Embarkation - a bit sticky - but it was my fault. I left the confirmation sheet at home. Knowing what room we were in helped this rectify this situation very quickly though. Thought it was tacky that one of the baggage stewards (takes your checked bags at the curb) 'told' us to tip him... Gentleman who checked us in at the desk was a jewel!! Such a great personality that I would say our vacation started with him! Lines moved quickly.. every one was helpful and so very friendly!
Room - 9133 balcony room. Just beautiful!!! Port side which I was told was the best side for our itin. I agree, especially since I enjoy photography and we passed right by the old fort when coming into San Juan. The room seemed larger than what I expected even though I had seen pictures. Our bed was by the balcony and I loved this. we went to sleep with the curtains wide open so that when the sun rose, we could lay in bed and watch it. The bathroom was also very roomy (I want one of those showers in my house!)..no need for the over the door shoe holder thing some people talk about using. We did not even use all the storage space - and trust me when I say that I OVER PACKED! Did use the extension cord though. Loved the flat screen TV and the fact that they used a computer facial recognition system to send any pictures to our room that were taken of us! The light switch under the bed reading light not only controlled that light - but the ceiling room lights .. nice to not have to get out of bed to turn it all off (especially with the curtains open - ha ha) Also - loved the dimmer switch!
Note - we chose a balcony room..mostly because I love photography. We lived on that balcony.. we saw dolphins, birds, some kind of fish jumping and Ohhh - the shooting stars!!! I have come to the conclusion that the only people who tell you to save your money and just get an inside room ...are people who have never experienced a balcony!
Our room steward - D, was exceptional!!
Ship - spotless! We even saw them removing a glass panel by the elevators to clean the back of it.. (sniff sniff - I wanted to bring them home with me so they could clean my house!) Such an elegant ship!! Countless cozy places to relax, read, drink a glass of wine, snooze .. or visit with others.
Entertainment - We had one main purpose for this trip and it was to RELAX! Because of this - we did not go to every show. We did see Solstice the show - the circ de soleux (sp??) and it was really captivating. It started out slow but kept getting more and more exciting. We also went to another that was good - but what I really enjoyed was the captain who introduced must of the head crew. What a great sense of humor this captain had. But my all time favorite.. the show that had me laughing so hard my side hurt.. was the "Newly or Not so Newly Wed Show" ..which in our case, involved a couple who had been married for 57 years ...and went into detail about making love on the beech once..!
Food - The only specialty restaurant we went to was the Bistro and it was very very good! I wanted to go to the French restaurant..but time just got away with us. Room service was always prompt and the servings seemed larger than in the main dining room - NOT that we needed more food! We had breakfast almost daily on our balcony and 1 dinner after a tiring day in port. The Main Dining was very very good. I ate escargot almost every single night.. and a different main selection every evening. The baked alaska and cherries jubilee were wonderful. I normally eat fresh and raw foods - so this was a real treat that I would normally not allow myself.
Drinks - My husband has a health condition that does not allow him to drink...so all we did was bring 2 bottles of wine with us for me. Tea, water and fruit drinks were readily available and I found that it was a very good idea to take our drink canisters along with crystal light packets - especially on port excursions. Water on the ship was good - except for one night at dinner we both swore it smelled like fish!
Attire - I was so pleased to see so many men in tuxes on formal nights! The ladies were just stunning as well. Many men were in suits and ties as well.. and very very few dressed any more casual than that.
Casual nights were a mix. I wore a dress to dinner every night - because I wanted to. We had our pictures taken every chance we got - but that has to do with the fact that my husband will again be taking chemo. He had a beautiful full head of hair on our trip and we wanted some really good formal pictures of the two of us.
Sea Days - there was always something to do. I did not care for bingo though - too short for the $60.00 we dropped. Casino - we spent a whopping $20.00 in slots the whole trip - but we are not gamblers. we never had a hard time finding shade or sun spots to lay out by the pool. I loved the hot glass show. The stores were nice and on the second to last day of the trip - they had tables of stuff on sale.. many T-shirts 50% off. The stores were fun to stroll through - but $$. I saw some earrings made my La' monde (each earring a hemisphere of the earth) ..that my Mother bought on one of her cruises prior to her passing and wanted the pendant that went with it... untill I saw the $1600.00 price tag!
I loved that the card room was always full of families playing board games. I brought my own book - so I did not really check out the library. Too lazy to check out the gym..although I never tired of just walking around the ship! The lawn was a oddity - but I liked it. I am a farm girl though!
Children - one of my favorite pictures is one of a bunch of kids playing ball in a fenced in area.. obviously so the ball does not go over board.. but looking at the picture now - it looks as though the kids are in jail! ha ha.. On this ship the top floor is dedicated to the kids and kids club. It was great - I only saw one instance where children (age 10-12) were behaving badly - they were sliding down the stairs on some kind of board.. very dangerous and they were stopped by staff immediately! No parents in sight.. hummmm A few times we heard kids running down the hall...but not late at night.
Additional - I am so very happy to say that I do not have anything to add to the tread "What's the grossest thing you have seen on a cruise".
Disembark - so easy and simple.. but earlier than I thought it would be. We never made it to breakfast that morning!
Additional information: - the captain's noon time address was so popular that we noticed people leaving the elevator and coming out of their rooms (into the hallway) just to hear him speak.
The daily cruise ship 'papers' were interesting, and very informative. I found myself anticipating the next one and I brought them home with me.
I will say that in the main theatre, I found the seats to be a bit uncomfortable. They seemed to lean forward...but I have a tail bone "issue" - so that may be why I did not like them.
If you go to a presentation of Port shopping - sit in the front row. the lady who does it - throws out free T-shirts. We were too far away to catch one.
My Celebrity bag (not a better canvas one - but the cheap version) tore at the seam the first day I used it. :0(
Traffic is HORRIBLE in San Juan. Old San Juan was nice with the small shops and cobble stone roads and I would have liked to have seen the fort, but there was just not enough time. What we saw outside of Old San Juan getting to the Rain Forest was dirty and unimpressive. This is not a place that I would return to for a longer vacation...although admittingly - we only saw a small portion of the city.
The French side may be more pricy...but there is a huge difference over there too. From the roads (wider and better maintained) to the general cleanliness .. to the boutique shops. I just wanted to stay over there. They also had the outdoor markets .. but the general appearance was so much nicer that it is here that I would like to go back for a weeks vacation!
We visited Orient beech too. Yeah - that was a trip..
We did some serious shopping here (for us anyway). My husband bought me a wedding ring.. something we could not do when we married 20 years ago.
It was so great - since we cruised in August, to come back to the ship where we were greeted with water, punch and iced down towels was just a pleasure!!!
We returned to the ship to shower and change. After grabbing a bite to eat, we left the ship again. I wanted to buy some Larimar (spelling??) jewelry for myself and friends. I have never seen so many jewelry stores in all of my life! Shop around!! I had seen a lovely larimar lariat type necklace on the ship .. but at a whopping $500+ I was not interested. We went to several stores. What was touted as "designer" larimar was more expensive - but not that unique. we just kept looking at what everyone had to offer until I found a beautiful set of larimar, sterling with fresh water pearls. I spent about $130.00 for a necklace, ring and earrings. I am very very pleased with it!!
We also walked over to the tram. It was a short ride to the top and the people were very nice. The views were amazing and the shops were superior to the gift stores we had been in earlier. There is even a guy up there who specializes in antique ship wreck coins. Not our interest...but fun to look at anyway. They had birds up there - but I did not see anything about a bird show..but since we went up on our own (not a tour) we may have just missed it.
The crime percentage of St. Thomas creeps me out... so I would say that we will probably not return here either for longer vacation.