We arrived at the port at 10:45. Check in was easy and we were quickly into the waiting area. We are minor smugglers, and didn't have any issues getting on board everything we needed. Everything was carried on. We had wine, water, soda, beer, and some alcohol. They never asked to look into any of our carry on bags. We also had a couple bottles ordered and delivered to our room thru the bon voyage dept.
They started boarding around 11:30. We quickly made our way to our room and asked if we could drop off our bags prior to the room being ready. No problem at all, and we were having lunch on Lido deck by noon.
Our stateroom was 8232, aka the bowling alley balcony. The room was great and the balcony huge. Loved the location towards the aft, by the elevators and stairs, and one floor up to either the Lido buffet, or aft pool. We found the room to be very quiet, and never heard any noise from above the entire cruise.
We saw our cabin steward twice the entire cruise. This was very different from prior cruises, where we almost became friendly with our stewards. We would leave him notes, and he always did what we asked, which was keep a small cooler filled with ice, replace our water bottle, etc.... Our room was kept in perfect shape all cruise so no complaints, just different.
We had late seating in the Bacchus dining room. We found the first nights dinner to be our least favorite, but every other night was great. We did have an issue with our head waiter. He never spoke to us, and would barely look at us. And no it wasn't just us, we spoke with other tables he was serving and they said the same thing. His 2 assistant waiters were great, had lots of personality, and did most of the work. Overall our service was great, again just different than what we have been used to.
We had dinner one night at Nick & Nora's steak house. Well worth the $$, and the service and food were amazing.
On our first sea day we had a Cruise Critic meet & greet, which was attended by approx 50 people. We had prepaid for a 1hr open bar. Its funny how fast you can drink when a clock is ticking. This was followed by a cabin crawl/poker run where we visited 8 different types of staterooms.
Our first stop was in Grand Turk. After exploring the shops and Margaritaville, we walked down the beach to Jacks Shack. We knew we were in the right area because a lot of crew members were there as well. This was our spot for the day! Nice beach, friendly service, great rum punch, and food!
The Dominican Republic was next. Our least favorite stop, and one that we have been to on prior cruises. Took a quick trip to Altos De Chavon, then to a local shopping area, then back on the ship by lunch.
On to Aruba. We were lucky enough to reserve Bully for a private tour. Amazing!! Booked a 3hr tour, that went 4hrs with no additional charge. If you get the chance to use him you won't be sorry. He had a sign with our name on it waiting for us when we got off the ship. He bought us drinks and pastries along the way.....I could go on forever, just book him!
Curacao....We were able to reserve a group tour with everyone from our CC group. Other than the AC not working great, this was a nice tour as well. Saw a few island highlights, including the liquor factory, beaches, and caves, along with a lunch stop at a beautiful resort.
Finished with back to back sea days heading home.
We loved this class of ship. This was our first "Spirit" class ship. It never felt crowded. The lido deck was easy to navigate. No problems finding deck chairs, even on sea days.
We did the galley tour which was interesting, and informative.
I'm sure I'm leaving a lot out, so if you have any questions, ask away. Other than the casino it was a great cruise!
David & Catherine