We went on this cruise to partake in the cooler northern climate. However, it was 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime in most of the ports.
Prior to the cruise, we stayed at the Hampton Inn, Glenn Burnie, MD. The hotel has a “Park Sleep and Sail” cruise package which includes hotel stay, parking, and transportation to and from the cruise port.
We arrived at the Baltimore cruise terminal embarkation port around 10 AM. It took about 15 minutes to go through the metal detectors, check in with a staff person, and receive our sea pass cards. We sat in the chairs while Royal Caribbean staff tried to encourage us to purchase specialty dining packages. We were allowed to board the ship after 11:05 AM.
Our room was ready after 1 PM. Every piece of our luggage was clearly labeled with 2 Royal Caribbean issued luggage tags (the ones you print off of the computer yourself) with our correct room number on it. Our luggage arrived at room 4036 prior to the muster drill. However, our room, 4765, was in a side hallway (in another corridor), off of the main passageway. We had to bring our luggage to our room ourselves.
During the muster drill, once again, the staff told me to stand in the very back of the deck. Since I am short, I was barely able to see or hear anything during their life jacket presentation. However, children and their 6 foot tall parents were allowed to stand in the front.
We ate most of our meals in the main dining room. We enjoyed the main dining room's fruit and granola cereal bar at breakfast and the Tutti salad bar at lunch. However, the breakfast and lunch menus in the main dining room did not vary much from day to day. We ate dinner at the 5:30 PM traditional seating. Our waiters, Oswald and Hasan, were very attentive and remembered our special requests. I was disappointed in the flavorless vegetarian entrees featured on the main dinner menu. Fortunately, Oswald made sure a vegetarian Indian curry meal option was available for me for dinner. Overall, the food in the main dining room was decent and the service was leisurely.
We purchased a WiFi package. We were able to use the access code successfully on our personal devices. However, we had difficulty using the access code on Royal Caribbean’s terminals in the computer lounge: The code worked on only 2-3 of their computers.
We participated in some shipboard activities - a line dance class with Tornado Tanya (the activities manager) cuing the steps expertly, one art auction, and a trivia contest.
I went to the gym every morning for the complimentary morning exercise classes (vitality stretch, abs, total body conditioning) with Chloe, the personal trainer. I made an appointment for a reflexology session at the spa, but it was more like a relaxing foot massage.
We liked listening to the musicians in the Centrum before or after dinner.
We enjoyed the guest entertainers - Rookie (50’s and 60’s cover band), a comedian, a juggler, a magician - more than the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers. We enjoyed a daytime movie (The Arrival) and a nighttime movie (Beauty and the Beast) in the Palladium Theater. Twice they offered only one main/headliner showtime at 7 PM in the Palladium Theater: We were unable to get seats and left after 5 minutes of standing.
My husband was happy that the Texas Hold ‘Em poker games were advertised in the Cruise Compass. As a result, the table filled up by 10 PM (when the ship was not in port). However, the dealers needed reminders about the rules of the game.
During the shore excursion lecture onboard the ship, William stated that if you book your shore excursion through Royal Caribbean (which we did), you will be guaranteed priority departure when the ship arrives in the port. However, this did not happen for any of our shore excursions. In addition, there was confusion about the meeting place for the scenic nature cruise in Bar Harbor. Many of the ports were crowded due to Canada Day (July 1), Canada's 150th birthday, Boston's Harborfest, and the American Independence Day (July 4th) celebrations.
We selected the self carry option for disembarkation. We carried our luggage off the ship, went through customs, and were curbside by 7:35 AM. We waited outside for about 20 minutes for the shuttle back to the hotel.
Most staff members were friendly and willing to please the guests. We will cruise again.
Our stateroom was an interior cabin located off of the main passageway. The room was small and generally quiet. There were many small drawers for storage. We should have brought more hangers from home for the closet. If we did not close the shower curtain properly, water flooded the bathroom floor. Our luggage did not fit under the bed. However, our attentive housekeeper, Wilfred, kept the room clean. Occasionally, we could hear the nighttime parties in the Centrum, even with our stateroom door closed, if the glass door between the Centrum and the main hallway was left open.
The Old Town Trolley Tour offered by Royal Caribbean is NOT a hop-on-hop-off tour. It is a fully narrated non-stop 1 hour 45 minute tour, with historical and current (sports) anecdotes. It did not include a harbor tour, museum admission, or anything else. It is an “open air” trolley: There is no air conditioning. The tour ends at Quincy Market where there is a shuttle bus to go directly back to the ship. Boston was very crowded due to the July 4th holiday and Harborfest weekend. Our driver, “J”, was lively and courteous. She stopped to tell people waiting to get on the trolley that it was a private tour and then got on the walkie talkie to radio the number of waiting passengers at the stop.View All 40 Old Town Trolley Tour Reviews
In the morning, my husband took a quick jaunt along the wharf to purchase souvenirs and take some pictures.
We booked the L.L. Bean Freeport Shopping Transfer. It departed at 12:30 PM and returned to the ship at 4:30 PM. We had a 30 minute narrated bus ride to the Freeport shopping district, which included other outlet stores. We had approximately 3 hours of shopping time in Freeport before our 30 minute narrated bus ride back to the ship. My husband enjoyed the junior lobster roll from a window service restaurant attached to one of L.L. Bean’s buildings at their flagship compound.View All undefined undefined Reviews
We booked the Frenchman's Bay Scenic Nature Cruise through Royal Caribbean. Because of the tendering process, we arrived on the pier about 45 minutes early for the 1 PM cruise. At the pier, RCI's security officer, RCI's shore excursion staff, and outside vendors (hired by RCI for other excursions) told all of the nature cruisers to wait in the wrong place. At 1:05 PM, my husband asked more people where we were supposed to meet. Apparently, we were supposed to be on the 1:15 PM public nature cruise run by a whale watching company. All of the other tourists already boarded the boat and the whale watch company did not bother to seek out RCI's pre-paid passengers on the pier. By 1:20 PM, we were the last people on the boat and had a poor selection of seats.
The nature cruise was about 2 hours long. Some of the seas were rough and I got sea sick. The whale watch company does provide barf bags on the ship. The nature cruise staff tried to “upsell” binocular rentals and refreshments for purchase in their galley. The naturalist verbally narrated from the top deck, where we weren’t seated. She told us about all of these eagles in trees, but neither my husband nor I saw anything except some seals looking like sausages sunbathing on some rocks. At the end of the tour the nature cruise staff begged for tips for their “hard” work over the PA system and held a collection bucket as we had to pass by them to get off of the boat.View All 13 Scenic Cruise Reviews
We booked the Big Pink Bus Hop On Hop Off Tour via Royal Caribbean. It was a fully narrated 90 minute ride (from start to finish) aboard a double decker bus. Afterwards, we walked around, stopping at the City Market and other points of interest. We walked back to the ship from City Market.View All 41 Hop On Hop Off Reviews
As the ship arrived in Halifax in the morning, my husband was thrilled that we passed within a few hundred feet of the USS Dwight Eisenhower aircraft carrier as it was slowly leaving port. He took plenty of pictures.
We booked the Big Pink Bus Hop on Hop Off Tour via Royal Caribbean. Before the tour started, our guide asked us if we had any questions. It was a fully narrated 90 minute ride (from start to finish) aboard a double decker bus. Afterwards, we walked around the waterfront area and then back to the ship.View All undefined undefined Reviews