This trip was sponsored by a local radio station and there were about 100 of us on this cruise. The average age of our group was 55. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale around 1:30 pm and headed for the ship. Boarding went well but we did encounter many long lines and went through lots and lots of security. That's OK though, it's just the way things are nowadays.
We had gotten up very early to make our first flight and we were very tired. However we still happily checked out the pool, went to dinner and attended a welcome party in the 70's lounge for our group.
Monday was Key West day and it was fabulous. My friend and I are both avid gardeners and we spend the day with some fellow gardening buddies from back home who spend the winter in Key West. We visited the southernmost marker, the Key West Garden Club's volunteer garden (gorgeous) and the absolutely beautiful butterfly house (located near the southernmost marker). We had lunch at Santiago's and ate tapas. We avoided the over-crowded Duval St. and enjoyed touring this pretty city. It was a great day.
On Tues. we stayed on the ship and hung out at the adults-only pool and deck. We also checked out some activities. I especially enjoy trivia games and there are plenty. Eventually you realize that you see the same people at similar activities.
Wed. was Grand Cayman and we chose the stingray sandbar excursion and Rum beach. Our visit to the sandbar was so much fun! The tour escorts were wonderful and we had close interactions with the stingrays. Most of us even kissed them because the escort said it would bring good luck.
Thurs. was Ocho Rios, Jamaica day. We visited the Enchanted Garden with its 14 waterfalls and a bird aviary. The birds actually land on your head and shoulders and they are very gentle. We then went to the Dunn's River Falls, but we didn't climb it. There are many obnoxious vendors at the Falls and our escort advised us to tell them "Me no wantee" and not to tell them our names or they would carve it into stuff and pressure us to buy it. Another lady on this trip did not know about this and she ended up with $40 worth of junk with her name on it! My only bad experience in Jamaica involved a very rude woman who forced me to put a tip in her basket in the bathroom. I did so politely and then she started yelling "Security, security!". I don't know what her problem was but I couldn't get away from her fast enough. We also went to the Taj Mahal marketplace and the salespeople were extremely annoying. They practically leech onto you! I did purchase a pretty bag but later noticed that it smelled like mildew. I washed it at home.
Friday was another fun day at sea. If you bring binoculars, you may be able to spot Cuba at different times of the day.
Among the things we loved were the food, the entertainment, the yummy drinks, plenty of outdoor chairs (no saving for absent friends, yay!)all the activities and of course the wonderful crew. We had dinner every night in Posh and it was spectacular! Our Croatian waitress was great and on most nights, the waiters would sing and dance. My very favorite thing about the whole trip was Calvin, the entertainment/activity guy. If you are reading this Calvin, I just want to say thank you for making me laugh so much. You're a true gem!
The only thing I didn't like about this cruise is that there are way too many places on this boat for people to smoke. Most of the bars and the casino were VERY smoky. People are only supposed to smoke on the right side of the open deck but they were also smoking on the left side and the crew was not enforcing the rules.
This trip was a lot of fun and I have memories that will last forever.