Capped off a 21 day vacation in Myrtle Beach with this 12 day cruise. Baltimore was half way point to our car trip home to Hamilton, Ontario. Prior to sailing, booked a hotel room online with Sleep, Park, Fly. This was a fantastic program, with free parking at the hotel for the duration of the cruise, and shuttle to, and from the port. Stayed at the Fairfield Inn and Suites, White Marsh. A very nice, clean, and modern hotel. Excellent room, comfortable bed, and free shuttle to area restaurants.
Embarkation was a bit of an ordeal. We were assured by the shuttle driver that he had never seen such a back log. We spent at least 15 minutes in line up, before we could unload our bags.
Being our first cruise, we were a bit overwhelmed by the boarding process, but there were several seasoned cruisers that offered us guidance.
In the dining room, we were initially seated at the wrong table, a table for two. On the second night this was straightened out, and our dining experience was fantastic. Our waiter was top notch, and our table mates were a pleasure. The surprise shows put on by the dining room staff were a delight. We enjoyed the food, selection was good, and presentation was excellent.
Enjoyed the entertainment, and our table mates joined us on several of the activities. Wish the movies would have had popcorn!
Relaxed on the beach in Labadee, taking the free tram.
In Samana we did the Jeep tour. It was not only fun, but educational. Our tour guide was very informative, and we appreciated our paved roads, after the excursion.
In Puerto Rico we went horse back riding "in" the rain forest. Was more like "beside" the rain forest. We enjoyed the easy pace. Van driver was very pleasant, and steered me to a bar which sold $1.00 Heinekens, almost directly across from the ship.
In St. Thomas we relaxed at Magen's Bay.
St. Maarten we went on the 12 metre sail regatta. This was absolutely the highlight of all our excursions. The crew were absolutely phenomenal, and professional yachtsmen. We won our race, which made the excursion all the more exciting.
Finally, in Tortola we took a taxi ride to Brewer's Bay. The taxi driver treated us to breathtaking views of the island, although he wasn't much on offering any history. Brewer's Bay was absolutely gorgeous, with hardly anyone on the beach, and a quaint bar at one end. There were a few camper's on the beach, who were very friendly, and offered more information than our taxi driver. We were told that camping on the beach was $50.00 a night, $25.00 if you have your own tent, maid service included! Pretty cheap for oceanfront property in paradise.
Days at sea gave us plenty of time to join in the many activities, including climbing the rock wall, battle of the sexes part 1 & 2, scavenger hunt, belly flop contest, and newlywed game (watching, not actually participating).
Disembarkation was very relaxed. We were one of the last off the ship, as we had no flight to catch, and were in no hurry. Never felt rushed. Shuttle service was a bit of a wait, but driver was very friendly.
We met several wonderful people on the cruise, and were pretty much treated like royalty by the staff. Being simple folk we were not used to being waited on hand and foot, but we certainly enjoyed it.
And, being first time cruisers, we don't have really have anything to compare it to. My only criticisms would be the severely outdated tv set in our cabin, with the curling iron burns on it. And, being charged $4.00 for room service, after midnight. Pretty minor criticisms.
We have booked our next cruise for Sept. on the Oasis, because now we are hooked!