We traveled with two other couples and flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before. Seth from Personal Driving met us at the baggage claim as we had prearranged. We had also arranged for him to pick us up the next morning from the hotel to transfer us to the port. He notified us that he had a conflict but arranged a shuttle to pick us up which was helpful. Really liked Seth but was disappointed that he wasn’t our driver for that transfer or the transfer after the cruise, back to the airport. But since he wasn’t able to drive us himself, we were appreciative that he arranged alternate transportation for us.
Arrived at the port at 11 am and was onboard in one hour; very easy, no issues. We were able to go to our room at 1:30 to check things out. Our luggage arrived a few hours later. Our balcony room had plenty of storage and was comfortable for our stay. Room steward was great and met all our needs.
Dinner in the dining room was enjoyable and several of the meals were above average. We really enjoyed our wait staff. We also chose to have breakfast in the dining room to avoid the buffet. The breakfast menu has plenty of choices and is a nice relaxing way to start the day. Breakfast is open seating so we enjoyed sitting in different areas each day.
The shows in the Venetian Palace were mediocre at best; we have enjoyed those on RC better. Our favorite show was music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. The casino was fun and one member of our group even won some money!
The overall décor of the ship is like Vegas on water, just what you would expect. Jardin’s was the perfect spot for our daily Latte’s and home baked cookies. We also enjoyed plenty of cocktails at all the bars.
I would recommend getting to the pool early to reserve your chairs if location is important to you. Half Moon Cay is beautiful. Perfect port for relaxing on the beach and we enjoyed parasailing here. If you only have time for one beach day, Half Moon Cay would be our recommendation.
St. Thomas was also beautiful. The locals were selling open air taxi tours around the island ending at once of the beautiful beaches. It was a great way to see the island and affordable too.
Through a recommendation we decided to have breakfast in San Juan at La Bombonera. Great local spot takes you back in time. It might seem counterintuitive, but try a mallorca grilled with ham and cheese. The delicious combination of salty and sweet has made it the most popular dish here. We thoroughly enjoyed them and were surprised to find out that Rachel Ray recommended them when she visited here for her show $40 a day.
Also in San Juan, we toured the fort which is steeped in history. From the top, it’s a great opportunity to take pictures of the town and the ship. We ended the afternoon for some “spring break” fun at Senor Frogs.
The last stop was at Grand Turk. We all enjoyed our day, the ship docks right at the beach, easy off, easy on. Located at the pier is Margaritaville for those looking for an upbeat time. We made our way down the beach and parked ourselves near the end. We had been told that food and drink is very expensive at Margaritaville and that it is much more affordable where the cruise beach blends into the local beach. And this was the case. We enjoyed many cocktails and lunch with a little local flavor.
All in all, a very enjoyable cruise. Highly recommended for first time cruisers or those on a budget.