Travel Day & Pre-cruise: We flew Airtran into Fort Lauderdale for the best price, but we had to fly in on Thursday. I used my Choice reward points for Cambria Suites in Dania Beach (just built) for the two nights prior to the cruise. I booked a two king bedroom suite. This was perfect for us for the two days. Cambria Suites was excellent they had a shuttle that picks you up at the airport, and a shuttle that would take you to the cruise port. My sister in law and her husband used that service. I rented a car from Ace Car Rental who has a location at the airport and a location by the cruise port with free shuttle service to the port. We needed the car rental to get around for the two days because there is nothing around the hotel. I also brought my tom-tom(GPS) which was very helpful in getting around the Fort Lauderdale area. We wanted to see the Grandeur of the Seas that was in port, but we could not get into the port area to see it. We drove to the S.E. 17th street bridge and saw it sitting in the port. Next we wanted to see the Elbow Room from the famous movie "where the boys are" and found it at the intersection of Route A1A and Las Olas Blvd. right on the Fort Lauderdale coast. We then ate at the Rock Bar which was right down the street on A1A. The food was just okay. But the view was excellent!! The next day the Cambria Suites had a hot breakfast for $8.00 per person. It was just okay, but the muffins were pretty good. Then we went to the Fort Lauderdale beach for the afternoon. The surf was a little rough and the water was a little murky, but the weather was beautiful we had a nice afternoon. We ate lunch at Flavors of Italy Bistro by the beach which was excellent. Later we went to a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale called Mai-Kai 3599 N. Federal HWY, FT Lauderdale. This place served Polynesian/Chinese cuisine and it was excellent. They have a tropical garden in the back of the restaurant. They also have a happy hour from 5:00 to 7:00PM. Cruise Day 1 Sea Day Finally the day arrived that we were all waiting for. We got shuttled to the port and arrived at 10:30AM. We checked in and within minutes we were sitting on the second level waiting to be called to get on the ship. They sit you in the order you come in, according to your status level. We are Platium level and were the first ones in that area. They called us onboard about 11:20am. When you board the ship you are on deck 5 in the royal promenade. The only word is WOW!!!! This is amazing. We walked though the promenade and directly up to deck 8 Central Park and again WOW!!! We went to the park cafe and I had my first of many roast beef sandwiches EXCELLENT!!!! The soups were awesome. The rooms were ready about 1:00pm. After unloading the luggage we went exploring the ship. The layout front to back is similar to the voyage class ships but longer & wider. The entertainment is towards the front of the ship and the dining is towards the back of the ship. The exception is the boardwalk area which is in the back of the ship. This area has both eating and the aqua theater. We went up to deck 15 which has all the pools and sports activities including the flow riders and zip line. I was active on the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle threads. I organized all of the activities for the CC's during the cruise. The first thing I organized was the pre get together on the ship before sail away. I asked everybody to meet at the Sky Bar. Most of the people who signed up came to this. It was a nice way to break the ice coming on the cruise. After some great conversation and drinks we got ready for the muster drill. The muster drill was presented on TV in your designated area, but you didn't wear your life preservers. After that we got ready for our first meal. I'm going to list the entire menu each day because I could not find it before our cruise, and it would have been very useful to have because of scheduling a specialty restaurant prior to our cruise. Day 1 Sail Away Menu Casual Attire Appetizers: Smoked Fish Tapenade Vidalia Onion Tart Sopa de Tortilla Hot & Sour Shrimp Soup Chilled Watermellon Gazpacho Ceasar Salad Spinach Salad EntrEe: Pan Fried Pork Medallions Truffled Wild Mushroom Linguini Slow Roasted Prime Rib Grilled Mediterranean Quesadilla Pan Seared Golden Sea Bass Aloo Gobi Methi Desserts: Strawberry Pavlova Chocolate Cherry Cake Savarin Low-Fat Blueberry and Peach Cobbler Sugar-Free Chocolate Pot de Crème Ice cream - Sugar-Free ice Cream & Sherbet Alternate EntrEe's Liguini with Marinara Sauce Filet of Atlantic Cod Chicken Breast with Seasonal Herbs Black Angus Top Sirloin After diner we had our first show scheduled at 9:30 to 11:00pm Hairspray. I liked the show, but it wasn't my favorite it was a little drawn out. TIP: If you like the fruit tarts which are my favorite they have them daily in the Mondo Cafe in the promenade.
Cruise Day 2 Sea Day We had our meet & mingle today at 10:30am in Dazzles Lounge. About a little over a quarter of the people who signed up for the meet & mingle actually showed up. Royal had two people there who started things off. They had a raffle for some small items. They then handed over the event to me and I did the adult and kid gift swap scheduled for this event and most of the people who signed up for the gift swap showed up. The swap went pretty good and it created an atmosphere where you would have to get up and meet other people when swapping your gift. I made a map to show where all the people from cruise critic were from. I told everybody some trivia facts about the threads like the number of posts the top 10 people made, the professions of people and some facts shared on the threads. After the M&M we went to the Park Cafe and I had another roast beef sandwich & soup. We stopped by the Solarium Bistro and tried the lunch it was okay. We then went up to the pool and had not trouble finding a chair to sit by the pool. We stopped by the Solarium pool and again had no trouble finding a place to sit. Tonight is the Captains Gala Menu Formal Attire Appetizers: Shaved Cantaloupe and Honeydew Melon Shrimp Cocktail Escargots Bourguignonne Lobster Bisque Oxtail Broth Papaya & Pineapple Soup Caesar Salad EntrEe: Filet of Beef Shrimp Ravioli Grilled Seafood Brochette Roasted Duck Sautee Seasonal Mushrooms Potato Curry Desserts: Bittersweet Chocolate Souffle Double Strawberry Cheesecake Marinated Cherry Bake Low-fat Berry mousse Sugar-free Coconut Vanilla Layer Cake Ice cream - Sugar-Free ice Cream & Sherbet Alternate EntrEe's Liguini with Marinara Sauce Filet of Atlantic Salmon Chicken Breast with Seasonal Herbs Black Angus Top Sirloin After diner we had our second show Oasis of Dreams 9:00 to 10:00pm. This was one of the best shows that we saw.
Cruise Day 3 Labadee We always love Labadee and enjoy the day on the beach. We haven't been to Labadee since they added the pier for the ship. This is a great improvement!! It was nice to walk on and off the ship. Royal did an excellent job!! We use to go to the end beach, but now the new pier is in that location. Now we take a right and go to the next beach. We always liked the barbeque. They had some jerked chicken that was pretty good. We ventured through the Haitian market place and bought some items. They also changed the market place for the better. They have the vendors lined up this street and not inside of a small building much better Royal!! My BIL and I went on the new dragon coaster. This ride winds up the mountain by the zip line. I ride was very scenic and fun, but organization for getting on the ride was very disorganized. We almost left without riding. We took our usual walk to dragon's point and then back to the ship for some yogurt and some time in the pool. We did not eat in the main dining room tonight because we had a Chops reservation at 6:30pm for tonight. The meal at Chops was excellent. I had the 10oz Filet and tried the shrimp EntrEe for an extra $10.00 fee. The shrimp entrEe was not good I do not recommend it, but everything else was excellent. As everybody knows you have to schedule all your entertainment and specialty restaurants prior to the cruise because after you board it is impossible to schedule anything. I would have not scheduled Chops for tonight because the menu in the main dining room was excellent and this is why I'm listing all the menus for this sailing. Tonight menu is Venetian Feast Casual Attire Appetizers: Caprese Salad Antipasti Scallop Risotto Creamy Roasted Garlic Soup Minestrone Soup Strawberry Bisque Caesar Salad Insalata Mistra EntrEe: Lamb Shank with Rosemary Rigatoni Pasta Garlic Tiger Shrimp Chicken Marsala Eggplant and Roma Tomato Bake Ragu Paneer Dhansak Dessert: Warm Chocolate Cake Rasberry Panna Cotta Tiramisu Low-Fat Angel Food Cake Sugar-Free Chocolate Mint Cake Ice cream - Sugar-Free ice Cream & Sherbet Alternate EntrEe's Rigatoni with Marinara Sauce Filet of Atlantic Cod Chicken Breast with Seasonal Herbs Black Angus Top Sirloin After diner I scheduled the 10:30 Stand-Up Comedy Show. This show was really funny. We were laughing from the time it started to the time it ended. I would highly recommend these shows.
Cruise Day 4 Sea Day At 10:30am I had another Cruise Critic activity scheduled. This one is called a Cabin Crawl/Poker run. Most everybody who signed up participated. We started at the highest cabins on the 11th floor and worked down to the lowest cabins. We saw the normal inside and balcony cabins, but we also saw an inside Central Park Balcony Stateroom and it was very nice. The best cabin was the Aqua Suite. The suite had a master bedroom that you go out to the balcony and the living room was also connected to the balcony which you could watch the Aqua shows from. There was another inside bedroom that sleeps 4. They said the living room has another bed, but I would say 6 people would fit nicely. By the way winning hand was two kings. We had lunch again at the Park Cafe and I had another roast beef sandwich & soup. We stopped again at the Solarium Bistro and I didn't like it this time. We did some shopping in the promenade because we were starting to get too much sun. At 4:00pm I had another Cruise Critic activity scheduled. This one is call a Slot-Pull. Again most everybody who signed up participated. I collected $21.00 from everybody who wanted to play. We picked the wheel of fortune machine so that everybody would have 7 spins at max bet in order to try and activate the wheel. I was very exciting watching the wheel spin every time we hit it. After all was said and done we tripled our money!!!! Tonight's menu is Surf menu Casual Attire Appetizers: Summer Fruit Medley Crab & Noodle soup Chicken & Cabbage Dumplings Cream of Mushroom Soup Seafood Laska Guava & Banana Soup Caesar Salad Rainbow Salad EntrEe: Surf & Turf (filet & Shrimp) Lasagna al Forno Roasted Free-Range Chicken Asian Fried Tofu Pan-Fried Basa Filet Khoombi Bhonna Desserts: Passion-Berry Mousse Banana Crème Pie Coconut Crème Brulee Low-Fat Mango Pudding Sugar-Free Pineapple Parfait Ice cream - Sugar-Free ice Cream & Sherbet Alternate EntrEe's Penne with Marinara Sauce Filet of Atlantic Salmon Chicken Breast with Seasonal Herbs Black Angus Top Sirloin After diner I scheduled the 8:30pm headliner show which was The Unexpected Boys. This show was just okay. Adult Karaoke at 10:00 to 11:15 there were some really good singers. Cruise Day 5 Costa Maya, Mexico This was really our first disappointment. We could not dock because of the windy sea conditions in the port area so today was another sea day. They gave us back our port charges. I had a couple of neat things planned for this port, maybe next time. We hung out at the pool and later I did the Zip line on the ship. Note: before going to the zip line make sure your clothes are not wet and you have sneakers not flip flops. If you are afraid of heights they make you perch on the edge of the zip line and then you have to lunge out to go. If you are afraid of heights you might not lunge out FYI. Tonight's menu is actually day 6's Chef's Menu because tomorrow we will be in port late and they do the formal diner tonight when everybody is on board. Appetizers: Egg Plant and Kalamata Olive Tartare Seafood Salad Creamed Wild Mushrooms in Puff Pastry Creamed Asparagus Double Duck Consomme Roasted Peach Soup Caesar Salad House Salad EntrEe: Thai BBQ Chicken Breast New England Bay Scallops & Ziti Fisherman's Plate (lobster & Garlic Shrimp) Slow Roasted Aged Prime Rib Greek Style Vegetarian Moussaka Kabuli Chana Desserts: Cherries Jubilee Dessert Sampler Low-Fat Double Passion Fruit Cheesecake Sugar-free Red Berry Tart Ice cream - Sugar-Free ice Cream & Sherbet Alternate EntrEe's Ziti with Marinara Sauce Filet of Atlantic Salmon Chicken Breast with Seasonal Herbs Black Angus Top Sirloin After diner I scheduled the 8:30pm Show Frozen in Time. This show was excellent!! Later we went again to Adult Karaoke the singers were pretty good.
Cruise Day 6 Cozumel, Mexico I planned a Day at Mr Sanchos. This is an all inclusive beach club. First you get a taxi from the pier to Mr. Sanchos about $14.00 for 4-people. When you first get there they put sombreros on you and take a picture. Later a girl comes around to sell you the picture $10.00. At this place you can either do the all inclusive or pay as you go, but as long as you are drinking and eating you can use their facility (they don't check too closely). I would suggest to pay as you go. The food was just okay. The beach was nice but a little murky because of the tropical storm/hurricane that passed through. We left about 1:30pm to go into Cozumel for some shopping. The taxi was a little more $16.00 for 4-people. After shopping the taxi was $7.00 back to the pier. I did something I always wanted to do by the ship in the port. The water always looks so good while you are walking back on the pier to the ship. Carlos & Charlie's has a slide right into the water by the pier. Down I went it felt sooo good. We went up to the pool and got some frozen yogurt and then we got ready for dinner. Tonight's menu is actually day 5's menu Anchored in excellence Casual Attire Appetizers: Fresh Seasonal Fruits House Terrine Crab Cake New England Clam Chowder Asian Style Chicken Soup Chilled Golden Delicioius Apple Soup Caesar Salad Focaccia and Tomato Salad EntrEe: Panko-Cilantro Crusted Catch of the Day Cheese Tortelloni Roasted Garlic & Herb Rack of Lamb Pan-Fried Cauliflower Cakes Slow-Roasted Double Cut Pork Lion Steak Vegetable Vindaloo Desserts: Ivory Chocolate Fondue Apple Pie a la Mode Dulce De Leche Cheesecake Low-Fat Caramelized Pina Colada Tart Sugar-Free Fruit Pillow Ice cream - Sugar-Free ice Cream & Sherbet Alternate EntrEe's Linguini with Marinara Sauce Filet of Atlantic Salmon Chicken Breast with Seasonal Herbs Black Angus Top Sirloin After diner I schedule the 8:30pm show Come Fly With Me. I'm glad I checked the Cruise Compass on this show because it was 9:00pm not 8:30pm. So always check your compasses even if you pre-booked all your entertainment like I did from home. The show was excellent.
Cruise Day 7 Sea Day We didn't have much planned today, I asked the Cruise Critic Members to meet us at the main dining room for lunch. Only a handful of people came, but it was nice talking to everybody. The lunch menu for the main dining room rotates between the following menus: Menu 1: Grilled Chicken Yakitori Soup of the day Traditional Greek Salad Royal Caesar Salad Beef Tostada Salad Fried Chicken Tenders Grilled Open Face Steak Stanwich Grilled Turkey Burger Mushroom & Leek Quiche Moroccan Style Grilled Pita Singapore Noodles Chicken & Wild Mushrooms Pappardelle Desserts: Apple Parcel Decadent Chocolate Slice White Chocolate and Orange Flan Ice cream They also had fresh made salad in the middle of the dining room and pasta. Menu 2: (We had this menu on Friday) Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Salad Vietnamese Calamari Salad Royal Caesar Salad Soup of the day Asian Style Chicken Spinach Wrap Herb-Crusted Prawn Skewer Seafood Jambalaga Parmesan Crusted Catfish Grilled NY Strip Loin Open Sandwich Royal Burger Sweet Corn cakes Hand Pulled Smoked BBQ Pork Sandwich Pappardelle Carbonara Desserts: White Chocolate and Blueberry Cheese Cake B52 Melt Lemon Curd Cake Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart Ice Cream Sugar-Free dessert After Lunch we (my wife) started to pack. I went up to the flow rider and watched one of our Cruise Critic members (age55) do an awesome job in the flow rider competition (he took second place) We did some last minute shopping before dinner. Last dinner Feast of Nations Menu Casual Attire Appetizers: Moroccan Spiced Chicken Salad Shrimp Cocktail Spinach Dip Cream of Pumpkin Soup Onion Soup Chilled Raspberry and Pineapple Soup Caesar Salad EntrEe: Shrimp & Mahi Mahi Tempura Grilled NY Strip Steak Tomato Basil & Mozzarella Calzone Rice Biryani Roasted Turkey Potato Gnocchi Dessert: Chocolate Brownie Sanwich Key lime Pie Banana and Crunchy Nut Parfait Low-Fat Apple Cake Sugar-Free Key lime Pie Ice cream - Sugar-Free ice Cream & Sherbet Alternate EntrEe's Conchiglie with Marinara Sauce Filet of Atlantic Salmon Chicken Breast with Seasonal Herbs Black Angus Top Sirloin After dinner we met some of the C&C that we hung around with during the cruise Alysia & Kent it was great seeing you again and Jan & Tony it was great meeting you guys. We went to the final Karaoke and the top three were just great. I hoped this will help some of you who are trying to plan both the entertainment and the dining. The times we selected for shows were perfect for the early seating. We love sailing on Royal Caribbean all the staff was excellent. A special shout out to our cabin steward Marta, head waiter Johannes, waiter Edderick and assistant waiter Genuine. Cindy Dangel loyalty Ambassador was excellent. We really liked our cruise director Richard Spacey. We will be cruising again on Royal Caribbean somewhere!!!