This was a great cruise, got a great price and the ship was awesome! We were on the Allure in May, this ship was just a scaled back version to us. 4300+ passengers, but big enough to not feel crowded, and not overwhelming. We docked next ... Read More
This was a great cruise, got a great price and the ship was awesome! We were on the Allure in May, this ship was just a scaled back version to us. 4300+ passengers, but big enough to not feel crowded, and not overwhelming. We docked next to the Oasis (Allure's sister ship) in Cozumel, we thought our ship was big, that one made ours look small! Ha!
We took a transfer from MCO thru Go Port Canaveral. It was the cheapest we found online and was flawless. $29/pp, round trip. Gratuity not included, or required. Other transfers, it was mandatory. We did tip, of course, but I didn't like the idea of a 20% mandatory fee added on. Embarkation was a little slow thru security, but we arrived right at noon, so probably at peak time. Once thru, Crown and Anchor Gold got us thru to the ship in just a few minutes.
Beautiful ship, fun cruise director Casey Pelter, friendly captain Toni. All the staff we encountered were very friendly and always helpful. This was the last sailing out of Port Canaveral for the Freedom of the Seas, so the made it a little special for us. (That's what they said anyway.) Now, they are in Ft. Lauderdale for 6 months, I think, then on to Barcelona. They had a celebration in the Promenade on our last sea day with a ballon drop, 2 huge cakes, champagne and punch. Because of the weather in the Bahamas area, and since Royal's ships had missed Coco Cay for the past week and a half, our Captain decided to change our itenirary to Grand Cayman instead. That was a nice surprise! There was some storms around, but our Captain did an awesome job of getting around it to give us perfect weather the whole time, less a 15 min shower. Flow rider and the sports court was interesting and entertaining to watch. We left the kids home, so no reviews on those activities. We sat in On Air and watched the World Series and Falcons game on the big screen. Not too crowded, but fun. They played the last game of the World Series on the poolside theater, that was neat. They had several movies playing during the week, but the times didn't work out for us. That was disappointing, we always enjoy watching a movie outside at night.
We booked an interior room for the first time, decided to go cheap on the room, spend our $ elsewhere. We were put in room 7253, a promenade view room!! It was spacious with a sofa and a window seat overlooking the promenade. We didn't participate in the Halloween parade, but had a perfect view from our room, people watching. That was interesting, Hari, out stateroom attendant was great, kept our room clean and was friendly. Perfect location, in our opinion, right around the corner from the elevators, two floors up from the promenade.
We got a deal, BOGO speciality dining, online, so we ate at Chops and Sabor. They were sooooo good. $30/pp for both and so worth it. This was a Crown and Anchor perk, I think, and online only. We ate in the dining room, 8pm late seating, and it was pretty good. Not over the top delicious, but definitely good. Service was very good. Windjammer was pretty good actually. Typical buffet, but better than worse. We found seating fairly easy, breakfast and lunch. We ate at Johnny Rockets, was good, up charge of $6.95/pp. Loved the Cafe Promenade, sandwiches were delicious, desserts were too. Starbucks smelled amazing, but never tried that. I'm sure it was...Starbucks. Sorrentos pizza was ok, not fantastic, and I love pizza. They had sandwiches and sushi, didn't try those. Ben and Jerrys and the Cupcake place looked good, didn't try them either. Bar service was hit or miss. Sometimes quick, sometimes not.
Entertainment was very good. Ice show was awesome, Marquee show was good, the Acapella group was Awesome! Cruise director Casey did a great job at the Love and Marriage Show, changed up the questions from the previous cruises we've been on. Also on the 70s disco party, that was fun to watch, we didn't participate, just people watched again.
We did Mr. Sanchos in Cozumel, independently, online. $49/pp, all inclusive, food and drinks were great, beach chairs included. Personal waiter for the day. Did a great job of keeping your drinks and food, if you wanted it, coming. Umbrella and towels extra, but we didn't need them. There were tables with umbrellas, plenty of shade. There was a pool with swim up bar, beach was beautiful, clean and not too crowded. There were plenty of room to not be right up against the next person. Taxi to the beach was a bit misleading. I had read reviews of it being $4/pp each way with 4/taxi. Sign at port said $8/pp, 1-4/taxi. Our van driver charged us $17 for two and there was a party of 3 in the same van, they paid $17 too??? Didn't want to get in an argument in Mexico, so we just paid it. :/
Grand Cayman, we just took a taxi to the public beach, $5/pp, each way. It was nice, chairs $10/2, umbrellas another $10. We just did the chairs, it was really nice, also not too crowded. There was a restaurant on the beach, good food, reasonable prices. Tender was slow getting there, we again probably went at peak time, waited probably 30 mins to get on. We waited to go back on the last tender, as did A LOT of others. Waited in a long, winding line for about an hour to get back to the ship. Very organized though.
Debarkation was not bad. More organized than getting off the Allure. We set our luggage out by 11pm the night before, had tags #21, scheduled to get off at 8:45. We headed down and it was about 8:40, they were calling our number. We headed to the exit, there were just a few people in line, got right off the ship. Went straight to luggage pick up, grabbed it and got in the customs line. That was slightly long, we waited maybe 20 mins, but it was moving. Went right on out, to our shuttle and they loaded us up. We were one of the first on the bus, so we had to wait until it was full, maybe about 30 mins, and then we were on our way. Dropped us right at the terminal, once again, smooth as could be.
We've been on Royal, Carnival and the Bahamas Celebration (glorified taxi to the Bahamas, ok, but not comparable in my opinion). We've never had a bad experience with any cruise, this was #8, but overall, this was my favorite trip yet!! There's pros and cons to each, to me, Royal is classier, but not 'better' than Carnival. We try to stay open minded and make the best of each trip. Ready to go again!!! Read Less