Embarkation: We hired a private shuttle at our hotel and arrived at the Miami port at 11:45. Getting on was very smooth, especially when this kind guard fancied my sister and let us through a 'special' line!! We went straight to the Windjammer and enjoyed a lovely lunch until our rooms were ready.
Rooms: There were 11 of us so we had balcony rooms, promenade rooms and interior rooms all on deck 6 same side. They were all fantastic although the promenade rooms were hard to maneuver in because the bed was split into 2 singles. I really enjoyed my interior room. It was super quiet and dark and I slept like a baby. My friend and I never went to sleep before 2am and I think we might have been the 'loud ones' on our floor. We spent many nights laughing until we cried! Our room steward was fine but not chatty like some I've heard. The towel animals were very cute and everything was very clean and tidy.
Gym: This was by far my favourite part of the ship. I worked out 5 times in 7 days and took the spinning class twice with my sister. The 3 trainers are AWESOME and really nice people!! The spinning classes were $12.00 per class, but the other classes (core conditioning, fab abs and circuit training) were free and really good! I also used the elliptical and treadmill and both were fantastic! The gym is top notch and has a beautiful view of the ocean. We also did the detox seminar and ended up signing up for the program. Joseph from New Zealand is great!
Spa: I had one of the day's $109.00 special which included a massage, full body exfoliation, scalp and foot massage and facial. It was wonderful but not long enough. I could have stayed there all morning! I bought some very nice products from the spa too including an eye mask and some lotions for achy bodies, plus the exfoliation brush. All wonderful!!!
Entertainment: Mike, the cruise director was AMAZING!! He and his staff work hard to keep the guests entertained. The ice show was fabulous! I wasn't that interested in going and I'm so glad I did. The Love and Marriage show was funny but Quest was by far the funniest thing I have ever seen live!!!!! Very very funny! They also put on a 70s dance party in the Promenade and the assistant cruise director dressed up and impersonated Austin Powers. I laughed so hard I was crying. Then the Village People came out and that was pretty hot! The best night for sure. The singing/dancing shows I didn't find that great but that's just me. The 2 comedians were pretty good.
Food: The Windjammer was fantastic for lunch and breakfast. We ate there every day. The dining room was AMAZING! Our wait staff were fantastic. Three of our 11 had food allergies, one very serious, and the Head Waiter bent over backwards to help them and bring them gluten free food. The staff gave them the next night's menu and customized their orders for them each day. FANTASTIC!!!!! We booked Chops for one of the non-formal nights and it was definitely the best meal of the week. The steak, shrimp cocktail and desserts were to die for! Really fantastic. We also went to the coffee shop in the promenade a lot for snacks and lattes which cost extra but were worth it. I had pizza once at Sorrentos and it was great. I ate a ton this past week but hopefully the gym helped combat that somewhat.
Nightlife: We spent quite a lot of time in Cacacombs (disco) with the younger crowd dancing up a storm. The 2 DJs were fantastic. We also went to karaoke twice for a good laugh, and spent some time at the piano bar lounge. The singer was great and did requests all night. We all sang along and did the conga line at one point. My girlfriend got up and danced to a song shaking the maracas. I thought I was going to fall off my chair laughing so much. One night there was dancing under the stars and the pool - really fun!! As I said we never got to bed before 2 am. One night it was 4 am but I was still up the next morning for the 9 am spinning class. I think I'm more tired now than I was before I left.
Ports: First stop was Costa Maya which was very smooth getting off. Some of us went to Maya Chan all-inclusive day resort which was excellent. The food and staff were great, although Zach (snorkeling guide) was a little crazy!!! They had massages on the beach which the girls said were great! We kayaked way out and snorkeled on a reef which was very cool. Great relaxing day. Next stop was Belize which was a tender. We had no issue getting off the ship and were the first ones on the tender boat. 4 of us did the zip-lining/cave-tubing excursion through Island Marketing and it was fantastic! I was very scared to zip line but once I did it I was fine. Had a couple of episodes where I got stuck but it was all okay. The cave-tubing was interesting but a huge hike carrying the tubes without any lunch. It was an exhausting day. Third stop was Cozumel and I decided I needed a sea day and stayed on board. Went to the spa and just enjoyed the ship. Fourth stop was Grand Cayman Islands - tender. That was sheer chaos!!! It was crazy trying to get off the ship and we had a private excursion booked which we were afraid we would miss. It all worked out but there were a lot of angry people in line and not a nice experience. We did a stingray/snorkeling tour and it was the best tour I've ever done. There were only 11 of us so it was very personal. We went out on a catamaran which was great. It was very windy but okay. We snorkeled on a reef and saw amazing fish and an eel!! Then we went to the stingrays and it was such a crazy experience. I was scared to death but after a while I relaxed. They really liked my friend and would just let her hold them and kiss her. So neat!!! A MUST DO there for sure!
Disembarkation: This was not good... We filled out our forms saying when our flight leaves, etc. and they gave us # 8 & 9 for our party of 10. We were late arriving in Miami so they were delayed an hour. They told us to wait in different areas on the ship and they would call. Our flight was at 1:30 pm but was changed to 12:35 pm which didn't help. At 10:30 we decided to complain and they told us we could leave and our luggage was outside?!?? So we left the ship only to wait in a HUGE line up to clear Customs. We had a private shuttle reserved and he kept calling me telling me he couldn't wait. Long story short, we got through, and got our luggage and was in the shuttle just before noon. The driver was great -- we told him we were in the Amazing Race so he drove like nuts and got us to the airport just after noon. Air Canada told us too late! We had checked in online but because we had luggage it was too bad. They were sold out all over the place so we were split into 3 groups and I'll skip that long story of our different flights home. I'll just say that 4 of my group are not home yet. They're probably on a flight now out of Fort Lauderdale. I got home at 11pm last night.
Anyway, other than that last day I have to say it was probably the best vacation of my life! Royal Caribbean is top notch. The ship was amazing clean, the staff were overly friendly and couldn't do enough to please us. The activities were plenty - too many - I wanted to do them all. I LOVED this ship and would really like to sail on it again, or go up to the Oasis. I still feel a little wavy today like I'm still on the ship. Strange eh? Travelling with my girlfriends was something I will never forget. We danced, cried and laughed till we hurt. Such a wonderful week and I wish I was still there!!!
Feel free to send me a message if you want more information.
Lisa in Canada