Pre-cruise - I originally booked airfare and transfers with my cruise but found a good deal on airfare so canceled the original and went down to Fort Lauderdale the day before. I HIGHLY recommend this if at all possible. I did this on my last cruise and it is so nice to relax and not have to worry about getting there the day of the cruise (I am SO glad I did not have the Thu cruise since there were airline troubles all morning and afternoon). I just hopped on a shuttle and got to the port around 10:45. Oh, I flew in from E to W so I got to see the Oasis just before landing. HUGE!!!
Embarkation - Everything went pretty smooth. Got to the port around 10:45am. I had a little problem trying to figure out how to get to the check-in location after dropping off the luggage to the porter. There was a green line to follow but it was hidden by some baggage carts. I think I was onboard around 11:15am. Please note the bars were open but lunch does not start until 12 noon and they said the rooms would be available around 1:30pm.
Meet & Greet - There is a section within this website for "meet & greets". RCCL does not support an official meet & greet for a 5-day cruise but we arranged to meet at the Scooner Bar. If you decide to go on a cruise, I highly recommend seeking this out. I have so much fun with the people I met on the boards. They really helped make the cruise awesome.
Cabin 8049 - This is an interior stateroom. I went solo so it was fine for me. I think it would still be okay for 2 people too. The interior staterooms are the same width as the outside but I believe is shorter by 1 foot lengthwise. The cabin was kept very clean by the stateroom attendant. I was very pleased with it. My philosophy is you use the stateroom to change and sleep. You really do not need anything else. I would suggest a night light and an alarm clock since the room is pitch black normally.
Grand Cayman - IMPORTANT NOTE: The ship told us to set our clocks back one hour (central time) the night before getting to Grand Cayman. Grand Cayman is actually on Eastern Standard Time year round. This means the ship's time was one hour behind the island's.
The above paragraph was inserted because I booked an excursion outside of the ship prior to my cruise. For those who do not know, you take smaller tenders from the ship to get ashore. We got in a little late (30 minutes) from the scheduled time but I was able to make it onshore and to the check-in location for my excursion 15 minutes "early". They said I missed the bus because we came in late but offered a shorter version of the excursion if I came back my 10:30. Did some shopping and came back by 10:15 and they said I was late again. I asked the clerk what time she had and it was 11:15. OOPS!!!! No excursion for me! I REALLY wanted to do that excursion so I guess I will have to go to Grand Cayman again (shucks - twist my arm).
I said before. Grand Cayman is actually my favorite island. Everything is just so nice there. There is some but not a lot of people trying you to go here or there.
Cozumel - The island IS on central time so it was in sync with the ship's time. The ship will have you put your clocks back forward an hour after you leave the island.
This port we actually docked at the International Pier. There is a chance you might have to tender but I believe chances are really good you will dock (much nicer).
I have been to this island many time by cruise ship as well as from Playa del Carmen. This is the first time I ever booked an excursion on the island (usually I did not do anything or I went to Chankanaab(sp?). I did the 3-reef snorkel by boat. That was a lot of fun. There were 15 of us on the excursion. The crew really seemed like they enjoyed what they are doing, especially the dive master (I could tell, he had sinus issues and handed the tour over to an assistant. Nobody was really paying attention to him but I caught him diving down and making "air doughnuts" while submerged). My camera also snapped off the cord and it does not float. The dive master actually went down and got it for me. The crew also playing around with each other after the dives were over. Very nice!
I also took a cab downtown ($7 each way 1-4 people) and did some shopping. Now expect vendors to say "come on in amigo and see my stuff" but they don't go really crazy about it. Other islands can be much worse. Actually, the day was nice because there were only 2 ships there. I have been there when there has been 5-7 ships.