Overall it was a great trip. A little pre-trip story.
We started with family wedding in Miami over the weekend. Flew in on a Friday. Hung-out in Aventura on Saturday. Something that is a MUST-SEE... The Aventura Mall. Talk about huge. Had lunch out on the patio at Cheesecake Factory while wondering whose Bentley was parked...AT THE MALL... Any-hoo. The wedding on Sunday was great. Right up until I woke up Monday with a horrible allergy attack and both eyes swollen shut. Just the way I want to look while trying to smile for that 'Welcome Aboard' photo.
Our group of family and friends included myself(36), wife(36), Aunt and Uncle(50+), Friends of family(40+-50+)... So we were the youngest of the group. No problem right? Wrong. I work nights so getting out of dinner at 7ish and grabbing a drink wasn't an issue. It was everyone in the group getting groggy at 10pm and my wife and I looking at each other as they went off to bed wondering what there was to do.
On to the cruise... Once on the ship, we hit the pool to hang out and get a few tasty beverages. The 'scenery' wasn't bad at all. College co-eds galore. And that is where the 'oh-sh!t' moment happened. We are onboard with 1500+ Spring-breakers from Miami-U, Florida, and Florida State. I found this out after over hearing a few conversations by some other experienced travelers onboard. Now I don't mind sharing my space with people. it is when said people are running the halls at 130am hooting and hollering waking up those that are trying to sleep. They were knocking on doors while on their way back to their cabins... Real nice... So, Beware of Deck 8, they hold 2 'parties' in the Spectrum lounge on the 4 night cruise and the crowd empties out past your door. Good times.
The first morning you could tell who 'over-did' it that night. All the slumped heads and slow movers. For those of us that 'behaved' that night, you just wanted to walk by and drop a handful of silverware on their table and watch them want to crawl back to their room and hide for the rest of the day. The pool area was very quiet that afternoon.
Oh, yeah... This is a CRUISE review... The pool area was nice. It has 2 outside pools. No Solarium onboard this ship, so anyone looking to sneak away and get some 'quiet-time' no dice. Sorry. Cruising with a boat full of Spring-Breaker, there is no 'quiet-time'.
First port: Nassau, Bahamas. (See port-review)
Back to the ship. Bodies everywhere still recovering from the previous nights activities. It was very quiet that night.
Dinner were great. My wife and I booked separate from the rest of the group so we were not seated with them. We were at a 6-top with another couple and two seats that were used for the 'My-Time' diners. The couple from Chicago were very nice it was fun to exchange stories with them at the end of each day. Our wait staff was great (I am horrible with names) and always within ear-shot to ask if you needed anything.
The room stewards seemed to always be around, but never in the way. There was always ice in the bucket and an extra towel if needed.
Second port: CocoCay, RCCL's Private Island. A nice quiet day at the beach. BEWARE OF SEAGULLS!!! I won't go into detail of what happened with a man's lunch and a flock of birds. Let's just say when he got up to grab plastic-ware he forgot, there was NO lunch to return to. They swarmed that table like it was their job.
This night was the 'Midnight-Buffet'. Nothing special. It was set out by the pool and was picked over in no-time.
Third port: Key West, Fl. One of the main reasons we took this particular cruise. I missed seeing KW on our first cruise. Yeah, sea-fishing was a great idea...NOT. We did the full on tourist deal. Trolley-Tour around the town. Picture at the 'Southern-most Point'. Walked from there back to Duval street. Lunch at Margaritavile. Cheeseburger in Paradise is right.
You know the Karma is flowing when you walk in, get a seat at the bar without much of a wait and the video screen is playing an old J.B. concert of his band doing a cover of the Grateful Dead's 'Scarlet Begonias' I almost shed a tear. Two huge tequila based beverages and a gut full of red-meat, time to walk back to the ship. Some shopping on the way. Bars full of more spring breakers spilling out onto the street. It was an event all it's own. Good times...
That night was the last on board and we saw there was another 'event' in the lounge at the end of our hall. Just a room full of people dancing to a DJ. Nothing special so we left. The 'party' ended at about 130am... Guess what time the front desk was bombarded with calls from 100+ people that were TRYING to sleep on deck 8. Yeah, you got it.
Suggestion: RC could post a security guard at the end of the halls and ask for room keys. That would prevent anyone NOT on that deck to go up or down the stairs just outside of the Spectrum Lounge as opposed to walking almost the entire length of the ship just to get to the middle elevators and stairs.
I guess if we had some friends there our age to go to the after dinner activities with us it would have been a different story. Live and learn, right? Don't let me steer you wrong here. I love my family. But I don't do 630am coffee or try to get off the boat before 830am.
All in all... The ship isn't huge. The food is typical RC fare. Good to great if you're like us and don't go out to eat every weekend or live in a huge city. The rooms are clean and comfortable. The public areas are open and free flowing. The pool area is large and open for everyone to roam freely.
As for the price. 4 nights at sea in the Caribbean for $229/pp for an OV room is one heck of a deal. Definitely a do-over if we get a chance.
Once again... Sorry for the rambling. It's 530am, I'm going to bed.
Insider Tip: Once you cross over the bridge onto P.I. go to the right and stop at the Green Parrot for a drink and a snack. On a Tuesday afternoon, we had the entire bar and patio to ourselves. In typical island fashion, it took a few minutes for someone to come out and ask what we wanted, but hey, you're on vacation. It was a nice little area with a few good sized boats and a couple of larger Yachts. After about an hour or so we walked over to Atlantis. Not far, I would guess a 1/2 mile or so. Walked right in the front door and through the entry as if we owned the place.
Once in Atlantis we broke up the group and went our separate ways. I headed toward the casino area and out back where the aquarium was. The rest went shopping. After 20 minutes, er, I mean dollars in the casino... I decided to do some exploring. Security decided for me that it wasn't a good idea. Started to walk out toward the water park area but was stopped and asked for a room key. Oops, sorry sir. Just visiting. I later found out it costs over $100 for a single adult pass to access the water parks and use the facilities. Oh, and don't ask for a drink from the bar if you don't have a credit card or are a guest. Apparently cash is no good at Atlantis. Yes, you can buy a drink at the bar, but need to us a cc or charge it to a room. Oh, well. I didn't want a $10 beer anyway.