This was our fifth cruise aboard RCCL. We are now Platinum status. I can only say what a ship. LOS was by far the best of the ships we have sailed on with RCCL.
We flew down to Fort Lauderdale the day before. We always do this to take the stress out of worrying about making the ship. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Fort Lauderale. Got a great AAA rate. The hotel was clean and comfortable. The free breakfast was very substantial. The day of the cruise I had booked Quality Limo Service. They were very prompt and it took less than 30 minutes to get to the Port of Miami. Let me say that RCCL has it down in terms of embarkation on LOS. Once we arrived we were on the ship in less than 30 minutes. It was the most efficient of all the RCCL cruises we have taken. Hats off to the RCCL staff in Miami.
Once we were on the ship we headed to Portofino to make a reservation for dinner during the week. The food and service were above and beyond. The menu has changed since last year and was exceptional. I would highly recommend this experience. I have eaten many times at the Culinary Institute of America and can say that the dining experience in Portofino is comprable. It is worth the 20.00 dollars.
DH and DS went to purchase the soda package which if you drink a lot of soda is definately worth it. This cruise we purchased the water package (12 bottles) for the week. It was nice to have the water for the port days to take to the beach. We all went to the Windjammer to have lunch. The food was good with an extensive variety. Wait staff were great and very attentive. When I go on vacation I like to eat in the main dining room but the Windjammer was a nice second.
Our room was ready early and we stayed in a D1 cabin on Deck 9. It had a sofa bed for DS. He is over 6ft tall and it was perfect for him. Yes with three people in a cabin it can get crowded but our Cabin Steward (Maria) did a wonderful job of keeping everything organized for us during the week. Her towel animals were very well done and quite different from previous cruises. Creativity was evident.
We had the first seating for dinner which works for us. Our wait staff, Turnell and Ezgi were fabulous and always present with the next drink or added dessert. This is the first time in five cruises that the Head Waiter(use a different title now) was present every night. He made sure that we had everything we needed and that all of our dining needs were being met. What impressed me the most was that he actually helped his wait staff by getting drinks and even clearing the table. That to me says a lot about him as a person. The food in the dining room I felt was above average. I did not have a bad meal during the entire cruise. Remember how many people they are cooking for every day. It is not five star dining but it is quite good.
Mike the Cruise Director did a phenomenal job as did his staff throughout the entire cruise. He is a man with a lot of energy. He was always present during the day and willing to talk with people. The activities on the ship were great. The shows were the best we have ever seen on any RCCL cruise. The Up in the Air show was amazing. The Unexpected Boys were the headliner show. I love Frankie Valle so I thought it was great. The Ever After show was different but very enjoyable. The two comedians were extremely funny. Do not miss Kivi Rogers if you ever have the chance to see him. He was hysterical.
We went ashore at every port. I particularly loved Grand Cayman. The beaches and sand have to be seen to believe that the water can be that many shades of blue. DH, DS, and I went parasailing. It was a great experience. We took a cab to Royal Palms and spent the day there. The drinks and food were great. Make sure to ask for Frank at the bar he made great drinks. Try the Cayman Sunrise.
In Cozumel we did the Nachi Cocum Beach Club which was excellent. Manuel was our waiter for the entire day. The beach was quiet. Food and drinks were good. DH and DS rented a jet ski and enjoyed that very much. Our friends did an hour snorkling trip and saw sea turtles and many different varieties of fish.
In Labadee we just hung out on the beach for the day. Make sure you try the Labadoozel drink. It is all they say it is.
Jamaica was very interesting. I hired a private guide for the day and we saw a lot of the country side which is quite beautiful. We spent the day at the Enchanted Park which is similar to Dunns River Falls but IMO much more beautiful. They had a pool, botanical gardens and an aviary. The food and drinks there were quite reasonable.
Disembarkation went smoothly until we go to the luggage carousel. Our luggage came out quite quickly but our friends took over an hour to locate. Make sure you use the porters there as they get you out faster than trying to handle all your luggage on your own. Trust me it is worth it. We then got the Hertz shuttle to pick up our rental. This was not without drama. They did not have the car we had reserved. This happened to many others as well who were on our sailing and needed a car.
Let me finish by saying that I am a true RCCL fan. I cannot say enough about this cruise. The ship, the itinerary, the staff, the shows, etc. It was the best cruise by far and we will keep coming back to RCCL.