Another GREAT cruise w/ Family, Friends and Royal Caribbean
April 17th we arrived in Miami (a day ahead of our cruise) and stayed at the Villas at Doral. Great value ($250 for the night for a 2 bedroom, 2 bath Villa for 6 of us). We took a taxi to Bayside, enjoyed a harbor cruise for $20 pp (checking out the "money" in the Miami Bay area) and headed back to our Villa to take their shuttle across the street to the Doral Gold Club for dinner. A bit pricey, but fun to sit on the outdoor patio with a great view of one of the 4 courses. I thoroughly enjoyed my $16 glass of house pinot!!!!! A great start to a great vacation w/ family and friends.
April 18th-up early and to the Port of Miami. On board the Liberty of the Seas by 11:15 AM and headed straight to the Sky Bar for our first cocktail. The rest is history. Our bags arrive in plenty of time to change for dinner. Trying to save a little money this time around, we chose an inside cabin-never again. Big shock after having stayed in balcony cabins. We will survive and next time will book a balcony. The ship is full so there are no other cabins available. Our table for dinner is perfect and our dining room staff (Andy and Jayesh) are the best. We have never had a bad experience with RCI in the dining room. We are a party of 8 (all family) and we have a table just for us-just the way we like it.
April 19th-day at sea-plenty of sun, cocktails, entertainment, great food, good fun. We head to the Schooner Bar and find the best bar staff (a shout out to Angelita and Constantine-We miss you already!!!!!!!).
April 20 First stop is Labadee. We are off the ship early. A bit crowded getting to the tender but that is to be expected-be patient-everyone seems to want to get off the ship at the same time. If you don't have an excursion planned that you need to get to, you are better off waiting a while to go ashore. My husband and his brother in law both had an appt for the Dragon's Breath ZipLine which they loved and 4 of us had an afternoon Parasailing appt which was cancelled due to rough seas. We were told the best plan is to book these types of excursions early before the waters get too choppy. RCI refunded our money promptly for this. Don't forget to have your Labadoozee!!!!!!!!
April 21 Montego Bay Jamaica-Had a blast here. We signed up for the Chukka Jungle River Tubing Adventure. Our guides name was DelRoy and he was quite entertaining. We took the rather short bus ride to the White River, were equipped with life jackets, superior tubes, tied together in a group of 8 and off we went down the river. We were even able to bring along some nice cold Coronas for the ride and DelRoy supplied a nice gallon of homemade rum punch!!!!! We tipped him well and would definitely do this again (and request DelRoy of course). They take photos along the way and you can buy them when you get back to the start of the course (where you can also get some jerk chicken (a Jamaican speciality) and some great chicken and beef patties too. Don't forget to have some Red Stripe Beerthe official beer of Jamaica.
April 22 Grand Cayman-4 of us signed up for the Dolphin Push Pull Swim excursion and this was something I will never forget. These creatures are amazing and we had so much fun. They take photos of you during the entire excursion and they also make a video. We did not buy the video ($50) but we did buy a couple of the pictures. If you have a waterproof cameral, you can take it with you. Lockers are provided for youbring a towel from the ship. Sunscreen is not allowed unless it is eco friendly. After your encounter with the dolphin you go across the street to Turtle Cove. Don't forget to try a "Caybrew"The official beer of the Cayman Islands!!!!!
April 23 Cozumel-This was a LONG day for all of us. Up early and off the ship early. We are going to Tulum for the 8 hr Mayan Ruin Excursion. We leave the ship and take a 45 minute ferry ride to the main land. I have to warn you, the ferry ride can be quite a rocky ride. My husband and I did not experience any seasickness on this but many did. They will pass out barf bags and put baskets in the aisles for you. It was like a roller coaster in a large enclosed, very modern ferry, but....it's the only way to the mainland. From there we took a 30 minute bus ride to the ruins. Our guide was great very friendly and he loves his country. I was totally bored with the ruins as I am not into history at all. It was quite hot too. Make sure you wear sunscreen and bring water with you. After the tour we stopped for a nice cold Corona before getting back on the bus to a beach for a nice Mexican buffet and a little time to swim, then back on the bus and back to the ferry to rock and roll back to the ship. We did not get back to the ship until 6:45 (ship was sailing at 7PM)dinner was at 6 but out wait staff knew we'd be late that day (we told them the night before). My husband and I opted out of dinner in the dining room, showered, dressed and headed to Johnny Rockets-it was great. Best burger and great entertainment. The minute you sit down they serve you onion rings and fries. It did not cost us a thing since we had coupons for our $3.95 cover charge (which is actually a tip for the staff). Well worth it, even if we had to pay it out of our pockets!!!! NOTE-none of us came home with the SWINE FLU!!!!!!!
April 24 -our final full day on the ship and a day at Sea. We are beat. My husband and I took a 3 hr nap today while the rest of our family hung out by the pool. We were pooped.
April 25 We took advantage of the new Valet Luggage Service$20 pp and applicable airline baggage fees. RCI gets your luggage to the airport and even prints your boarding passes and delivers them to your cabin the night before you leave. Great service will use this again for sure. We were up early, had breakfast in the Windjammer Cafe, as we did each morning and got off the ship around 9:30. Since we had a late afternoon flight, we headed back to Bayside to shop a bit and have lunch before heading to the airport.
A short note on our cruise direction-Jamesmy husband was accused of video taping shows and WI FI ing them to God knows where. He had a helmut cam which gave him hands free taping of our vacation but at no time was video taping shows (which is against RCI policy). He threatened that security would contact us, but no one ever did. It peeved my husband, but I got over it with a nice cold cocktail!!!!!!
All in all RCI is the best-we love it. Never any complaints and cannot wait to board our next ship-Hopefully the Oasis!!!! Happy cruising to all.