Just returned from our first cruise! We booked through Vacations-to-Go and got great service from our agent with them! We have never cruised before so I spent lots of time doing my research and finding out all about the ship and reading the reviews!
After dropping the rental off at Hertz we took the shuttle to PoM which was fast and easy. The boarding process was remarkably well organized. We arrived just after 1:00pm and looked around the ship and had lunch at the taco place. Great food! The muster drill was well organized and I felt that they took the time to really explain the process! We had early dining in the Silver Dining Room with excellent service each evening! The food was great!
It was very painless getting off the ship and taking the tender to Half Moon Cay! We enjoyed the beach... my teen-age daughters should have worn more sun-screen that first day because they paid for it the rest of the cruise! There were lots of chairs available and the beach was great! We enjoyed the beach lunch and experience at this beach. It looked like there was something for everyone!
Day at Sea... we are not real party people so we decided to stay away from the main lido pool and all the drinking and noise! We had chairs at the back pool which is adult only (my girls do not venture into the pool because the security personnel were kicking the kids out as soon as their toes touched the water!). I heard a lot of complaints from parents that they did not want their kids in the pool area where all the noise and drinking was going on - but they were not allowed in the Adult Pool. For many parents this created a big problem! For lunch we chose Guys Burger which was delicious! We enjoyed the first Elegant Evening and watching all the people with their formal attire! It was a great dinner of lobster!
Each morning I would get up early and walk the track around the top of the ship! I loved it and found that it helped me to deal with the abundance of food that is available non-stop on the cruise! I preferred the outside track than the fitness room which was also available and I used only once!
We took a taxi to Red Hook and then a ferry to St-John for the day. We decided to go to Cinnamon Bay which was absolutely beautiful! We really enjoyed the snorkeling and did the whole excursion on our own and saved a lot of money! It cost us $30 for the taxi, $18 for the Red Hook Ferry and $36 for the return Ferry which took us to town. We walked back to the ship from downtown and did some shopping on our way!
We enjoyed the sight-seeing in Puerto Rico - we visited the two fortresses and used the free trolley to make our way around. We also walked around a bit and looked in the shops. We headed back to the ship in time for lunch at the Fish & Chips Restaurant and to relax by the pool... no security guards so one of my daughters was able to jump into the pool! That evening we had dinner at Harry's
Steak House which was well worth the $30 per person charge! Dinner was very good and we liked the quieter atmosphere.
Grand Turk was absolutely beautiful! We did not follow the crowd to the left of the Pier where most of the music and partying was going on - we went to the right and found a wonderful area to sit in the sun and to go snorkeling! We returned to the ship for lunch mid-day and found that it was an easy way to get lunch. The snorkeling was great (my daughters cut it short when they saw a baracuda in the water!). This is a beautiful island and the cruise center is very nice. At the end of the day we walked around, did some shopping and watched the activities around the pool and Flo-rider.
Got notice that there was a problem with the propeller and that we would be arriving in Miami three hours late. The captain opened the phone lines in order for us to make arrangements (however it was really difficult to get a line out!) and sent us a letter saying they would reimburse $200.00 per person with our airlines. Delta told me that I would be able to book another flight at the airport that day for just $50.00 per person! At that time she was showing a lot of availability! That reassured me! The girls and I enjoyed the day - sat in the sun and even went for Tea in the afternoon!
Later that evening we got another announcement that the ship would be even later due to a medical emergency and the helicopter needing to airlift out a crew member. By this time I knew I would not make my 12:45 flight but I continued to hope that I would be able to make the 2:00 flight! We decided that it would be better to do self-assist for debarking in order to save time!
Morning of Mass Confusion!!!!
After breakfast we made our way to the lobby area with our luggage (two large suitcases and several carry-ons) and then the chaos began. No one would tell us in what order people were going to leave - people were cutting the lines - no announcements regarding the final time that people were able to leave. Many people were telling their horror stories of being charged hundreds or even thousands of dollars to change their tickets (the worst I heard was from a very angry man who was suddenly out $4,500 for his family!) By this time my anxiety was mounting by the minute! People who had much later flights and some who were even going onto another ship were butting in the lines to get off the ship! It would have been great if Karl and the team would have given people numbers based on their priority to leave the ship. Finally got off the ship, hailed a cab and he zipped me up to FLL ($80.00), got to Fort Lauderdale too late for my 12:45 only to find out that no flights were available for that day and the best I could do was pay $650 for a Sunday morning flight! After some convincing on my part the Delta agent found me a flight out of West Palm Beach at 5:45 for only $160.00 extra per person! What a relief! We took all our bags to the Tri-Rail and made our way to the other airport and finally made it home at 1:30am!
All in all the cruise was great! I would definitely cruise again - perhaps with another cruise line (too much of a party atmosphere for my taste!). The food, main shows, family-friendly comedians, personnel, cabin were all fantastic. Apart from the chaos that last morning everything was above my expectations!