not spectacular. We explored the ship and were in our staterooms by 1:30. unpacked and met our stateroom attendant, Stanley. By then it was time for the muster drill. This one seemed to take an extremely long time. Took some pictures and explored a bit, then took a quick shower before dinner -- early seating. Our waiter "K" from Indonesia was good -- adequate, but not outstanding in service or personality. Our asst. waiter, on the other hand, Ainsley from Jamaica, was fabulous. Even took pains to run all over to find green tea for me and one of our tablemates and offered me some when he saw us at breakfast. always ready with a comment, smile, or joke for DS and very attentive. The head waiter, Emilio, was also very good -- didn't feel it was beneath him to serve more bread or refill the water glasses. Always checking to make sure things were OK and we had everything we needed. First time I was willing to tip the head waiter. Food was very good -- definitely try the vidalia onion tart -- even if you don't like onions. And don't be afraid to order more than one appetizer...or dessert! This is the best time to try something new!
After dinner show was so-so. Juggler was funny more than talented and comedian was also funny but not hilarious. Sea Day -- had breakfast in the windjammer -- once again good and as expected. Had more selections than on previous cruises. Staff was attentive and courteous and helpful -- all around service was exceptional. James Andrews -- they say Ken Rush is better, but I thought James was fantastic! He was everywhere at once and seemed to be having the time of his life ALL the time! Art show is fun if you're in the market for art. Trivia games are more fun with people you've just met -- if they're any good. Prizes are silly, but have some uses. Hanging out at the Solarium pool is great and the sexy legs and belly flop contests at the pool are fun to watch.
Dressy night -- as usual, some dressy and others less so. I was disappointed on the first night -- casual though it may be -- to find many wearing jeans and shorts, flip-flops and tees. We had delightful tablemates -- two wonderful people from England on the second part of their back-to-back cruise.
Overall the food was very good all nights -- my personal favorites were herb crusted fish (tilapia, I think) and lobster -- served with shrimp. Key Lome pie was wonderful and the Marnier soaked pound cake was to die for. Try the savory bites -- hard on the outside, but chewy and good flavor on the inside. Portofino's -- well, it has to be experienced -- but do it. To die for -- really. We flipped a coin and my husband won (Portofino's or Chops) and I'm so glad he did. Get the Seafood Skewer and Dessert Sampler! Well worth the extra! The show was good -- I've seen better, but it showcased a lot of talent, just not my cup of tea. Maybe I was expecting too much since I love fairy tales.
Other evening entertainment included the ice show which was great, as always, but I felt not as good as usual. In the air was a colossal waste of time. Many people walked out before it was over and I wish I had. Quest was a little risque, but all in fun and the 80's dance afterwards was a blast. I haven't "walked like an Egyptian" in a very long time! The show in the last night was good except for the 9-11 year olds heckling the comedian. WHERE were the PARENTS? Which brings me to my rant. While children and teens were seen, heard, and dealt with in large quantities, parents, for the most part, seemed conspicuously absent. The first group on our floor decided to stop up a toilet and flood the hallway. they were escorted off the ship in Puerto Rico. Not to be outdone, a second group -- also on our floor -- decided to hold lighters under the sprinklers once again (all together now) flooding the hallway. A third group decided to break the glass in one of the glass elevators. and, yes, it was a well-known fact that these were teenagers. My son (14) was in the Living Room and realized when he returned to the room he didn't have his phone. He returned to the Living Room to find it smashed to pieces. I was told to file a report -- which I did at customer services, but when I spoke to the person in charge of the teen program she was rude, condescending and defensive. I filed a complaint, but have not heard back from RCCL. On the upside -- there were some very well-behaved, polite children and there was an abundance of activities for all age groups. My son enjoyed the guitar hero and movies and ice skating and the Flow Rider.
Puerto Rico -- all the tours were were interested in were booked -- BOOK EARLY! We walked around Old Town which was hot, dirty, and touristy. Not my favorite stop. St. Maarten -- we did the kayaking and snorkeling -- very cool! We took a catamaran to the kayaks, picked up our snorkel gear and kayaked to a resort. Snorkeled around the reef, fed the fish, saw some very cool sealife and snorkeled back. Had a cool drink and rinsed off, took a dip in the resort pool, and kayaked back to the catamaran -- another rum drink on the ride back. Too tired to shop much -- went back to the ship for a NAP! Labadee -- DH and DS jet skied -- highlight of their trip. I shopped and used my long unused French -- they appreciate speaking their language and if you tell them you will buy nothing if they pressure you -- they will leave you alone. Stick to your price "$25" I will give you $10" "For you, only $20" "I said $10." "OK, I split difference -- $15." "Non, merci." "I give you for twelve." "I'll take it for $10." Count your change -- I got it for $10, but he tried to give me only $8 change for a twenty. Nice baskets and woodwork in the artisan center and less pressure. Did I miss anything? You can post any questions on the cruise critic boards. Thanks for reading.