Embarking was way easy. We dropped of our luggage, showed our passports, proceeded upstairs and filled out a few forms and we were on our way up to the ship. There were NO LINES and the ship was filled to capacity because we tried to upgrade and we couldn't. They were very efficient. I was shocked.
We were on the ship around 12 and the cabins weren't quite ready, but they let us in anyway to put down our carryon bags. We headed up to eat lunch at Windjammer and then explored the ship. This was our second cruise. The ship was beautiful and everything was very clean during the entire cruise. We constantly saw crew members cleaning stairs, handrails and door windows.
We ate in the dining room almost every night. The food was pretty good. We went to Portifino's one night, but I wouldn't do it again. It was nice, but the dining room is just a good if you ask me. The food in the windjammer was exceptional for lunch. We ordered breakfast in our room almost every morning. More
It was always on time.
The children's pool at the back of deck 12 is the place to hang out if you want some quiet time and don't want to go to the adult pool where it was almost too quiet sometimes. Not many people used the children's pool for some reason on this trip and whenever we took our son up to use the water slide we'd hang out and catch a few winks on the sun deck. I guess they were all at the main pool where the music was. Great live band on this ship. The slide wasn't always open but there were 2 other pools, one about 1 and a half feet deep and one 4 feet deep. They even had one of those mushroom showers back there and little kid size tables and chairs and Johnny Rocket's was right around the corner. Still....very few kids were usually back there.
There are like 6 hot tubs on this ship. The first day the 4 at the main pool were crowded but after that you could always find room in one of them. People do hog the chairs near the pool and constantly try to "save" them. I honestly just walked up to a chair, picked up the abandoned towel and set it neatly behind me on a divider and no one ever came back the whole time I was there (about and hour or so).
Only once on the first day did I see a few young boys about 10-13 horse playing at the pool, jumping from the hot tubs to the pool and they were immediately taken care of by a crew member. I don't know where the parents were. But I never saw that kind of behavior again. All the kids on the ship were very well behaved I think. I never saw any hanging out late. Only once did I see 2 sets of 2 (I'm refraining from using the word couple) hanging out on the stairs while I was leaving the Chamber. They were quiet and didn't say a word. I think they might have been out past curfew. Yes, this ship has a curfew for 17 and below.
We went to see the ice skating show and enjoyed it. The entertainment was pretty good. We never saw the comedian perform, but we saw the parade, the love and marriage game and one of the performances in the theatre. All were good. The stage productions were really done well.
Aquanauts was great for our son. He mostly went in the evenings except for the stop in Jamaica. They stay open until 10pm (part of your cruise..no additional charge),however from 10pm-1am it's $5 and hour to leave him there in the late night program. You can even get in cabin sitting for $8 an hour if you really want to, but we never used it.
We spent a lot of evenings in the Chamber. We don't gamble but I did play bingo once. A night club on the ship that played a lot of top 40 music and a few classics and oldies but goodies. Everything from Jay Z and Beyonce to songs like Sweet Home Alabama and She's a Brick House. This place was always filled with people dancing and having a good time. My cruise tab at the end of the trip confirmed just how much time we spent in the Chamber.
I used the gym and ran on the outdoor track a few times. The gym had a ton of equipment and exercise machines were always available. I never had to wait for a bike or treadmill.
We went to Nassau and just shopped in the Straw market and had a few drinks at Senor Frog's. Last year we did more at Nassau, but we decided this was a good stop to kind of go at our own pace. I watched a lady make a purse I purchased at the straw market. That was pretty nice. Lots of fun at Senor Frog's...friends from cruise critic were there with us and it was a blast.
We hit Ocho Rios Jamaica and did the Dunns River Falls and Fern Gully with Ione McBeam. We were the only two on the tour so we had personal service all day. We got to the falls early and paid a guide $20 to take us on our own instead of in a group. I was really worried about all the children and I was terrified that one might get hurt. I just couldn't relax holding on to the hand of a 4 year old. I have a son that is 5 and I left him at adventure ocean for this one. He loved every minute of it and was constantly asking me when he could go back to play with his new friends. Our driver took us to lunch at a nice restaurant overlooking the beach. He took us to a place where a guy performed with fire on an old fashioned wheel. Very entertaining. We did some shopping and he had us back to the ship in plenty of time to pick up the kid and hit the pool.
We went to Grand Cayman and did the Stingray tour with Soto's. We seriously messed up with the time. We waited an hour since our clocks were on ship time and it was really hot that day. It was kind of tough getting to the boats because they didn't bring enough buses to pick up everyone and we ended up in a taxi van. The excursion itself was well worth the $26 per person we paid though. We snorkeled in two places and saw some great fish and an eel. We even saw turtles. Then headed over to the sandbar to see the stingrays. Our son did ok snorkeling. I kept having to adjust his mask for him (borrowed equipment from Soto's) but he had a lot of fun. The stingrays were everywhere. My son was really thrilled with them and he still talks about them now. We picked up a few overpriced souvenirs and headed back to the ship.
Cozumel was the best stop I think. We got of the ship when we were ready, jumped in a taxi and headed over to Paradise Beach. Beautiful beach with lots to do. Bar, floating rock wall, beach mats to float on, food menu...a little shop, beach chairs, a trampoline...and all you have to pay for is the food and drinks. I highly recommend this beach. After that we went to Senor Frogs...yes, we are still young and we tend to do a little drinking and partying on vacation. We had a blast. They have a pool and my son and husband were in it until we headed back to the ship. I was sitting next to the pool with friends and we got some great picture of them with drinks in hand while dancing in the pool. The son only had a soda...thank you.
The last day on the ship was relaxing. We went to the pool, ate a lot and slept outside some too.
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. I would go on this ship again. Yeah, we got the tiny inside cabin but we were barely ever in it.
Getting of the ship. We got off after we ate breakfast. I think around 8:30 and the line was long, but it moved and we got to the airport in plenty of time to go standby and get out on an 11:30 flight home.
All in all, Royal Caribbean has me looking for another cruise. I'm thinking about December. Maybe my mom will go with me?? Less
Explorer of the Seas Cruises to the Western Caribbean