We choose this cruise to visit the ABC islands in the Southern Caribbean. Also we selected the 9 day sailing. Our home is in Charlotte NC so for previous cruises, we drove to south Florida for a 7 day cruise, I have to take of 6 work days. This time we flew for a 9 day cruise and still only needed 9 days of from work. We were able to fly direct non stop on the same day the cruise departed and returned. We arrived at the Port of Miami about 2:10PM and had zero time waiting. We were next up at security, next up at RCI check in and walked right on board. This was a fantastic beginning. Previous embarkation experiences were very good, but it could not have been any better this time. I did have difficulty using UBER for the first time and failed from Miami airport to Port of Miami. Probably I was the reason for the failure. Anyway we selected LYFT and it worked flawlessly. We had a mid afternoon flight out of Miami Int'l airport. We choose to disembark later to let the crowd clear out some. We did not self carry our luggage off. It was nice to get on the elevators and not have to be bothered with dragging the luggage along. We did have one problem at the luggage terminal. RCI process was for us to go to the second carousel to get our luggage based on their tag/location assignment. Our luggage never came to the second carousel. We heard others had collected their luggage at the third carousel (not as directed), We found our luggage circling around the third carousel (not as directed). This was a bit troubling, but we had plenty of time, so it did not impact our schedule with the airline. The balcony cabin 7376 had plenty of storage in the closet with lots of hangers. There was plenty of drawers and cabinets and shelves for all our belongings. If I chose a different cabin it would have been just a little more forward toward the rear elevators for better convenience.
Dining - My wife and I chose main dining room second seating 8:00 PM at a table for two. We ate there 8 out of nine nights, the other night was in Windjammer. This suited our desire very well. We did not feel rushed to get to dinner. We like hanging out on deck by the pool as long as possible, and love to take in the sunsets. You have to forfeit these if you eat at 5:30 or 6:00 We ate breakfast 8 out of 9 mornings in the Windjammer. The other morning we ate in the main dining room. The server told us about the great salad bar in the main dining room on days at sea between 11:30 and 1:00 We loved it an recommend it. They also have a limited hot bar and deserts and a menu to order from if your interested. IMPORTANT go by 12:00 it gets busy. (because it is so good)
Entertainment - We went to see a very good comedian one night. Another night we listed to a phenomenal ship band. We give them 5 stars. Another night we had a treat to see a juggler that went the farthest on AGT. His performance was outstanding! These 3 alone were superior. We were too busy to get to the ice dancing shows shown 4 times. We saw other ice dancing shows on the Oasis and Harmony and found them to be world class- and amazing. We hate we missed it this time and heard from other cruisers how good they were. We really recommend this even though we missed it this time. All the crew made you feel their goal was to provide you with an outstanding vacation experience. They succeeded their goal with us.
Ports and shot excursions.
Curacao - just off the pier were little souvenirs to buy, then a tent for "taxis" We love the beach so we got a ride to Kokomo Beach for $10 each person each way. The beach was beautiful the water very clear. They have a large covered deck with drinks and a separate building for bathrooms. We used beach lounge chairs at no charge. Not sure if this was the norm but no one asked us for money. The beach had a lot of rocks to watch out for. They had a pier with steps into the water, which provided a way in the water and miss some of the rocks. Some people snorkeled there. My opinion is there is nothing at this beach fo bother with snorkeling.
Bonaire- We went on a sailboat snorkeling trip booked with Compass directly thru their website. The have various trips to offer depending on your time at this island. They were busy with 3 boats going out that morning. We had about 11 passengers which I like that is does not get too crowded. Suggestion to all -- book snorkeling trips early for Bonaire. The highly rated Woodwind trip was sold out 10 months before we arrived. We were very satisfied with Compass. Very personable crew and captain.
Aruba- we took a taxi $5.00 per person each way to Eagle beach. Rated among the 50 best beaches in the world. It was about 15 minute ride. It was the most beautiful beach I have seen. There are lounge chairs to rent for $10 each. They will place them in the shade of trees for you. The entree to the ocean was easy. I rented a jet ski for the first time. I paid $50 for 30 minuets. This was plenty enough time. Lots of fun. Across the street was a lunch restaurant. Then along the street came an ice cream truck that also sold frozen drinks at a good price.
Great trip if your time and budget fits. I would go again on my next cruise without any hesitation.
Deluxe Ocean view stateroom - I don't remember which category it was E1,2, or 3
It was fine We spent very little time on the balcony over nine days. Maybe 3 hours max.
Travel agent got us a good price vs virtual balcony we had to go for it.
Sailboat snorkel trip. Clearest water ever. Saw sea turtles and cow fish and others. Wish we could have been closer to the fish. Rather windy day and could not go to Klein Bonaire.View All 171 Snorkeling Reviews
Taxi / bus Air conditioned to Eagle beach $10 per person round trip.
Taxi to Kokomo beach. $20 round trip
We rode the complimentary ferry from the pier to Columbus cove. We got a complimentary lounge chairs in the shade. We ate the cruise line lunch cook out close by and rode the tractor drawn wagon back to the pier. Very good day.