We flew into San Juan and went directly to the ship the same day of our sailing. We were in a family group of 6 adults. We arrived around 4:30 pm and were very glad we pre-reserved a service to pick us all up...shuttlevanpr.com. Francisco was right there at the airport to pick us up for $10 pp including luggage (we also added tip). We passed the long line waiting for cabs and went right to our nice spacious van. He was also right on time to pick us up at the pier--we HIGHLY recommend them!
The whole boarding process took no longer than 20 minutes for our entire group and we were on the ship! They told us our luggage would arrive about 2 hours later so we went to cabins and got ready for dinner. Our champagne was chilled and waiting (we missed the welcome aboard drinks)with fruit and canapes.
After freshening up, we went to the MDR-our reservations were for the 6 pm setting. We opted for the MDR experience because of our group-we had a wonderful table all to ourselves. Our waiter was Suttama and his assistant, Udden, treated us wonderfully and we loved each night-and MISS them now! Carina was a wonderful sommelier and patiently answered questions and made great recommendations. We were disappointed there were no NY State wines available--we are from NY and proud of our products!
I have seen some mixed reviews about the MDR experience, but most everything we ordered was DELICIOUS. My favorite was a beef tourenado cooked perfectly and chocolate souffle dessert!
We were so blessed to have gorgeous weather EVERY day of our cruise. Here is a list of things we did (some thanks to recommendations from other Cruise Critic members)!
First Day-St. Croix: We opted for a day at the beach and did the Sandcastle Beach cruise package $25 for 2 beach chairs, an umbrella and 2 drinks. The beach was beautiful, but FYI there was only a single bathroom for us to change in and use throughout the day. There was no soap, so glad we brought hand sanitizer. The bar was great--the mango rum punch and pistachio rum punches were delish! We tried some snorkeling with our own gear, but there wasn't much to see. We did some shopping from locals in tents right by the pier as we went back to the ship.
Second Day-St. Kitts: We opted for the Eco Explorer Tour which took us along an interesting ride with the guide explaining some things about St. Kitts until we reached Romney Manor. Romney Manor grounds were nice, but we weren't aware we were even going there and didn't really think it added to the excursion. We had about a half an hour to explore on our own before meeting up again and traveling a little further to go on our Eco Exploration. It was beautiful, although we were disappointed we didn't see any wildlife along the way. It was noted as a moderate walk, but there were some parts that one person in our party had trouble with due to joint issues-so be aware if you consider this tour. The rest of us handled it with no problem. We did have to cross 2 streams and were given walking sticks to help us navigate.
We then went to the "mall" for shopping and bought some things at Del Sol. There were people with small monkeys that would offer to let you hold them and get a picture with them for $10!!!!!
Third Day-Dominica: We opted for the River Tubing and Emerald Pool tour. First, we went to see the Emerald Pool. The walk to see the Emerald Pool was gorgeous...the island rain forest is cool, beautiful and lush. The freshwater streams were so clear.
After that we went river tubing. LOVED the river tubing! The river had a mix of smooth, easy parts and rapids. They had plenty of help watching to make sure none of us got into any trouble, however, we had helmets and vests but the guides had nothing! The worked hard to help us and even had a couple of injuries themselves. Sadly, not many tipped after the tour--these guys deserved it! FYI-we left our things on the bus, which was monitored by a guide while we were on the river and everything was safe.
Fourth Day-Grenada: I have to admit that this was the island I was least looking forward to and happily I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty. We did the Tropical Beach tour. We went to Ft. George first, but that was the most disappointing part. My husband was in the military and was looking forward to this, but our guide only gave us a little information about the fort and battle history then spent a lot of time talking about spices (fine, but not what we signed up for). The view of the island and harbor was lovely from the fort, so we got some nice pics there. My husband did talk to active military personnel that were there currently at the fort. It appears to be a working post, although in very poor condition.
After the fort we went to a "secluded" beach which was beautiful-Magazine Beach. We had to pay extra ($5 pp) for a beach chair if we wanted it, which seemed out of line with our other beach excursions that always included a chair. We did get a free rum punch. There were no umbrellas, but trees served just fine. The Aquarium restaurant looked great, the bar was nice and the beach, again, was wonderful. HOWEVER, there were many, many locals trying to sell things to us which became very annoying after a while. That did impact on our overall experience.
After that, my husband and I walked from the pier to Dot's to buy island spices at great prices. Dot is lovely to talk to and everything was fresh. We sampled some things and bought A LOT.
Fifth Day-At Sea: enjoyed spending time on the ship and afternoon reading on the veranda in our concierge class room. R E L A X E D.......! The brunch buffet was so delicious and gorgeous to see.
Sixth Day-St. Thomas: We did the Sapphire Beach Tour because we were told we may not get a beach chair at Megan's Bay and the snorkeling was good at Sapphire. We loved it! The beach was gorgeous and didn't disappoint. We enjoyed snorkeling as there are 2 coral reefs on both sides of the beach not too far out. The Sapphire Beach hotel seemed to be a little run down, but the bathrooms were good (more than one stall) and we were happy on the beach. We got a free drink and great pics!
After that our guide took us up to a high point on St. Thomas where we spent time getting more stunning pictures of the island overlooking the harbor and our ship!
Our guide dropped us off in town--those that wanted to go shopping. We walked the main shopping street and some side alleys (those were the best shops in my opinion). Loved the local art shops! We had lunch at a nice little restaurant in Hibiscus Alley.
Then, easily grabbed a cab back to the pier.
Next morning, we were back in San Juan not sure where the time flew. We had a 2:40 flight out that same day and we needed 3 hours at the airport to get through the line for US Airways (and United was just as long) then the line for security. PLAN FOR THAT!! We overheard a couple that got to the airport under 2 hours before their flight and they missed it.
Overall, our trip was beyond what we expected. We made very special memories together and will always treasure our time spent cruising. We can't wait to plan another cruise!