Got to Cocoa Beach the day before the cruise and stayed at The Comfort Inn Cocoa Beach. Took advantage of their cruise package which was a pretty good deal. We got a nice big room, shuttle to and from the ship,free parking for the week,breakfast and a couple free drinks in their bar for $107. The hotel was a little dated but was clean and everything seemed to be in good working order. Within a block of the hotel was the beach,food,and shopping.You didn't have to go far to get anything you may need. Breakfast was better than I have had at other Comfort Inns but I would suggest getting in to it early. I ate about 6:30am and one of only a couple people in there. When I went in at 9 to grab a coffee it was mobbed.
The shuttle service ran smoothly as did the check in at the port. We were on the ship by noon. Drinks in our hands shortly thereafter. The entire cruise went smoothly. Weather was great with the exception of the last night which was very windy along with some rain. We were pretty sunned out by then anyway.
We were on board with a couple friends and had met another cruise critic couple.We tended to socialize more with this folks throughout the cruise rather than taking advantage to much of the on board activities. Even being up on deck was limited opting to spend the time entertaining and relaxing on our balcony (swiped a couple extra chairs from the Solarium).
Dinner in the main dining room was enjoyable. Our table was very close to the door so it was easy in and easy out. Our waiter Edmund was good but we got the feeling her did not understand half of what we were saying to him which I guess worked out fine because we didn't understand half of what he was saying to us.But he knew his stuff and did a fine job. We really liked out assistant waiter Juan. Juan was always smiling, communicated much better and really did a great job. Wellington was our Head Waiter. He was very entertaining. The food in the main dining room was good but really not very noteworthy. The Tempura Fish and Shrimp, the last night, was probably my favorite dish of the week.
Entertainment was ok. I was not very impressed with the Zig-Zag Band. They played the Pharaoh's Lounge in the evening. Kinda all around classic rock dance stuff. No anything more than you would find at your corner bar on a weekend night. We only went to two shows in the Arcadia Theater. One featured a headliner name Innis ??? can't remember his last name. He was billed as a song and dance man. Sounded interesting. He was good. Did some impressions of various singers. They were ok at best. He was a good overall singer and a very good dancer. He was worth the time to see. I think he would have been better off singing more songs just as himself then trying to impersonate others. His Tom Jones was his best and his Roy Orbinson was his worst with his Beatles a close second. The other show we hit was the Farewell Show on the final night. They had a great comedian that had us all in stitches. Sorry horible with names and can't remember his.
Ports of Call: Labadee- First of all bring cash in case you want to buy something in the market of more important want to tip one of the guys at the beach for setting up you beach chairs. I read somewhere this was Royal Caribbean's private beach and you did not need anything but you sign and sail card. Felt bad I didn't have a few bucks to throw the local guys working the beach. We went down the coaster and it was fun. Did it twice, once with my wife who had me keep the brake on the whole way down and then once alone quite a bit faster. Then we when over and played in the Aqua park. Let me tell you at 50 years old in average shape in was tough doing much of anything. The big floating "icebergs" you can climb up looked fun but good luck pulling yourself out of the water to even get started on it. They had round barrel like floats that very difficult to get up onto and once I did they were so slippery from people's various lotions I slid right back off. The water slide was fun but it was because they had a larger raft for you to climb up onto which made it easier to maneuver up the steps to get to the top and slide down. All in all I wasn't to disappointed when my time ran out and had to exit the water park(they give you an hour to play). Take the walk out to Dragon's Breath's Point it is worth it. Overall Labadee was really nice. We enjoyed it much more than Coco Cay. Just skip the water park.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica: Everything they say about both Dunns River Falls and the locals trying to sell you stuff is correct. Dunns River Falls was a blast I thing the high light of my cruise. It was more beautiful than any of the photos I have seen. The climb was just challenging enough to be fun without ever getting to the point of asking yourself why am I doing this! The locals ARE VERY AGGRESSIVE! When you exit the Falls they herd you through the market place. The "vendors" will try to actually put things in your hands then tell you you have to now buy it. You could not go anywhere off the ship without being pestered. We did Dunns River Falls with Peat Taylor Tours and they also gave us a tour of the Ocho Rios area. Peat Taylor Tours did a great job I would highly recommend them for anything you may want to see in Jamaica.
Grand Cayman: We did a combination Sting Ray City/Snorkel tour with Captain Soto Tours. Very happy with every part of this trip. They met us right at the terminal and took very good care of us through the whole trip. We had only six of us on the boat. The other boats we saw going out to Sting Ray City had so many people on them it looked like they were falling off the sides of the boat. Also, we were scheduled to go to Sting Ray City first then snorkeling at Coral Gardens. Well, once the Captain saw how many boats were already at Sting Ray City he changed course and took use snorkeling first, smart. The spot he took us snorkeling was about the best snorkeling I ever did. When we did get to Sting Ray City we pulled right into an open area. While the other boats had people clambering to see and interact with the Sting Rays the six of us with Capt. Soto had more time with the rays then we knew what to do with. So if you want to do Sting Ray City go with Soto you will not regret it.
Cozumel- Been here a few times and decided to just take a beach break this trip. Read a lot of good things about Nachi Cocum and gave it a shot. LOVED IT! Even with a little rain we had a great time. The food was very good and your hand was not without a drink for very long at any time throughout the day. There was a wedding going out as well which made to day a little more special.
That is pretty much that; a nice laid back week in the Caribbean. Back to work tomorrow! Hope I might have help you out. Feel free to contactme if you have any questions.