Cruised out of San Juan for early February departure. Arrived in San Juan about 4:30 pm, caught a cab and was at the cruise terminal by 5:45. On the ship within 10 minutes.
Perfect time of year to cruise the southern Caribbean. Tempts were lows of mid 60s and highs of mid 80s.
I particularly like this cruise because of the minimal time at sea. All cruising was at night and at ports during day. Islands included Tortola, St. Martin, St.Kitts, Dominica, and Barbados.
My wife and I were traveling with two other couples which made it most convenient to arrange some of our own excursions on the islands. 6 people are a perfect fit for the taxis which are most commonly 7 passenger vans. We did catamaran with snorkeling excursions on Tortola and Barbados which we booked through Royal Caribbean. The Tortola all inclusive catamaran and snorkeling excursion was outstanding. On the other islands we arranged our own excursions after interviewing taxi drivers at the ports. Its fun to bargain your own daily rate and pick the driver with the best attitude. We did our research before hand and knew the beaches and other activities that were of interest to us. Always had the driver stop at a local store where we picked up rum, beer, mixes and snacks. Had the driver take us on a quick tour, some shopping and ended up at a beach. Arranged for the driver to pick us up around 2:30 to return to ship. Only pay the driver after he returns you to the dock. Negotiate this when you make your initial arrangements. Typical cost for the six of us was about $80.00 which include the taxi, tour, booze, snacks etc. Huge savings over booking a beach excursion through the ship. Shopping is extraordinary at St. Martin.
Great comedian and adequate floor shows. Dancing at the clubs was okay, but on this particular cruise there was a lot of calypso music which is understandable for a Caribbean Cruise, but I'd like to see a little more variety. I don't gamble so can't comment on casino. There are a lot of quiet places on the ship for reading, napping, or playing games with friends.
A great health and fitness club with steam, sauna, showers, etc. I always did a late afternoon workout before dinner while my wife was in the cabin getting ready. I was out of her way and the steam and showers were quite luxurious compared to the confined cabin facilities.
Outstanding breakfasts at the Windjammer buffet. Particularly enjoyed the smoked salmon, cream cheese and bagels. We had breakfast in the formal dinning room one morning, nothing special, I preferred the buffet.
Most days we were onshore for lunch, but we did have snacks and a couple lunches on board and all of the cafes were quite good with the Windjammer buffet once again being my favorite.
All of our evening meals were in the formal dinning, and they were excellent.
We ordered multiple appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Service was outstanding and its always great to learn about your servers. We took along multiple T-Shirts from our various Universities and gave them to our waiters the last night of the cruise along with their tips. They loved it and immediately put them on. Small gifts such as this may not be of much value, but its nice to let the servers know you appreciate their efforts.
All was well coordinated and went smoothly. We were off the ship by 10:00 am and spent the day in Old San Juan shopping and touring and having lunch. Once again we found our own driver and stored our luggage at a local restaurant during the day for a small fee. Driver picked us up at the designated time and off to the the airport for our 6:00 pm return trip home.
We always get an interior cabin on one of the upper decks as close to mid ship as possible. Its much cheaper and you're closer to the dining and other amenities. The cabin is only for sleeping, dressing, etc. Don't waste your money on upgraded cabins. You're very rarely in the cabin.
Overall a very good cruise with excellent service, food and itinerary.