Cabin review: A11553 AquaClass
Great room but terrible location. This cabin is below the Oceanview Cafe which juts out over the rooms. Due to this overhang, there is never any sun. One of our cabins looked out to the basket that is used to clean the glass on the balconies. Very distracting and not a great view. The room itself was very nice and clean. I have read other reviews where people say that there isn't a lot of storage. I have no idea where they got that from. There's a lot of closet space, overhead space over the bed and a couple drawers. There's enough clearance underneath the beds to put the suitcases. The bathrooms are very nice. The showers have glass doors and are corner showers which make them seem bigger. They even have a little bar for you to put your feet when you are shaving. The only thing that is missing is a couple shelves in the shower for shampoos, shops, etc.
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Port and Shore Excursions
Our day in Cozumel was beautiful. This is the third time I have been there and nothing changes. We decided not to do a shore excursion since we know our way around the island. There's really only two roads - one around Cozumel and one through the town. There were 6 of us in our group so we rented two Jeeps from the local car rental company. The price per person was MUCH cheaper than doing a shore excursion. We used Avis but there are many others in the area. We docked at the International Pier and the car rental companies were at the pier. Getting the Jeeps was pretty painless and the maps are self explanatory. Driving in Cozumel is like driving in the US. We wanted to go to Chen Rio but the water was way too choppy and there was a red flag warning. The beach is great and there is a fantastic restaurant on the beach. We ended up going to Chankantaab State Park. It's about $20 per person to get in to the place but if you are looking for somewhere to hang out, it's totally worth it. We sat on the beach under some umbrellas; when we got there, the beach was not crowded but as people unloaded off the cruise ships, it became crowded later in the morning. There's also a place to have lunch but we just had some Mexican beers and chips/salsa. The beach also has a place to snorkel but you have to climb down some slippery rocks to get in the water. It's very nice but be careful not to slip on the rocks! You can rent snorkeling equipment; since we had planned on renting the Jeeps we brought our own.
I know Royal Caribbean spent some money fixing up this port, but it's nothing impressive. Half of the group did a shore excursion and the other half stayed on the boat. For those that went on the excursion, they said that once you left the port, there was absolutely nothing to see. This port is about 20 mins from Ocho Rios. They did the zip line/river tubing excursion and said that it was "okay." I think the other half of the group had a much better time on the boat :) The shops in the port are nice. Don't forget to pick up a bottle of the Jamaican rum from the Jameson estate. It's very nice.
Grand Cayman is a little more expensive than Cozumel but it's a beautiful island. This was the second time we had been there so we decided to rent Jeeps to explore the island. We rented through Avis. The instructions on how to get to the car rental place are not self-explanatory but after asking the Help Desk woman in the pier, we were able to get the car. We had to walk down the main street, go to a touristy type shop, they call Avis and then a van comes to pick you up. All the car places are at the airport which is about a 10 min ride from the pier. Driving in GC is a little different as you are driving on the opposite side of the road. There's a lot of traffic and lots of round-a-bouts. We explored the island and went to a beach called Cemetery Reef. You park on the side of a road, walk through a cemetery and you are on the beach. It was a great location as we had some shade from the trees and you could walk right out in to the water from the beach. It was a relaxing day.
To be honest, we had some reservations about going to Labadee (aka Haiti). But after arriving, it was easy to relax. Royal Caribbean has done an outstanding job in creating beaches and things to do. I have been to some of the other private islands and have to say that this one is the best. The only thing that we did not like was having to walk through the shop area and all the locals are cat calling to you and trying to negotiate bargains. I understand that they are trying to make a living, but it got to the point where it was very uncomfortable. The beaches were beautiful but make sure you get there early to get a good spot. They do have some locals who walk around to help you get situated but make sure you bring cash. They will blatantly tell you that they are looking for tips after they help you with anything. Celebrity hosts a beach bbq luncheon but we lost track of time and only half the group got to eat. They said that it was okay. One of the girls in our group signed up for the zip line excursion but it was cancelled at the last minute due to excessive wind. In all, it was a nice port and I would not hesitate to go back.