We chose this cruise for both the itinerary and for the low price. In retrospect, I think we would choose something different next time. With Key West's stop being just a few hours in the early morning, I think we all missed out on ... Read More
We chose this cruise for both the itinerary and for the low price. In retrospect, I think we would choose something different next time. With Key West's stop being just a few hours in the early morning, I think we all missed out on a lot that the town has to offer. Cozumel, we didn't even get off the ship, instead choosing to lounge around and enjoy the solitude and empty spa!
Before I get too deep - bring a straw. The sugar straws are like...candy cigarettes from the 80's. When they sit in your drink too long they turn into a wormy noodle and gag-o-matic.
Anyway, to the food/drinks!
MDR Anytime Dining (Atlantic):
Our headwaiter Damir was the absolute peak of service. Couldn't have been happier. We had to share him with the Captain's table, and I can see why. Incidentally, the senior officers...they get fed VERY well.
I am accustomed now to the singing/dancing that is normal on cruises, but there was a young man who flat out serenaded the dining room each night, and he was amazingly talented. He had a great voice, and I was surprised!
Baked Alaska was all that I hoped it would be. I was disappointed that there was no Escargot available, however. That was more than made up for by the amazing beef tenderloin on sea day dinner service, which was as close to perfect as I've ever had.
Express breakfast (Pacific):
Meh. Pancakes were served completely plain - no syrup, no butter. There was, per menu, supposed to be ricotta with them, but the waiter told us that there would not be, and that we could come back for Sea Day Brunch for that. Cream cheese was frozen.
Sea Day Brunch:
Next cruise, I'm going to ensure it has TWO sea days minimum. This is where it is, folks. I had the Aft Deck burger (Which wasn't a burger - it was sliced BRISKET), and the carbonara scramble. Both were tops! Daughter got the Seafood tower, which was also great.
It was okay. It definitely seemed busy.
I feel like the product really isn't the same anymore. The crust was cracker thin, and the wait time for everything but a slice of pepperoni was entirely too long. The pizza pirate staff did NOT seem to be enjoying their jobs, nor the stream of customers.
Well, I finally tried Guy's, and it was a serviceable burger. Perhaps it is because I am an adept grillmaster, but I would rather have just made one myself, or had it from the old seaside grill but with the toppings available. The toppings, in this case, make the burger, because the meat is uninteresting.
Blue Iguana Taco/Burrito:
Legit. I really enjoyed a breakfast burrito, and had a fine shrimp burrito on the jalapeno tortilla. Both were really good. The salsa bar was frequently ravaged, but had excellent selection.
I got a pair of Lobster Rolls, and they were just okay. It felt like they were missing some kind of acid, and the pieces of lobster were very small. I saw a few people taking away orders of fried seafood, and feel like I missed out on that.
Bonsai Sushi Express:
The selection that was available looked great, but it was sat right outside the casino. I couldn't get over the idea that that fish was there being cold-smoked in cigarette. Did not participate.
I had a Cuban Mixto sandwich, and it was very passable. I think it needed a minute or two under a plancha to be perfect.
Coral Sea Cafe:
Donna was another superstar on this cruise. First time I've ever had coffee bar service where the person behind the counter was pleasant (cheerful, even), organized, and FAST. Her workstation was supremely clean. I've never ordered so much coffee in my life, and it's because she was so pleasant to deal with.
Listen to me. Get your Cheers package. Go to Alchemy and park yourself there. Make friends with Ioanna - she is hands down the best bartender/mixologist I have met in my entire life. I learned SO much about how to make a balanced cocktail, how to use bitters, how to present a drink properly She was making me Old Fashioneds using Macallan Quest scotch, and I thought it was the best thing I had ever tasted in my life until she did it with Santa Teresa Rum instead, and then THAT was the best thing I had ever tasted. My wife's final drink of the cruise, Ioanna went in the back of a cabinet and garnished her drink with three small dried roses. Just such an experience from an absolute master of her craft.
Some of the warts on the cruise:
Hot tubs were more body temperature than Hot.
Sometimes the Sauna wasn't hot, sometimes the Steam Room wasn't. I couldn't find an attendant or controls. It seemed like an awful lot of the lockers were broken as well.
Did you know the atrium bar is closed to everyone but B2B cruisers at embarkation? I sure didn't. We stood around for several minutes (one bartender asked if we were b2b - we said no, and she just walked away without a word) before someone explained that we wouldn't be served.
Concerning Trivia - The Moon Orbits The Earth. This is how we have phases of the moon. If the Moon did not orbit the Earth, it would take a year from New Moon to Full Moon, not ~28 days.
Fun Squad - They did something wrong at Muster drill, I guess, and we got a nastygram in our cabin saying that since we didn't attend, we would need to go to another private session. We did not and it never came up again. Never encountered CD Savannah. Eddar was reading the questions at Trivia and God Bless him, I am sure that he will learn English better the more practice he gets.
Oh, let's see - the crazy lady at Miami port who was sorting us into different lines, she was efficient but could probably switch to Decaf.
Disembarkation was an absolute breeze - we did FTTF Early disembark. Might have taken ten minutes. No muss, no fuss. A cab to the airport was $28.
We didn't sit for any shows, and missed the band (which sounded VERY good) because we were always at Alchemy.
There was a lot of "Not My Problem" coming from staff. One night, we went to deck 10's smoking area to have a cigar and a drink. There was a group of people in the back blasting a bluetooth speaker so loudly that you could clearly hear it at the complete other end of the area. I saw staff walk by, take notice, and just keep on going.
Finally, I have to come out with this: The people on this cruise were really kind of jerky to staff, and to each other. Some guy from Pittsburgh, at sail away, literally squeezed in between a woman's chair and the rail to watch the sail away. He legitimately forced his butt into her face so he could be in front of her. There was just a lot of head-in-butt scummy behavior. The bride to be that twerked and fondled her breasts for the whole dining room to see, people trying to force their way into full elevators that people are trying to get off of, people walking down the hallways determined to not make room for people coming the opposite way (I'm 6'4" and 320 pounds, I tried to politely make room till I finally got sick of nobody extending the same courtesy and just bumped into people for not giving way). I don't know if this is a function of the cruise coming from Miami, or because it was priced low. What I do know is that our next cruise will be longer, and NOT from Miami because I'd rather not risk it.
So, in spite of the negatives, I still had a good time, and will not focus further on the few floaters in the bowl. Read Less