Marella Celebration Caribbean Cruise
Decided on a cruise and stay with friends starting with the 1 Caribbean Gems cruise on the 17 th January from La Romana in the Dominican Republic followed by a 1 week stay at the Riu Macao in Bavaro.
Flights on the Dreamliner once again could not be faulted with ample food, drinks and interactive entertainment on the monitor.
Transfer to the Ship was extremely quick as all cruise passengers bypassed the arrivals hall and were transferred to the waiting coaches ( not even a passport check ) Were we actually in the Dominican !!
Transfer time to the ship was only 20 minutes or so and the checking in process only took a matter of 20 minutes followed by welcome photos !!
When you have been on the go since 5.00am in the morning do you really want photos before you get on the ship!!
Our cases arrived within minutes of being shown to our cabins. We had opted for an upgrade to a level 7 Deluxe cabin with a large double bed, settee, bath/ shower and large windows and totally unobstructed views.
We knew that our cabin had an interconnecting door to the adjacent cabin ( not our friends ) but had taken a roll of “ Gaffer Tape” as suggested on a trip advisor should noise be heard from the adjacent cabin, to tape up the door edge.
As it was it happened it was easier to push folded newspaper into the gap - we didn’t hear anything from our neighbours the whole week.
That evening for ease we dined in the Lido self service Restaurant and the choice of food was reasonable and overall of good quality. We also chose to dine there at lunch time and breakfast time with the breakfasts being exceptional.
We dined in the Mistral Restaurant on an evening and this was a much better dining experience with a varied menu and exceptional service, also they have an open meal time arrangement where you just turn up at whatever time you want.
We had decided not to go for the all inclusive drinks package as we were going to be fully all inclusive for our 2nd week at the Riu Macaoa Hotel and decided to “ take it easy “ on the ship!
This we felt to be the right decision when we noticed that over 50% of drinks were subject to a supplement if on “ All Inclusive “
Typical Bar prices along with the supplements if on “ All Inclusive “ are
Jonnie Walker Red £4.20 No Supplement
Dewers White Label £4.30 All Inclusive £2.50 Supplement
Zombie Cocktail £4.90 No Supplement
Moscow Mule £4.90 All Inclusive £2.50 Supplement
John Smiths Pint £3.95 No Supplement
John Smiths 500mm Can £4.00 - All Inclusive Supplement £3.30 !!!!!!
It should be noted that some water, coffees and soft drinks were also subject to a supplement.
The evening entertainment in the main Broadway show lounge was of an extremely high standard. They advertise the shows as “West End Productions“ and they were, with all the animation crew giving 100%, the quality of their singing voices being exceptional.
The entertainment in the various bars etc was equally good.
As far as trips were concerned we did our own thing and used taxis which worked out at least half the price of the organised trips and visited exactly the same destinations.
Worth a mention was George on St Lucia ( email firstname.lastname@example.org ) He was near the other terminal to where we docked ( past the glass pyramid building )
Also Glen Roy on Antigua ( email email@example.com ) who gave us an incredible tour over to Nelsons Dockyard and surrounding areas, and was more interested in showing us the sights rather than watching the clock. He was quite a way up the main pedestrian street when you get of the ship.
I can fully recommend them both and would suggest you email them first and organise a trip as you will not be disappointed with either of them - It will also save you “ running the gauntlet “ of 100s of taxi drivers and agents !!
St Maarten was a beach day as it was only a 20 minute walk to glorious white sands and the warm Caribbean sea. As we were the only ship in that day we were able to secure some sun loungers and parasols for the day - if more than one ship is in I would suggest you take your towels just in case.
Another ship, or should I say Yacht did turn up, this was the Eclipse belonging to Roman Abromovich with estimated costs following refits and addition of a submarine etc at 1.2 Billion Dollars - I don’t think their were any sun beds left for him though !!
A word of caution on Guadeloupe - due to large Costa ship being in port at the same time their were very few taxis about, as such we ended up with a particularly bad taxi /driver / experience.
Do not use a white 8/10 seater Reg BG424-EE, COQUASHANE
Also note that on Guadeloupe they only accept the Euro.
Overall an excellent Cruise with great ports of call and we would go on this smaller ship cruise again.
I have posted a separate report on our stay at the Riu Macao