My fiancee and I, (25 and 24, respectively), really enjoyed our experience on this cruise, the port days in particular. While the little newsletter that magically arrives in your stateroom every evening boasts an impressive schedule of activities to fill up your days at sea, most of them weren't of interest to us. Not sure if it's an age thing, or just a general lack of compatibility thing...luckily, we brought plenty of books and found ways to keep ourselves happily busy for the most part. I realize that we're not exactly the "target" demographic for a cruise like this one, though I really feel that some of the lauded activities were really just excrutiating...the Beyond the Podium lecture series, anyone? We did enjoy most of the onboard entertainment, with the exception of Limelight. Even I, as a fan of musical theater, had difficulty sitting through it. If you're going to skip a show, I'd probably skip that one. All of the others were certainly worth watching...we also attended all of the late night comedy sessions and were glad for it. Food was okay, not noticeable better or worse than other cruises I've been on. Fair warning: the Oceanview Cafe is a bit of a desolate wasteland in the evening time. We only tried it once, and once was enough to show us we dare not forsake the Silohuette dining room again. As a younger couple with body modifications, I did feel that we received the occasional disdainful look from other passengers, myself in particular. I guess nose rings and big holes in your ears are offensive! The staff, however, were all very kind, helpful, and friendly to us.
We went to Sapphire Beach, (NOT using the Celebrity-organized excusion), and it was truly amazing. We took a taxi from the port to the beach for $10 pp, rented a chair for $7, and went snorkeling using our own equipment. We're amateur snorkelers with little in the way of experience, but we REALLY enjoyed it and were impressed by the variety of fish and coral we saw. The beach is also extremely beautiful and remained relatively empty over the course of our day there. A friendly local pointed out an iguana digging a nest in which to lay her eggs, extremely cool to see! Taxi ride was $10 pp back to the port...all in all, $27 for a wonderful day at the beach, vs. the $60 or $70 it would have cost us with the excursion.
We didn't have any particular plans in St. Kitts, so when a man approached us offering a 4-hour taxi tour of the island for $20 pp, we took a chance and jumped on it. It turned out to be a great decision...we saw a majority of the island, and th tour included free beer and soda. The driver wasn't exactly a tour guide, but he did explain our stops and was very friendly. We went to several overlooks, the Caribelle Batik, a few historical points of interest...the island is poor, but we felt safe and secure in the air-conditioned van. Look out for the "monkey guys" after you walk into Basseterre...once he puts the monkeys on you, you're a goner.
It rained while we were on Barbados, and our tour guide (through Glory Tours) was't exactly scintillating. Both of those factors probably contributed to our lackluster experience. We spent most of our time on the Atlantic side, and found the views to be impressive...but, again, they would've had more of an impact if it wasn't so gray. We ended up at the Wildlife Reserve...initally, we weren't interested in going because of the $23 pp fee, but after we resisted our tour guide offered to get us in for $6 pp, and that sounded like a pretty good deal to us. Despite the rain, the reserve was magical. It was awesome to be so close to so many different kinds of animals, and the grounds are beautiful! A highlight of our entire cruise was seeing a week-old baby monkey learning to climb on the decorative wrought iron windows around the park.