Pre Cruise-- We once again stayed at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66. Not enough positive things can be said about this stay. I was "friends" with the Hyatt on twitter before the cruise and mentioned how excited we were to be staying there again. Without knowing, Brandon who handles the twitter account, managed an early checkin for us as well as securing our favorite room overlooking Port Everglades. In addition, he had champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and vanilla mousse waiting for us in the room when we arrived. Absolutely amazing service that set the mood for the cruise!!!! My spouse has already written a letter to the general manager of the hotel letting them know just how wonderful our stay there was. Once checking in, we changed into our swimsuits and enjoyed a leisurely afternoon by the pool. And then had our champagne on our balcony at sunset while watching the ships leave the port.
Day 1--FLL Embarkation-- We awoke and enjoyed room service breakfast on our balcony watching all the ships including the beautiful Crown Princess. Around 10am we left the hotel and headed to park n fly. By 11am we were inside the Princess terminal. And by 1130am we were walking onto the gangway. Besides the extremely slow woman in front of us who didn't have her health form filled out, didn't print her boarding pass, didn't have her passport accessible and didn't have her credit card ready, embarkation was wonderful. Princess did a great job. Once on the ship and in our beautiful aft cabin, c752, we just mulled around, took pictures, enjoyed sailaway, ate at Vines for sushi/wine and enjoyed a pleasant evening aboard. Also tonight was the "Welcome Aboard" show which wasn't anything except the cruise director telling us what to expect on board. Yawn.
Day 2--Sea Day-- Woke up early. Enjoyed room service and the coffee bar. Brad went to the gym. We then hit the buffet and laid out by the pool. Did the formal night thing and then MUTS to watch the Pats game. Later enjoyed the casino.
Day 3--Grand Cayman-- Neither one of us had been here before. We booked a ships tour of the overview of the island. Did a bit of shopping. Then headed back to the ship to enjoy Avatar, music and drinks by the pool. Tonight we went to a production show called "What A Swell Party" which was extremely boring. Literally board to tears. After the nightmare ended, we went to the casino then enjoyed a leisurely night on our balcony
Day 4--Roatan-- Hadn't been here before either. Didn't really know what to expect so we booked the sky ride thingy to the beach. Unfortunately, my camera broke on the way over so we had to resort to using iphones to take pictures for the rest of the cruise. Roatan was very, very hot so we left shortly after and did some shopping around the port. Came back to the ship early and Brad went to the gym while I enjoyed the balcony and my book (Highly recommend reading "The Art Of Racing In The rain"). The production show that evening was Destination Anywhere. Unlike the last train wreck, this show was absolutely amazing. I can't say enough positive things. The London portion of the show was awe-inspiring.
Day 5--Cozumel-- Since we had both been here before on a land vacay, and because there was going to be a ton of ships in port, we decided to not book a tour and just do a bit of shopping and then enjoy the empty ship. We took a cab to downtown, walked around, yadda yadda, then headed back to the ship. We planned to lay out. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate. So we played a game of dominos on our balcony...the outcome of which was me kicking Brad's butt.
Day 6--Sea Day-- Again, cruddy weather. Brad went to the gym. We then went to an upper deck and embraced the rain by jumping into the hot tub. We skipped tonights formal night and instead dined in the Cafe Caribe, went to the "Motor City" show and enjoyed our balcony.
Day 7--Princess Cays-- This is always the highlight of our cruise despite an absolute cluster trying to tender off the ship (why oh why did they change the venue from the Princess Theater to the dining room is beyond me). Once off, we headed to the right and got our clam shell and our floats and enjoyed the day with sun, ipods and booze. It was a particularly windy day so instead of the clamshell trapping the heat, it actually blocked the wind and sand.
Disembarkation in FLL-- Again, absolute cluster. They changed the walk off venue at the last minute (literally, the morning of disembarkation) from the Michaelangelo dining room to the casino. I don't know why and don't really care. The problems arose when the princess employees started yelling at all of us to move through the casino and then exit the ship. Only problem was that the entrance doors to the casino were blocked by passengers trying to exit and get off the ship. Kind of a sour end to an overall great cruise but oh well. We were off the ship and in our car at 8am and were on our doorstep with the pup picked up from grandma's at 12:30.
To elaborate more on a few things...
Food-- In my previous review I mentioned that I hated the Ruby Princess food and the cheerleaders jumped all over that. On this cruise, however, we found the food to be absolutely outstanding. Everything from room service (great new additions), Vines, International Cafe, the buffet and the dining room was just fantastic.
Cabin-- After much research on these boards, we booked the great Caribe 752. Awesome, awesome awesome balcony, cabin, location, everything!! A big thank you to all of you on these boards who have raved about this because you are exactly right. I would book this again in a heart beat. Our cabin steward, "Andrew", was good too. A bit over zealous and kinda nosy but overall, very friendly.
Public Rooms-- The ship looked brand new. There was always someone doing something to the ship. The only issue I had is that there was that stupid "Inch Of Gold" table out in the piazza for the entire cruise. With 3000+ passengers it can get a bit tight moving around in that area especially since they were set up right in front of the entrance/exit to the piazza staircase.
Entertainment-- Mixed here. The singing and dancing were just ok. And the "Swell Party" show was like sitting through a funeral. But on the flip side, "Destination Anywhere" was the best show we've seen at sea thus far. I highly recommend that everyone see this show.
Spa & Fitness-- Never used the spa but Brad really enjoyed the gym. He never had a problem getting a machine (usually an elliptical) and he would go during peak times. One observation is that none of the spa workers ever said hello when you walked in. They would be huddled at the desk talking amongst themselves and wouldn't acknowledge the passengers.
Embarkation-- Again, the best. Never any problems with this. Princess does an amazing job.
Service-- Here is where it gets interesting. I'm sure some will disagree. Maybe we just didn't get lucky but the service in the dining room was the worst we have ever received. Day one in the Michaelangelo dining room with a line of people at the door (around 8pm) and no one was allowed to seat us except for Wolfgang. Incredibly inefficient. And we sit down and the first thing waiter dude does is try to up sell us on a soda card by saying, "Ahh you look like you drink soda. Would you like to purchase a soda card?" When we left not a single person said goodbye to us at the door. Rude!! Did day two in the DaVinci dining room and we were greeted by a very friendly woman named Valeriea. Unfortunately, very poor, rushed service. We eventually ended up going to the buffet for dinner and, surprisingly, we received the best service up there!! Always attentive and friendly.
Additionally, we always received great service in Vines from Jazen and Frank and from Yves at the Int. Cafe.
We had a waiter, Vladamir, for lunch one day towards the end of the cruise who was excellent. He said we could request him in the Michaelangelo dining room. So we go down around 6pm and speak to Wolfgang who tells us that we can't make a reservation for Vladamir because it's past 4:30pm but because we eat late it shouldn't be a problem to get a table in his section. So 8:30pm rolls around and we go see good ole Wolfgang at the door and request Vladamir and that's when he tells us that Vladamir isn't working in the dining room tonight. WTF?? Why didn't you tell us that when we asked you at 6pm??
Overall--- An absolutely wonderful cruise with a few minor issues. We found this cruise much better than our last cruise on the Ruby. Definitely 5 stars.