We started our little get a way on Friday January 6th with an early morning (6am) flight from Kansas City to Miami with a stop in Dallas on American Airlines. Both flights went perfectly as planned and we made it into Miami by 1:30pm. Getting a taxi at the airport on the other hand was a little more challenging though. It seemed that neither the taxi driver or the taxi post guy understood enough english for us to get a price from the airport to our hotel the Marriott at Biscayne Bay. They kept trying to send us to Biscayne Key?!?! After hassling for a few minutes I finally got my hotel confirmation paper work out and showed them where we wanted to go.
Made it to the hotel in good time though a little tired from the travel. The girl at the check in lobby just about irritated the heck out of us though. She saw us walk in and then proceeded to walk to the side office, stand out side the office door and talk to her friend for the next 5 minutes. It wasn't until my husband said something to the bell hop that we finally got waited on. They have just recently finished remodeling this hotel and I must say they've really done a good job with it. Every thing was very nice and new looking and seemed to flow well. The biggest complaint, as far as the hotel it's self, was that they seemed to forget to renovate the balconies. Our furniture was on the old and a bit rusted side and the balcony it's self was in major need of a good cleaning, stripping, and paint job. The hotel is also in a pretty good location especially if your leaving on a cruise. It's not too far from the port and is close to a lot of stuff in downtown. Also the free Miami Metromover station is just down the street so getting around is a breeze. After settling into the hotel room we went down stairs to the little shopping area between the Marriott and the Double Tree and found a bite for lunch and then did some walking around their bay area. Later, after a much needed nap, we took the Metromover down to the Bayside Marketplace and ate at Bubba Gumps. Finally, it was back to our hotel room to get a good night's sleep.
Cruse Day 1: We got up around 10:30am got ready and left for the port. Getting a taxi this time was easy and we made it to the port by 11:30. Embarkation was the quickest I've ever seen it and we were on the ship eating in the Windjammer by 11:45! They had all the usual fare like honey stung chicken and hot fresh cut roast beef (Yum!) After filling our bellies we headed out to the pool bar area and had our first drink of the cruise. The bartenders were great but the drinks were a bit on the strong side. (I had to ask for more sour mix for my margarita) After finishing our drinks and wandering around the ship a bit it was finally 1pm and we could go check out our stateroom.
We've done this cruise multiple times and always stay on deck 8 in an Ocean view room but it's always a shock going in the first time and seeing how small the room is. Luckily, there's always plenty of storage space and being only a 3 night cruise we didn't bring too much. I think our room steward (Nova) was a little irritated that my husband kept leaving his suitcase out (he lives out of that silly thing on vacations) because he kept putting it back in the closet. But he was an excellent steward and kept everything clean, the ice bucket full, and made us the cutest towel animals.
After getting all our stuff put away and relaxing for a bit it was time for the Muster Drill. I always dread this part because I'm not much for being sandwiched between hundreds of strangers in the heat of the late afternoon sun but it wasn't too bad this time. Some how we ended up with an inside muster station and were seated in the Bolero's Lounge until it was done. After muster we headed up to the top deck for sail a way, which as usual was fun and exciting. Ricky was the cruise director and I'll tell you what, that guy has more energy than any one I've ever come across, I honestly don't know how he does it.
Once the sail away was done and the sun started to set we decided it was a good time to grab a cat nap before our late 8:30pm dining time. I was a little hesitant at first to look forward to dinner because we've been on soooo many Royal Caribbean cruises and the food never seems to change, but it only took a few minutes to look at the menu and remember how much I enjoyed the food. (even if it was the same) Our waiter Nitin, was very good and served us as though we were in the classiest restaurant in the world and we were the most important people there...our assistant waiter Jose from Peru, on the other hand, was very nonchalant and slow at every thing. We were seated at a 2 person table ,#55, thanks to the wonderful people at Royal Caribbean's dining department who I emailed before the trip. I must say it was the best table we've had yet, right next to the window towards the middle of the room.
Finally, with our bellies as full as they could possibly be, we headed back to our cabin for a good nights rest so we'd be ready for a full next day in CoCo Cay.
Cruise Day 2: We woke up early today to the Captain telling us that the sea swells were too high at that point to start tendering to the island but that we'd wait a bit and see if it got better. An hour later he came back on the intercom to tell us that it looked as though the swells weren't getting better and today would be a day at sea instead and that we'd go directly to Nassau instead with intended arrival around 7pm. A little background for you; we are avid cruisers but we Hate sea days, we tend to be very active people while were on vacation and the more ports the better. So, upon hearing we would be stuck all day with nothing to do we became a bit bummed. It didn't last long though, with Ricky the cruise director coming on every hour announcing what new was going on we found there was plenty to do around the ship. After lunch we went out and watched the Famous Belly Flop Contest and it's now official to us that thong Speedos should be outlawed. Then we went and watched the Dodge Ball tournament. The other dodge ball games we watched on the ship in the past had always been passengers against passengers; but this was as the crew versus passengers and was absolutely hilarious. They had one team of all the dance crew and they were a hoot! The girl dancers were so afraid of the dodge balls they just kept running off the court and the boy dancers couldn't get a break! Shortly after the dodge ball I started to feel a bit tired (we had been going on very little sleep for 2 days now) so we went back to the room to relax a bit. Next thing I know I wake up and it's 6:30pm! Wow, talk about a power nap! Luckily, we got up just in time to watch us pull into Nassau and see the new Disney Dream Ship pull out. That ship is cool looking with it's new fangled water coaster thing on the top and the underwater lights lighting their way. I just don't think I could stand listening and dealing with Disney for that long (no offense Disney).
Dinner tonight was Formal night and as usual the menu had a bit of a French theme with Escargot and Filet Medallions. Both of which were fantastic. I found that they have changed the dessert menu a bit and the new selections are right up my alley, were as before I often just had a scoop of ice cream of none at all, now there was something every night that I enjoyed. One thing I wasn't too thrilled at tonight was that they added a silly little line dance thing at the end of dinner. It didn't seem fitting at all for a formal meal and this is one of the reasons we're not too fond of Carnival. I don't like to have a classy meal interrupted by loud obnoxious filler. All in all though dinner was good and thanks to Nitin as usual we were treated like royalty.
After dinner we slipped into Bolero's and had a few dances to work off all the calories we had just consumed. I don't know how many we actually burned though because the dance floor was so packed you could barely move. After about 30 minutes we gave up and headed back to the cabin and to bed.
Cruise Day 3: Nassau: We've been to Nassau so many times by now its like a second home to us so I was a little worried we wouldn't find anything to do. Thank goodness my husband has a trip planned to take some clients there and wanted to find out how long it took to walk up to the Queen's staircase and over to Fort Fincastle. By the way, at a normal pace it took us about 15 minutes from the ship to the top of the staircase. As I said we're pretty active people so after checking our timing for the port to the staircase we decided to walk over to Arawak Cay were the Fish Fry restaurants are. It's about a 2 and a half mile very nice beach side walk from where we were to there. By the time we got there I realized I'd skipped breakfast in a hurry to start the day and I was starving. We ate at "Da Fish Fry by Twin Brothers" which being that this was the second time we've been there the food was just as great as the first time. Now that our tummies were full and happy we decided to take a taxi back instead of walking. We must have had a taxi karma problem this trip because the moment we got out of Arawak Cay we hit traffic the whole way back to town and it would've been faster had we walked; but our taxi driver was nice and talkative so in a way it was worth the $10 and the 30 minutes. Once back in town we took the water taxi over to Atlantis to sit and stare at the aquarium with a cocktail for a while but once we got into Atlantis a towards the Aquarium we found that you can no longer go to the aquarium unless you buy the day pass for $40 per person...no thank you...So, back to the water taxi and back to the ship we went.
Once back on the ship I remembered that this was our last day (boo hoo) and since we had a bit of extra time by coming back early I figured I'd just go ahead and pack. Now, being on as many cruises as we've been on I should know not to pack until the last minute because it's Murphy's law that as soon as you do you're going to need something that you've just packed and it's going to be in the very bottom under everything else. Sure enough, that happened twice to me this time (blah!). By the time I finished packing, unpacking, repacking, unpacking, then finally packing again, and filling out the customs form and all the other tidbit paper work it was almost time for dinner. Tonight's menu theme was Italian, we both had the Lamb Shank which was very good and we shared an order of the Grilled Jumbo Tiger Shrimp as an appetizer. For dessert I had the warm chocolate cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cake wasn't as moist as usual but was still tasty. After dinner it was back to our cabin to set out our luggage and rest until the early morning debarkation.
Debarkation Day: Everything went fairly smooth. I still think they should have two line off the ship, one for US passports and the other for Foreign passport holders. That's the only thing that held us up because non-US citizens have to go through an extra immigration step that US citizens don't. All in all it wasn't too bad and we were still over 2 hours early for our flight back to cold snowy Kansas City.