We flew into Miami on American Airlines arriving around 12:20pm. We used our air miles and got to fly First Class for free! Awesome! Quickly got our luggage and arrived by Taxi at the Port around 1:00pm. Lines weren't too bad. We are Platinum members, so although there were many people there, it really only took 15-20 minutes to get on the ship. Not the fastest I've ever been on, but not horrible either. We went straight to our rooms and dropped off our bags then down to the Promenade for wonderful prosciutto and red pepper sandwiches then over to Sorrento's for pizza and an Antipasto salad. So good! We ate at these two places everyday. Think we only made it to the Windjammer twice for lunch.
We met up with our friends (who had arrived earlier) and walked the ship a little bit then decided to take a nap before the Super Bowl game. Well, you can guess what happened - slept a little too long and missed the first quarter! Oops. But it was a real nice set up in Studio B. All the food you would want for a Super Bowl Game at home - nachos, sandwiches, hamburgers, hotdogs with all the fixings and of course, desserts of all kinds.
Our dinner table #414 was second seating. We had a fabulous "nice" guy - Bernardo from Peru as our waiter and Sherma, our beverage and bread gal, from Trinidad. Beautiful and sweet. They did an awesome job all week! We let her know from the beginning that we loved savory bites, and every night she loaded us up with an extra little plate of them. After dinner we considered going to see a movie in the Screening Room - took us a while to find it. But decided we were all too tired. But it looks like a nice set up for anyone who is in the mood for a movie night.
Day 2: Next morning was the only morning I woke up and got a 2 mile walk in before breakfast. Then it was over. No more good intentions - just all went down the drain. Oh well. Spent a relaxing day tanning in the sun, reading, and watching the belly flop contest. Also if you haven't tried the shrimp and egg sandwiches in Cafe Promenade - they are the best one the make! They only offered them this day!! Later we went rock climbing - (very fun) and watched people try the flowrider and the dodge ball competition. This was a formal night. We went down for the free champagne and rum punch before dinner. After dinner we had formal pictures taken, then off to the show: Gallery of Dreams. These shows are not always the greatest, but I wouldn't say it was terrible either. I use the time to relax and unwind if I'm not truly enjoying it.
Day 3: Costa Maya - A beautiful day - 87 degrees! We took a taxi from OUTSIDE the gate for $2 pp. Just told him to take us to Majahual. Once there we walked the Malecon (boardwalk area/strip) to check it out and see what our options were. We were constantly confronted by someone telling us what he had to sell. Massages ranged from $15 to $25 per hour. Tons of snorkeling trips and other activities offered also. After walking the strip, we crossed over to the beach area and walked back on the water's edge close to where we started. Finally settled in at "El Delfin" They let you use their lounge chairs free all day if you buy your beer and food from them. They also had 2 ladies (Bonnie and Lilia) set up with massage tables there - $15 for an hour massage! And they were the best massages we've ever had! 3 of the 4 of us took advantage of it. I tipped them $5 more each massage - so we ended up paying $20 per. So worth it! You know those ladies work hard and they deserve the tip. Bucket of Beer was 6 for $10. Fish, chicken, or seafood taco's 3 for $7. Everything was great! We did a bit of shopping here also, you have to haggle though. They start super high. I wanted a bracelet that they started at $120 - ended up getting it for $15 (with a $1 for the guy for his "tip" as he put it. ?) My husband got a nice heavy silver chain for $10. Taxi back - $2 pp. No need to worry about taxi's, they are everywhere waiting to take you back. Ended up a wonderful relaxing day!
There was an "Up in the Air" production this night. I really didn't think much of it personally. Oh well. We had prearranged to wear black and white this night with all our friends. The pictures turned out awesome on the "white" background, So glad we planned that out. Us ladies all had zebra print or floral black and white dresses, the guys just plain black or white. Worked well.
This was also 70's night - so after dinner checked out the party on the Promenade. Always fun!
Day 4: Belize. Up and off the tender at 8am. We didn't realize Belize is 1 hour behind us, so we were very early for our excursion with Coral Breezes. We booked the Caye Caulker Exploration and Sting Ray snorkel for $69. So we did our shopping in the morning and just hung out for awhile waiting. Excursion had around 20 or 25 people on the boat. It wasn't the nicest day, a little cool, but once we hit the water, it was warmer in the water than outside. The stingrays were amazing! They just came all around you, thru your legs, on your body. I was literally squealing! So much fun. The snorkel tour was also pretty neat - they had a "beginner" snorkel group guide that stayed closer to the boat and the more experienced snorkelers could follow another guide further on. The stop at Caye Caulker was the best. I wish we had more than an hour there. Cool place. The sun had finally decided to come out and warm us up. We opted against buying the meal with the tour and decided to head out to find this guy name "Carlos" that has a little BBQ on the main street of the road that I had read about on cruise critic. Sure enough - we found him. Got lobster and red snapper BBQ'd skewers with rice and coleslaw for $7.50. Chicken was $5.00. Not eating with the tour also gave us more time to see the island, because we had to walk to find Carlos. But later realized we could have hopped on one of the little "taxi's" (golf carts) for cheap and seen more. Remember - their money is half of ours. $10 their money is only $5 US. And now that I think of it, I'm wondering if we double paid Carlos?... oh well. Anyway, fun excursion, the only worry was getting back to the ship in time. But as we did cut it close, it wasn't that bad. They told me they had never missed a tender for a cruise passenger yet, so I had some confidence we wouldn't be the first. And we weren't. But we did take the last tender in, so there was a little anxiety.
Love and Marriage show after dinner is always hilarious!
Day 5: Cozumel - We headed out to Chankanaab Park. Taxi was $10 for 4 people. Really neat snorkeling there, but here again, it took awhile for the sun to come out. So a bit cloudy early on in the day. We bought the combo package for $25 - entrance fee, t-shirt, drink and tickets to the dolphin, manatee and sea lion shows. I had printed off the $2 coupon discount on line. But we couldn't use it with the combo deal. Not sure if it was worth the extra $ for the combo. Didn't need a T-shirt. Shows were dumb. Beer was only $2 anyway. So if we had gotten in for $17 - could have bought 4 beers and still been at the $25 cost. Husband found a sinkhole/tunnel not far from one of the entrances into the snorkeling area. A big hole, as he looked down into it, he thought he could see light out the end of it, so he went for it. He said it was about 10-12 ft long tunnel - several fish and a barracuda in it. He went thru several times - scraped himself up a little bit, he said it got a little tight in one spot but not anything to speak of really. I video taped it - pretty cool. Bring food/cereal something to bring the fish to eat. We forgot. They were very ready to eat from you and expected it actually. You can also go thru and see the Mayan ruins, not sure if they are real though, kinda looked like replicas. But pretty to walk thru. The shops were very cheap to buys trinkets and such. Lots of shopping near the port also. Cheap prices! If you buy vanilla here, make sure you read the ingredients. The only mistake we made!! We bought a big bottle of "garbage"! Oh well. Live and learn.
Later that evening -Production Show: Ever After - really enjoyed this one.
Day 6: Grand Cayman We did the Moby Dick Stingray tour. You can just walk up to their stand when you get off the ship. BTW - There's tons of these stands with tours when you get off the boat, so lots to choose from. I think we were on their overflow boat ($25). I got the feeling their regular tour is better ($40). Much different than the Belize experience. Bigger rays, but not as many. Snorkel stop was just ok. Nothing fantastic. They dropped us off at 7 mile beach and we leisurely walked back to the ship. Took us about 1.5 hours - long walk, but nice. Beautiful hot day!
Later than evening we attended the special event for Platinum and Diamond Members - it was actually pretty cool. Free drinks and appetizers, some dancing and neat stories from the Captain and the guy who had the most cruises for the week - 246 I think was his total cruises... or something crazy like that.
Headliner show was New York Vagabonds after dinner. Actually pretty good. Enjoyed this one.
Day 7: Sea Day - Slept in. Late Breakfast. There was a big food production "Culinary Showcase" on the Promenade Deck with awesome choices. But very crowded. Husbands decided to try out the flowrider one last time - always fun to watch. They wanted to be in the Rock Climbing competition but when they went to sign up around 3pm, the gal at the desk told them it was at 5pm. I knew it said 4pm in the Compass, but figured it must have been changed for some reason. Sure enough, when we showed up at 5pm it was over. That was irritating!!
Made reservations at Portofino's for 6:30pm. Had the most awesome meal of my life. It was a long meal though, 3 hours! Later, after we put our luggage out for the night, we played cards with our friends in the Olive and Twist till 2am! We weren't even drinking, just water, we just let the waiter know we were there to play cards and enjoy the music and they pretty much left us alone. Very cool.
Overall a very nice trip. The ship is kept very clean and the staff is friendly. Interestingly, we never met our Stateroom Attendant - Michael - until the 3rd day!! He apologized for it, (not that it was a problem) - he always had our stateroom shipshape - and did a fabulous job. Great guy.
Our group was 3 couples, between the ages of 42-50 and I think we all enjoyed the trip immensely.