We left Texas in 34 deg temps and flew into Orlando the day before the cruise. We picked up our Budget van and headed to the port. It was raining and it was beginning to look like a vacation that was not so much fun. We checked into the Country In and Suites and unloaded our Over Sized suitcases. We headed out to find the local "rum store" to fill our rum runners. Decided to locate some food and found the best steak house in the area. We ate at Gregory's in Cocoa Beach and recommend it to everyone. Vacation is now looking better. We used a TA that is our friend and she made sure that everything was just perfect. After a hot breakfast we located the Budget place, returned the car and headed to the port in their bus. We were a lot eager, little early and stood in the cold air and watched the returning folks exit the ship. Gave our suitcases to the porters, headed inside for the start of the experience. Thanks to the online process, we gave them our papers and passports had our seapasses in 5 minutes. We only waited till 11:15 and headed on board. We watched our friends come on board and we all were ready for fun.
We headed to the MDR to check our tables for late dining. We had a table for 4 by the window. I also went up to the spa and set up the manicures for day 3 to make sure we got them in before everyone else started booking. We headed down to the promenade and ate pizza as we waited for the rooms to open at 1:00. We dropped off our carry ons and headed out to check out the rest of the ship. Our M&M group had an early meeting at 3 to get a jumpstart on getting to know them all. We headed back to our cabins and unpacked to get things all put away.
The muster was no problem, lasted such a short time in comparison to previous cruises and not needing to wear the life jackets as great. The wind was blowing about 40 miles and hour and at sailaway, we were finding it difficult to stay on deck since it was so cold. We finally located a secluded spot by the excercise room and enjoyed the view as we got on our way. We were getting a little hungry and since dinner was still 3 hours away we headed to the WJ. Too crowded and everyone still new on board and lots of confusion. Was not our favorite place to eat. In fact we only ate 3 times in the WJ the entire time we were on board. Dinner at 8:00 was just great and we got to meet Raj and Carol, the best waiter and asst waiter ever. They are a perfect team.
Day 2 was to be Coco-cay and we got up to misty rain. Decided to not do the wave runners and it was a good thing. It rained so hard, they brought back the crew and food since the island was flooding. We pulled up anchor and headed on to St Thomas. Formal night was great, we all looked terrific in our black outfits. My DH wore his tuxedo and our friend had on a black suit. Both of us ladies had on black with sparkle and the 4 of us looked spectacular. All the picture venues were set up and we took advantage of all of them. A quick word about the entertainment. The singers and dancers on the FOS are all top quality. The guest stars were all very good. Drew Thomas and his magic were very good and the two comedians were very funny. Bowser and his guys were fun to watch. We enjoyed all of the special shows. The ice rink show was better than we expected and we had tickets for Friday afternoon. We ate in the MDR for breakfast 3 mornings and had room service the rest of the time. Enjoyed both and the food was hot in both places and eggs Benedict were delightful. Our lunches in the MDR were very good. We have not done MDR for lunch much in the past.
ST Thomas: Since we had been there before, we decided to do a taxi tour. Our friends had bought tickets for the cable car ride so we chose to ride around the island first and then go up to the top of the hill later in the day. We secured a driver on our own after we got off the ship and we stopped about 5 different places so the guys could take all the pictures they wanted. Maybe we will do one of the beach tours next time. The water was so clear and looked like such fun. We headed back to town to eat and got to get our shopping fix. We bought some black coral jewelry, perfume and cigars. No booze since getting it back home is not so easy any more with the airline restrictions on taking liquid on the plane. The trip ended with us all going to the top of the hill, buying more stuff and enjoying the view of the ship in the port. Back on ship, we saw the sunset over the hill and enjoyed and great dinner. .
St Maartin: We also chose to do our own taxi thing here and it was an excellent choice. We got to stop at one place where we got to hold sea urchins, sand dollars and star fish straight out of the surf. Got some great local color information from the driver, a native on the Dutch side. We got to Maho beach about lunch, which we ate right there while watching the planes land right over the beach. The 747 was a little late but we waited and got to see it land right over our heads. We headed back to the ship. We stopped along the way, had some great drinks and more shopping before taking the ferry back over to the dock. Sunset this time was at sea and was just perfect. We spent a lot of time in the Olive and Twist since it gave us perfect views of the fun down on deck and perfect views of the ocean. Another wonderful dinner in the MDR. Two great days at sea. My DH spent some time at the art auctions and we got some more of the stuff we like. The two days at sea, the warm weather and the gentle motion of the ship rocking at night; that finished off a great week.
Leaving the ship was so fast. We had breakfast in the MDR, walked off the ship, picked up our luggage, said hi to TSA with our passports and were off the ship waiting for the Budget bus in about 20 minutes. Our van was waiting and we drove to Orlando for lunch and then flights out at 4:15. The only bad thing was missing the shuttle launch. We were all out on deck at 4:30 waiting and the captain told us all of the delay. We all moaned since we were going to miss it but we had all got up at 4. Otherwise, FOS is outstanding and our friends decided we needed to cruise again.