Finally we were on board. I thought things would pick up. About 20 minutes after boarding, Katrina started yelling at us for about 15 minutes on the overhead speaker to go for the evacuation drill. It felt like I had either joined the army or been sent to prison. I understand we were so late in boarding, because the DEA with their dogs, met the boat on arrival and arrested about 40 people on the Jazz Cruise. I guess the staff decided to call the DEA.
The buffet was a real line experience. There were never enough coffee machines, but the coffee was good. The only juice we ever saw was at breakfast. You would think they could have had watered down lemonade available all day long for health reasons if nothing else. There were times when the water machines did not work. The food was basic casino buffet, except for the deserts. They looked beautiful and had absolutely no flavor. Day after day they all tasted like bland pudding. I do not know how they did it. The good part is I did not have to worry about gaining weight. The dinners were OK and we could order a great many things. They really need a chef who knows how to buy and cook a good steak. My husband was one of the people who got violently ill for about 24hrs right before we returned to Florida.
Our room was wonderful and the boat was in great condition, but all I will remember was how rude and indifferent the Italian staff were.
The port stays were short and had little to do with what they published on line. I was able to book one trip with a non cruise ship company in Saint Thomas, and we had a great time. We booked 2 more on the boat which were just OK. You would think that with computers, all the ship lines could schedule docking times a year in advance.
The cruise really cost 1/3 more with the service charge, which we found out is not a tip that the lowly crew received, but something else. It makes me mad and when fellow passengers found out that the cabin personnel and waiters did not get that money, they were angry also. We left a tip in our cabin.
You know a vacation is a disaster when you become aware that you would be much happier if you were at home.
After we got back to Florida we had a wonderful time for the rest of our trip. We went to the Dayton 500 and road around the track at 165 miles an hour. We went and watched 30 to 40 manatees in Blue Springs. We went down to the Seminal Indian Reservation off of Alligator Alley and road around in a huge dune buggy and on an air boat. We saw lots of alligators and many other animals. Great time with great people. We went to Key West, had a beautiful and fun sailboat trip to watch the sun go down and we ate wonderful frozen chocolate covered keylime pie.
I was so very glad to be let out of prison.