Embarkation: Fabulous and that is what made us choose this cruise again. Valet parking is smooth as silk. We arrived about 1 p.m. in 5 different vehicles. The porter is right there and it is a great start to a trip when you do not have to handle your luggage or have difficulty parking. The begins!
The RC staff was friendly and helpful from every aspect. We all had our sail pass info ready. We waited for each other to get a great group shot getting on board. The ship was just as we remembered. Clean and large enough to do everything.
We were able to go straight to our cabins and drop off our stuff we carried with us. Our bags were there promptly thereafter. We took the time to unpack and go to the pool bar. The buffet was alive and well. Some made their spa reservations, bought their wine packages and soda packages as well. We ordered our wine package before we boarded and split it with another couple that was easy and there was a huge wine list to choose from.
Our cabin was in the ideal location for us. Right by the elevator which went directly up to the pool deck outside the buffet. Perfect location! We spend most of our time at the pool bar area so that was very convenient for things forgotten or to run down to change for dinner. Our cabin steward was better than my last cruise, but not as good as the others I have had the previous 2 other cruises. The beds were very comfortable, the cabin was clean, there is plenty of storage, the bathroom was clean and easy to use. I would like to see a tiny bit bigger shower in there. Our cabin was cleaned well everyday there was ice in the bucket and when we asked for the refrig I was promised for my medicine it was there promptly. It took up the entire space under the desk. We also had an adjoining room which allows for only a chair rather than a couch.
Honestly, almost everyone on this cruise seemed tired and pretty much over tourists. The bar staff were not friendly at all. It seemed as though their faces would crack if they had to smile. We met some of our favorite crew members from last year. Jefferson is the best ever and seems to be working everywhere on the ship.
Even though this was the 2nd time I was on this ship I was never bored. They had changed the events around due to there only being one port of call.
That was an issue! The Key West stop was canceled a couple of months after we had all paid and made arrangements to go. That sucked! That meant 2 days at sea. One is plenty for me especially if you don't get good weather. Luckily we had pretty good weather for our days at sea this cruise. I felt they should have done something like have free drinks etc. to make up for that but they did not.
They did have pool parties and activities. Our first full day was a day at sea. The 2nd day was Cozumel which we love.
We broke into 3 groups and planned to meet up later on in the day. We went to Playa Bonita for lunch and had a great time. Our cab driver Santiago was great and stopped to get us cervesa for the ride. We had the opportunity to shop at a couple of planned stops he always makes. Also some photo ops before we got to Playa Bonita. We enjoyed a long fun lunch of local specialities, margaritas and their famous shooters. It was great fun. We all met up at Carlos & Charlies at one of the other piers and did some shopping and drinking at the little Hard Rock that was there. Once everyone was accounted for we wandered away to a little street bar run by locals in a shopping market place. We bought jewelry, sandals and all kinds of other great stuff. We grabbed a cab back to TMM and did some last minute shopping at the shoppes at the pier. There are some great deals to be had on silver there. I found quite a few pieces I could not live without. I'll start there next time for pricing before I shop downtown.
The 2nd day at sea was pretty fun too. The weather was a little cool and windy but still allow for the belly flop etc to be done at the pool.
The food was good. I think people expect too much on these things. Our food was decent and always presented beautifully. We often got to entrees to be able to try something new or or a "surf and turf" deal. We tried many appetizers to share and our service was very attentive. The only issue we had was the day we were in Coz. We had the main dining which was normally at 7 p.m. The Head Waiter told us if we got to dinner at 7 we would have no problem That wasn't really the case. They had the lights blaring a 1/2 after we sat down and were urging us to leave with announcements of "5 more minutes!" That was disappointing. They did apologize but it did ruin a really nice dinner. We used dinner to meet as a full group every night.
The buffet was always clean and had something to please at all times. The egg lines in the morning were long but moved very quickly. Everything was hot. We didn't eat many snacks but everything we did have was completely acceptable.
Disembarkation was a breeze. We have learned to sleep as long as you can and then go to breakfast at the dining room. Take your time and then before you know it you can get off. They actually called everyone off the ship at about 9:15 and our call time was 9:45 a.m. We walked off, breezed through customs, and were on the way home in about 20 minutes total.
We are already planning a cruise for next year from Tampa during the same MLK weekend. We live in Daytona Beach so the drive is short and we prefer to go to Mexico rather than the Bahamas. This time we are thinking of trying Carnival for a 5 night.
Do book a cruise on this ship. You'll have fun and if you don't mind the 2 days at sea for a 4 night cruise you'll enjoy every minute.
Best location for Deck 3. Quiet and right there at the elevators. Mid to Front of the ship is where I prefer to be by process of elimination especially at the lower decks. The back was very noisy especially the last night. This was also the first time I stay on the leftside of the ship (sorry don't remember term).