We've cruised 3 times with NCL and like the informal style.This was a chance to try out RCI as an add on cruise having sailed NCL Epic the week before.
We like a balcony and the lowest available cabin on this ship with a balcony was a junior suite-we were glad we chose it.
The room was a good size with plenty of mirrored surfaces which gave an impression of more space.
The bathroom had a bath tub with shower above which was very useful for washing out clothes!
There was a refrigerator which had a few cans of soda and bottles of water but there was still enough room to put your own stuff without having to have it cleared out.
The balcony was sheltered and a good size with unobstructed ocean views.I noticed that the ocean view cabins on deck 9 below had lifeboats directly outside and so would have obstructed views.
The only issue with location was that the pool deck was directly above and during the day could hear thumps and bangs as people were running around . You could also hear doors banging from adjoining cabins.
We chose my time dining as we prefer more flexible dining arrangements and personally find 6pm too early to eat and 8-30 too late
We actually booked 7-30 to eat each night and that suited us
Usually I have no issues with using the buffet but the plastic plates and cups cheapened the place and we ate at the service restaurant each night and enjoyed it
my husband went for the unlimited soda package for $24 which was good but a couple of times the sprite tasted very off!
I also chose the wine package-4 bottles for $108 plus 15%
bar prices we found wine slightly more expensive and beer slightly cheaper than NCL
one thing I noticed was that use of the hand sanitisers seemed to be optional-on NCL whenever you enter the ship or a restaurant there is a member of staff waiting to spray your hands-here there were free standing machines but no one made sure you used them!
we spent each evening after dinner in the schooner bar listening to pianist Cezar or guitarist Joe Dougherty
unintentional entertainment was also provided on the last night by "white bikini girl" and boyfriend
this young couple had obviously been drinking most of the day and 9pm wandered into the Schooner bar slightly underdressed-her in aforementioned white bikini and him in swimming shorts.They proceeded to smooch their way around the dance floor while in danger of spilling their cocktails.
The bartender had to have a quiet word to get them to cover up a bit and soon had to refuse to serve them more alcohol as they had obviously had more than enough.
White bikini girl took exception to this and argued back-boyfriend had to eventually take her away.
All this was watched with great interest by the rest of the bar and it was interesting to watch how unacceptable behaviour is dealt with by the staff!
and now on to the ports themselves
Key West and Nassau are reviewed in the ports of call section but COCO Cay isn't listed so I'll review it here
It's Royal Caribbeans private island which is actually adjacent to NCLs Great Stirrup Cay
You may think you wont need cash here but yet again more tacky gift shops etc to part you from money and of course tips for any guides.
The island was attractive enough but there were a couple of maintenance issues.
The restrooms either had locks to the doors missing or cobbled together with bits of nails and metal-come on Royal Caribbean-this lets the tone down!
We did a glass bottomed boat tour which was geat fun
our witty guides pointed out coral and marine life and dived in to catch a starfish which was passed around the boat before being returned safely to the water
they also passed round sea urchins and sea cucumbers-for some reason most of the women refused to touch the latter!
Finally they demonstrated how to prepare a conch from the shell ready for eating raw with a touch of lemon juice.Several brave people sampled it but having seen what it looked like immediately after being pulled from the shell-no way Jose!