This cruise was arranged as a surprise 50th birthday present for my husband. The day before his actual birthday, we presented him with Airline Tickets and the Royal Caribbean Cruise Booklet. To say he was taken by surprise was an understatement. Arrangements had been made to fly to Miami a day before the cruise, and we stated in the Days Inn Miami International Airport Hotel which was comfortable and friendly and reasonable for a 1 night stay. Transfers were provided courtesy of the hotel (brilliant) to the Port the following day.
On arrival at the port (approximately 11.30 a.m.), we were directed to baggage drop off (but being first-time cruisers and unsure of what to do, took our luggage on through to board!). This was a slight mistake as we had to have them with us until our cabins were ready. This meant navigating them with us in the Windjammer Cafe (trying to do this and choose the delicious food available for lunch) - a bit of a nightmare, we know not to do this next time! Anyway, back to the checking-in process, it was well organised and you flowed from area to area with ease, collecting Sea-board pass etc.,. Just before boarding, you get your picture taken (if you want) and then you are on-board.
This is when all the fun started. The best arrival welcome, the best organised, friendly and informative staff we have ever encountered. It was like arriving at a 5*+ hotel and the ship was immaculate!!!!! We could not believe the food that was available - the choices were unbelievable! After lunch, we went to explore the glorious surroundings of the ship. On Deck 12 - pool area - the band was playing and cocktails were being served - wonderful! Great start to our adventure.
After exploring most of the ship, our Cabin was ready and we headed down to off load the luggage. Here we were greeted by our Stateroom Attendant and as ordered, a bottle of Champagne was ready on ice in celebration of my husband's birthday! The room was fabulous (clean and welcoming). Throughout our stay, our Stateroom Attendant was excellent - nothing too much to ask and he cleaned our Cabin twice a day and turned down our bed every-night - WOW! Thanks Felix.
There is so much detail I would like to tell you about, but that would take far too long and you need to experience it to believe it! So now I will just give a brief description of the rest of the cruise. .... We dined every night in the Moonlight Dining Room - again brilliant staff and the food was delicious! We tried to go to as many events as we could but the choices were enormous (by the end of the Cruise, we needed another holiday) with the various bars, events, shopping etc., We also had breakfast everyday in the Windjammer; again we needed a lie-down afterwards as everything looked so appetising, we went a bit mad trying different things.
Unfortunately, we could not stop at our first port (Coco Cay, Bahamas) as the weather was too bad. Never-the-less, we still had a great time as special events were put on board to compensate and there was other areas of the Ship still to discover!!!
Formal night happened to be on Valentines night and all the stops were pulled-out for this event - FABULOUS. We tried out the disco every-night but started flagging about 1-2.00 in the morning knowing that we had another full programme of events to take in the next day. But we still had a brilliant time.
Our other Port of call was Nassau, which is a very friendly Island with wonderful beaches and shops. We must mention the evening entertainment which was great (the one's we managed to see). The only thing we could complain about was that we wished the cruise had been longer - hence the reason why we have now booked another one with the RCI for 7 nights this time instead!!!!
We have nothing but praise for this cruise and recommend any first-time Cruiser(if unsure) to take a 3 night cruise as a taster and you will be hooked. Disembarkation was like a military operation, we could not believe how the staff managed to get everyone off with so much ease!
We travelled back to our last Hotel stay by taxi (before returning back to the UK). We stayed in the Days Inn Miami Airport North Hotel. We arrived early but was allowed however to have our room that had been booked. This was really appreciated as we were exhausted and needed some rest after the cruise. Staff were very friendly and helpful and the room (although not as nice as the previous hotel) was sufficient enough for a 1 night stay.
We would thoroughly recommend this cruise and just hope our next one is just as memorable as this one. Thank you RCI.