This was the first experience for me and my husband (both healthcare professionals, mid 30th). The idea to cruise was first suggested by the in-laws, and we jumped-in. I have to say that we both usually prefer more active type of vacation and the idea to be confounded to the ship premises for several days was somewhat bothersome. However, I have to say, it was much better that we anticipated.
We decided to fly-in from Montreal the day before, so we just spent a relaxing evening in Galveston. On Sunday, the Feb 28th at about 11:30 we parked at the 81st and Dolphin (good service, no waiting, paid $55), took the shuttle to the terminal, and dropped our bags. The total time from the baggage section to the ship was about 1.5h. We brought 2 bottles of wine and some bottled water in the carry on, no problem. Our cabin was immediately available and all our bags arrived shortly after (first the 2 and the 3d one 30mins later).
After much consideration I opted for interior cabin on the lowest deck (Riviera). I was really afraid on getting see sick and I figured out that not seeing the sea and being rather low on the ship may help. I did not regret my decision. The stateroom was nice and cozy, very clean, plenty of storage space. The service was very good and we were never bothered. Our steward Rino did a wonderful job. Since we love exercising, going upstairs all the way to Lido was a good thing for us. Getting off the ship in the ports of call from the deck 1 was also a breeze as the debarkation was from the deck 0. Food: average, not bad, not great either. Always same selection at the buffet where we had our breakfast and lunch. For the dinner we had a late seating (8:15pm). I was OK. We did go to the Steak house: good service, good food. Service in the dining room was OK.
Gym and sauna: we loved the facilities. Modern machines, plenty of space. The gym is located in the FW section of the ship, so he view from the trade mile is just beautiful. The staff was very friendly and always greeted us by first names. Spa: I took2 treatments and liked them both. Entertainment: we did not go to any shows or activities, so really cannot say anything. Weather: it was rather windy and more a cool side.
Ports of Call:
Montego Bay. We have selected the horseback ride with a possibility swim with horses in the ocean in the morning. It was very nice. I want to reassure people who have little to none riding experience as us: if you mention it, the guide will stay close to you and will guide your horse through difficult parts. We also booked the Dreamer Catamaran snorkeling tour in the afternoon. It was cancelled because of the weather. It would have been very tight time-wise but we were still disappointed to not be bale to snorkel.
Grand Cayman. Big disappointment. Due to high winds we were not able to tender and proceeded straight to Cozumel. We still believe that this could have been foreseen and we probably could proceed to Cozumel right away and spend 2 days there, but we are not sure if it is even possible.
Cozumel. Beautiful day, sunny and clear.The sea was absolutely beautiful. We have slit our efforts for this day: i went diving with the beginners and my husband went for 2 tank certified dive. I absolutely loved the experience. It was shallow, 25ft dive from the shore. My husband appreciated his experience as well. However, he mentioned that the equipment was rather dated and he was asked to pay extra $10 for the wetsuit.
Debarkation was uneventful. We self assisted and we out in about 45 mins.
Out shuttle was waiting for us and we went straight to the parking lot.
Overall a pleasant experience. We may try it again with a longer cruise ( 2 nights per port of call).