We were celebrating my son's high school graduation, my birthday, and my cousin's birthday. There were twelve of us. Three of us had balconies and my sister and her family had a junior suite. I really have no allegiance to any particular cruise line. This was my eighth cruise and I have not been on the same ship more than once. I tend to cruise every other year. I am a school teacher so my time to cruise is normally in the summer.
I was originally going had plans of flying into Islip Thursday, spend the night at my mother's and then take a car service to the port. We were scheduled to take the 6:40 PM on Frontier from RDU into Islip. We got to the airport almost three hours ahead only to find out that there were storms and our flight was cancelled. Make a long story short, we ended up driving and spending the night in Baltimore. We stayed at the Radisson Inner Harbor Hotel, we arrive at almost 1:00am. It was a great hotel and we were perfectly happy. We ended up driving to the port Friday morning. No traffic until we got almost to the port. We paid the $22/day. I would consider doing this again, even if it was not my first choice. If we do fly, we would definitely fly two days ahead of time. I am so glad that we were not still living in Phoenix or we would have might had a problem. We always have travel insurance though.
We did Horseshoe Bay while in Bermuda. We have been there several times before. Several of us purchased the two loungers and umbrellas for $50. It is crowded and on other occasions we walked to the far left of the umbrella stands and it is less crowded. However, my mom has mobility issues so we didn't do much walking. Leaving Bermuda, we did have a medical evacuation and ended up returning to the dock. We weren't even that far away from the dock, so we did not lose that much time.
My son and I purchased the Atlantis beach day through Atlantis. The dig was nice but I don't know if I would go back. The beach was just okay. My sister and cousin and their respective families went to Cable Beach and rented jet skis and had a great time. My parents stayed on the ship. I had never been to Atlantis so I wanted to at least go but it is more of been there done that.
Cocoa Cay was all of what Royal Caribbean said it was be. I had booked the hot air balloon excursion prior to the cruise. Unfortunately, due to weather restrictions, it did not happen. It did not hinder my enjoyment while we were there. My sister and her family as well as my cousin and hers, did ziplining. My son, sister, and cousin also did the half day pass for the water park. They stated that it was good except lines on the big slide were crazy and four of the seven people had received burns due to the lack of water on the slide! We did let the cruise director know when we returned to the ship. It felt that they did not have enough water running down the slide. If you have mobility issues, they had many trams and personnel to assist those who needed it. I really wish they would increase the amount of time that we were there. We did have an extra hour there, but it would have been nice to have more.
The WindJammer's set up is not the best. There are other cruise lines that have a better set up. Some ships have a barbecue section, pizza section, etc... However, the flow on this ship did not really flow well. One big line to get food. The quality of the food was not terrible at the WindJammer but not the best either. Most days, we ate breakfast and dinner in the main dining room.
We had early seating, which sometimes was sometimes a bit too early but most of us thought the later time was a bit too late. Since we had twelve people, we decided a fixed time would be easier. Prior to the cruise I had reached out to Royal Cruise dining department and requested a table for twelve. They sent me an email with the dining table confirming a table of twelve. As you can guess, we got on the ship, none of us were sitting together. We went to the head waiter on the 4th floor and showed him the email with the copy of the table assignments. He wrote cabin numbers and tables and said he would change and contact our cabins. At the time of our seating, we decided to go to 5th floor dining room since the majority of us were on the fifth floor. The head waiter on that floor was very nice and accommodating. She joined a table of eight and four and put them together. Which actually worked well, we put the adults in one table and the kids at another.
Food was much better in the main dining room than the Wind Jammer. Our waiter Manuel and assistant waiter Shadrul were excellent. They were probably one of the best waiters we have had on a cruise. They were both very attentive and went out of their ways every night to make sure we are happy. Five of us did Chops one night. Food and service were very good. Our waiter James was interesting to say the least. Not sure if it was an act or Tourette’s but he did a very good job. He certainly was very amusing.
The shows were okay. We enjoyed the acapella group, the juggler and the last comedian. The final show was pretty good. We did not go to the ice show. I heard that the first comedian was not that great but we did not attend. Due to the craziness of the first day and the late night before, we did not go the welcome show. I do know that the most of the group did go to the piano bar the first night and said he was pretty good. Battle of the Sexes and Quest were fun to do.
We did have children ranging from age 10 - 18. However, they did not use the kids program.
The pool area was very crowded and chair hogs were in abundance. Even at 7:00am it was hard to find a chair. However, I did notice that they were taking items from chairs that were not being used and placing them at the foot of the chair. The solarium area was much more quieter. My son who had turned 18 in April, was happy about being able to use it.
Overall, we all thought the ship was very nice. She may be an older ship but she is in great shape. They were consistently disinfecting and cleaning the ship. There were many places that were not crowded. They did make many announcements of not depositing anything other than toilet paper in the toilet. I heard later that there several issues with toilets. I did smell septic by the elevators on deck 7.
I think there are pluses and minuses to all ships. As stated before, I have not been on any ship more than once. I have enjoyed all of them. I think Carnival's Lido area definitely has a better layout. I would sail them again, only if I could get the rest of my family to do it.
This cabin was a great location. It was directly off the centrium elevators across from the library. It is very convenient however, I will have to add that there were times I definitely heard people who are loud but it wasn't too bad.
We booked day at the beach and Atlantis aquarium. Just okay
Beach was nothing to write home about. A lot of jet skiers and vendors.View All 178 Beach Reviews
They had a good time. issues with big slide. Not enough water on slide. Long linesView All 56 Aqua Park Reviews
They said that they enjoyed it .View All undefined undefined Reviews
I think they did an excellent job getting people on the ship. The line of cars getting to the port was long but they did a good job getting the line moving.
We went to Horseshoe Bay, we took a private bus/van. We got three sets of two chairs and umbrellas for $50.