We live in central Louisiana, so we just had a short drive to New Orleans. Got up at 5:00am and left at 6:00am. We pulled up to the cruise parking at 9:45. The little guy helped us with our luggage. We carried a lot of our luggage on the ship ourselves. We went straight through security and check-in, and we were on the boat at 10:30. That was nice. First, we dropped off our luggage in our rooms. Then we went straight up to the Windjammer Cafe. I bought the coke pass - my husband waited until the next day and decided he needed one. Lunch was great! When we checked in, they had given us a "Compass" of that day's events. We noticed that you could talk to the Maitre d' at 1 pm to change dinner seating. So after lunch, we went straight down to the dining room (on this trip, we were without the kids, and wanted a small table for two). We were not the only one in line at 12:30.pm. We ended up with an excellent table for two looking over the balcony in the middle. After that, we started exploring the ship. The ship was just so amazing to us. The worst part of that day was the muster drill. But it didn't take long. Just be patient, and your cruise will start before you know it!
This was our 12th anniversary cruise, & my husband had a dozen roses, and a picture-and-frame gift waiting for me in our room.
We had an inside room on the 8th deck. We had plenty of room for the two of us, especially because we were not in our room very much. We liked to sit out on the deck and watch the waves, and see what kind of fish we could spot. We did spot some dolphins in the middle of the ocean. That was nice
The dining room food and staff were unbelieveable. The staff learns your habits, so by the 2nd or 3rd night they know what you want before you do. We ate 5-star meals every night. We enjoyed going to dinner every night it was so good.
Our days at sea were great. I fell in love with their breakfast. I love their shrimp omelettes. I had one every morning. My husband and I just relaxed and enjoyed being together with no kids.
My husband went on his first dive in the Caribbean, and I went swimming with the dolphins. Two great excursions. We booked both of them through the ship. We met up after our excursions and ate lunch, then got off the boat and went shopping together.
We went swimming with the stingrays and snorkeling on a reef. We enjoyed this so much. My husband came up for air very little; I think he grew gills. We were tendered here, so after we finished our excursion we were hungry and went to the Hard Rock Cafe and ordered 2 appetizers and 2 cokes. We didn't know the price was in Cayman dollars, so that meal cost us a little over 35 dollars U.S. Then we did a little more shopping. We always try to be on the boat about an hour before they tell us to, so we won't get left. We have AT&T for our cell service, and I always put us on a global package before we leave on our cruise, so we were able to call home from our cell phone for a little charge - so minor I didn't even notice it that much more on our bill. My cell phone did not work in Cozumel. We tried to use our phone card from home, and we got charged 15 dollars a minute. Not good...good thing we didn't talk over 4 minutes. It's always best to buy a phone card from one of the shops in Cozumel for 10 dollars, those have worked for us.
We loved this place. When we got there, our excursion got cancelled, so we went on a beach break excursion. We enjoyed this so much. They had a pier, and we snorkeled the whole afternoon.
Disembarking was a breeze, too . We waited for our cabin to be called, and off the ship we went. Loaded our luggage and back home we went. We did all of this in 30 minutes.
-added January 4, 2008
Ship: Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas
Date: December 2007
Departed from: Port Canaveral, FL
Cruise review by: Ron Bradley
Mariner of The Seas
12/16/07 - 12/23/07
Our family consist of myself, 35, Staci 41, Caitlen 17, and Lexi 15. We live in <edited for privacy> not far from where I was born. Or hatched As a family I would like to think we are pretty unsophisticated . We don’t expect much nor do we like anyone to make much of a fuss over us. Our two teenage girls monsters like most girls are boy crazy. While this was a little bit of a problem on the cruise, I found that once you caught one of the little boys hormones with legs and duct taped him to the railing, the rest want nothing to do with your daughters. While planning the cruise I was worried that the girls would not have a good time. Both can be a bit shy and I was worried that they would not make friends. On day two I was wishing this was still the case when I saw the line of boys following them across the pool deck. They caught the scent
Prior to the cruise we spent two nights at the Radisson Resort at the Port. I can’t say enough good things about this place. We were checked in by a 300 pound man with a German accent. I can’t remember his name now so I will call him Honz. In person I called him Sir Despite his Mariner-like size he was a nice young man. We were promptly and pleasantly checked in to our room. We had reserved a Jacuzzi suit with a view of the port. If you chose to stay here please keep in mind that this is Florida. The décor screams tropical. it also screams blind interior decorator Once in the room I quickly found all the important things to be in functioning order, those being the TV, bathroom and sleep number bed. Now this hole sleep number thing kinda confused me. I am from the country where we didn’t have all this fancy stuff. The last time I saw a bed that had buttons I was strapped to it. Needless to say I kept that little box under the bed for safety reasons. The pool here was awesome. It’s heated think peeing in the pool I spent the better part of Saturday lounging by the pool sipping Rum Runners he spent the better part of that night passed out on the bed because alcohol doesn’t go with pain killers…..rocket scientist! Before I knew it Sunday morning had arrived! I jumped out of bed, threw the curtains open wide and quickly realized two disturbing things. One, it was raining outside and two I was naked!! oops? As soon as I realized this I did what any normal man would do…..I put on my moose slippers because my feet were cold. Oh and to be polite I waved to the folks in the parking lot. Take a picture it last longer Once my feet were nice and warm I turned on the local news. The weather reports were not good. Severe thunderstorms through most of the morning and early afternoon. Despite that I was not going to let it bother me. Everyone rolled out of bed around 8. We got all our luggage together and tagged for the cruise. Kitchen sink After the girls got everything packed up and in ordered I called the front desk to have our things brought down. That was the last time I saw our luggage until later that night. The staff at the Radisson has it all together. I am hear to tell you it was as worry free as it can be. I didn’t have to haul anything around which would have been a problem with my back. All I had to do was show up. We left our car at the Radisson while we went on vacation. You can’t beat that!! I would highly recommend the Radisson to anyone looking for a pre or post cruise stay pay me enough and I will recommend you too Should we ever leave out of Port Canaveral again I will stay with them again.
Embarkation was fairly smooth. At least as smooth as herding 3,100 people from all over the world into one place can be. The lines were long but moved fairly quickly. Unlike DMV While being a smooth process it did kind of remind me of corralling our cattle when I was a kid. Wont tell you what we did to them next but I can tell you that going on a cruise was much more pleasant than what happened to the cattle All in all we were probably in line for an hour at most. Once on board I quickly located all the important parts of the ship, the bathrooms, the state rooms, and the food, once again all functioned properly.
As I mentioned earlier it doesn’t take too much to impress us. This being my first cruise on RCCL and only my second cruise period Carnival Liberty I wasn’t sure what to expect. We were in 6316 which is a balcony room on the “hump”. The room had all the important things, a bed, a pooper, and a TV. The balcony was just a bonus. The beds were very comfortable and they had no buttons or anything for me to worry about. I am not the largest guy in the world. 6’ tall and about 235 pre cruise the bathrooms were a little cramped to say the least. The shower reminded me of a coffin with a sliding door . If you drop your soap in this shower you don’t have to worry about bending over to pick it up, you can’t. Trust me I tried. Other than that everything worked fine. The water was wet, and the towels dry. I don’t due this often but I am going to offer those of you who have never cruised before a word of advice. Ladies….if you have a man who’s favorite excursion is sitting on the toilet do yourself a favor. TAKE GLADE!!! Or as Staci did take several air fresheners. Trust me….the odor wont stop at the bathroom door. Thank god for the balcony!! The girls were in a Promenade room just down the hall. It was much like ours but different. It didn’t take long before it looked just like their rooms at home. Disaster area
The ship was beautiful. Not loud and flashy like the Carnival Liberty. The crew keeps her looking beautiful. It is hard to believe that she is 4 years old. Not that 4 years is a long time but if you think of all the passengers that she has had it is amazing. I wish my house were kept up as well. And came with a room steward, cook, and traveled the Caribbean
The food was edible for the most part. I wasn’t expecting anything awesome. Staci I think was expecting more because her father had sailed with RCCL once and told her the food was awesome. her fathers favorite food is bread I will say the food in the dinning room was better than expected. I don’t understand how people can complain so much about the food in the dining room and Windjammer. To those people I say what do you expect? They cook meals for over 3,000 people. Do you really expect the eggs not to be powdered? duh? That being said they do offer plenty of fresh fruits to chose from. Not to mention Jade was a pretty good alternative. If you want a pretty decent steak try Chops. I loved it.
The down side to the food is I got food poisoning on the second night. I am not sure what I ate but I know it was from the Windjammer. Tasted like the nachos when it came back up.
I would love to tell you something positive about room service but I am still waiting for my meal to arrive. We ordered room service 3 times and I am still waiting. However, I have been assured that it will be here any minute now….
Our cruise was of the Western Caribbean which included Libadee, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Libadee was nice and relaxing. Of course I was up all night with food poisoning so I had no choice but to relax. I was plopped down in a beach chair and that is wear I stayed. However, from what I could see through my eyelids was beautiful!! I have heard complaints about the some of the locals being pushy with setting up chairs and selling things. I can tell you that we didn’t have that problem. They did set up our chairs but they were not rude about it. The girls went shopping and said they had no problem with the vendors. The one thing that we did find funny was that some of the merchandise originally had Hawaii on it but the ‘waii” was crossed out and replaced with Haiti. Made in China
Jamaica. I was still sick this day. The only reason I went ashore is because I was concerned about the girls safety. I’ve read plenty on how unsafe Jamaica is. While I am not one to jump to conclusions or be over protective I can see where Jamaica can be very unsafe. However, I can also think of many places in the U.S that are just as unsafe. In Jamaica we booked Bob Marley’s house with Marva Shaw. While Marva was great I will never go up in the mountains of Jamaica again. This was the only safety concern I had with Jamaica. The roads are terrible up in the mountains. It’s amazing to see how the people live. On the other hand my girls also got to see how fortunate they are to live in such a nice place. As far as the Bob Marley House. I wouldn’t waste my time with it. It’s just one big tourist trap. You pay $45.00 to see where Bob sat on a rock and got stoned all the time. Not to mention all the people sitting around getting stoned. Don’t waist your time! The port area is very dirty for the most part. If I find myself back there on another cruise chances are I will stay on the boat. Should we decide to do something there I will use Marva Shaw again.
Grand Cayman Up all night sick. Stayed in bed all day while the girls went to shop. My favorite excursion on this day was the toilet. Long ride…not very pleasant.
Cozumel I felt much better today. The girls and I went into town shopping. As far as ports go Cozumel was my favorite. It was just a relaxing day. We strolled down the street spending my money. What’s not to enjoy? I only wish we had more time. We purchased some alcohol, and some rings for the girls. Staci, did a shot of something that cleared up her cold. So it was a good day.
My only real issues on this cruise other than room service was that of the sales agents. While on board we tried to put down a deposit towards our next cruise. We spoke with the agent who was very rude and simply told us that unless we knew what cruise we wanted it wouldn’t be worth his time to look. He told us that his computer was moving to slow and to look when we got home. When I explained to him we just wanted to put down a deposit for a future cruise in general we were told again to do it from home. I was told that we could still get the on board credit. On the last night of the cruise I checked with another agent who was there. She told me that he told me wrong. When I asked if she could help she said she was too far behind in her bookings to help me. This kind of took me by surprise. I thought they would be happy to help, but this was not the case. Up until that night was almost certain I wanted to try RCCL again despite the minor issue of room service and food poisoning. I went back to my room discouraged and disappointed, not how I wanted to end my cruise.
All in all I am glad I got the chance to share this experience with the people I love the most. Sometimes I feel like people lose site of what’s important. For me the most important thing was seeing those people I love the most smile. Sure this cruise wasn’t a perfect experience for me personally, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The people I was with made that week one of the high lights of my life. I feel like I’ve made some great friends on this trip. People I hope I will be able to keep in touch with. Happy Cruising!!
Ship: Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas
Date: June 2007
Departed from: Galveston, TX
Cruise review by: Kim & Johnnie Rhodes
This cruise was booked about a year in advance. Our sail date was June 3, 2007. We went to Cozumel, Roatan, Cozumel again (The seas were too rough to dock at Costa Maya) and Progreso. We booked 2 staterooms on the 8th deck. Our rooms were beside each other, but they did not connect in the middle, so I stayed with my daughter and my husband roomed with my son. Not that we don't trust our children (???), we just thought it would be the smart thing. My mom and dad decided they would join us on this cruise. This was their first. They also had an inside room just one door down from us.
We left on a Saturday morning and headed to Texas City, where we had our hotel at Fairfield inn. We dropped off our luggage and ate lunch at Ryan's next door. We had tickets to the Astros game at 1:00 that afternoon. After we ate lunch we headed to Houston to watch the game. We had no trouble parking and had a great time at the game. After the game, the men went back to the hotel and the women went shopping at the mall next to the hotel.
Sunday morning we got up and ate breakfast at the hotel and headed out to the ship at about 9:30. The ladies were dropped off at the cruise terminal and the men parked the car. We went straight through checkin, and had to sit and wait for a little while at the chairs past checkin; it was about 11:00. There were complimentary snacks and drinks, and restrooms were available. The wait wasn't too bad, because we knew all the checkin was behind us. They started loading about 11:30. We went straight up to the Windjammer and had a delicious lunch. After lunch, we dropped our carry on luggage off in our room and started looking around. We had a great dining table. We were all so excited!
Our kids spent lots of time at the Adventure Ocean kids camp. We had to make our son spend a little time with us. We had the 6:00 dining, so our son stayed at dinner for an hour. Laarni, our waiter, made sure she had his meal out so he had time to eat it before he went to the kids camp. She also would send him dessert with us to give to him after he got out of the camp. His grandfather usually ended up eating it. Our daughter enjoyed herself too. I just think they might give them a little too much freedom at this age. The scavenger hunts she would have to do by herself and we didn't allow her to do those. I know we are overprotective, but you never know.
Our dining experience was awesome. We couldn't wait until dinner. One night we were in Progreso and my husband, mom and daughter went on a late excursion to see the ruins at Chichen Itza, and they were late for dinner. But Laarni was very nice and insisted that they join us in their shorts and sweaty clothes. They were just going to eat at the Windjammer. Speaking of the Windjammer,it was over the top. The best Windjammer I've ever eaten at. They had food that my picky son loved, like mashed potatoes and gravy and other country-style foods. They also had alternative selections. The fruit that week was delicious. The staff was over the top as usual.
The ship was magnificent overall.
Our first stop was Cozumel. We took a taxi to Chankanaab Park, and went snorkeling and took a tour of the gardens. Made it back on the ship for lunch, then, most importantly, went shopping.
Our second stop we went to Roatan, Honduras. This was our first time here. We went to Fantasy Island Resort. It was about a 30-minute bus ride, which was interesting because it allowed us to see how people lived on the island. The beach was beautiful. We went snorkeling. This was the most beautiful reef that I've ever snorkeled on. They were full of color and life. The only thing I didn't like was that they dropped us off in the water and we had to snorkel back to shore. After the snorkel, we hung out at the beach and laid in the hammocks. They also had a zoo which was very neat to see. They had monkeys hanging around everywhere. And guess what -- when you put monkeys and my family together they have to play. Of course, during the play my son got bitten by one of the monkeys. It was not being mean, Caleb acted like he was feeding the monkey and he had nothing so the monkey bit down on his finger. It bled just a little. But when we got back to the states we called his pediatrician, and they sent him to the ER and he had to have the full rabies vaccine. Chances are he would've been fine without them, but it turns out that monkeys are one of the top carriers of rabies, so it wasn't worth chancing. It took 6 trips to the ER to finish all of the shots. Not something that I want to relive. But this is now my favorite port of call. I can't wait to go back. We'll just steer clear of the monkeys to be extra safe.
For our third stop, we were supposed to go to Costa Maya, but the waves too big so we couldn't dock. Instead, we went to Cozumel again. The men went on a dune buggy excursion and the women went shopping.
Our fourth stop was Progreso, Mexico. My husband, daughter and mom went to the ruins at Chichen Itza. My son just wanted to stay on the boat and go to Adventure Ocean. My dad and I took a free bus ride to downtown Progreso, and did a little of shopping. This was a neat experience.
Our last day at sea is always sad because we have to pack and get ready to go home. Overall, we had an awesome time on this trip. The ship and the crew were over the top. I'm going to miss this ship. The Voyager of the Seas is taking its place.
Ship: Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas
Date: February 2008
Departed from: Galveston, TX
Excursion review of Mayfield Falls, Jamaica by: Tonya Shockley
We made it to the top of the Dolphin Hill Mountains after a one and a half hour drive on a very winding one lane road with many bumps and potholes. Be aware that this is not the excursion for someone with back trouble, pregnant, etc. If you are in good health and don’t mind the bumps, jarring, and aren’t subject to anxiety, you will surely enjoy the beautiful scenic drive through the lush rain forest to the top of the mountain. I found the ride a little frightening, as Jamaican drivers aren’t known for their excellent driving skills. The skinny road cannot accommodate vehicles going in both directions, so when they meet, someone has to back up. To alert oncoming cars that you are coming round the mountain, the driver honks his horn. My husband and twelve year old son loved the wild ride, and laughed hysterically while watching me and the other passengers panic every time our driver slammed on the brakes to avoid a head on collision.
This is a great opportunity to take in the local culture. As you ride, you will pass very primitive villages and homes built along the mountain side. We saw mothers bathing their babies in outside tubs, outhouses, outdoor cooking, skinny dogs, lots of goats, and precious barefooted children waving to us as our bus passed. The people were very poor, and some seemed to live in extreme poverty. The incredible beauty of the landscape contrasted greatly with the living conditions of the residents.
After arriving at our destination, Mayfield Falls, we were greeted by the local tour guides who directed us down a steep hill to the picturesque site. Everyone spoke English and you can clearly understand when they are speaking to you, although they speak their own Jamaican language when talking to each other. Our tour guide explained that the Jamaican language which is called Patois/Patwa is a combination of several distinct languages which include Haitian, English, African, and even some Yiddish.
The site has changing rooms, restaurants, bathrooms (running water was not working on the day we visited). Beware that the changing rooms are built from bamboo with holes between the slats. There wasn’t much privacy when changing, so next time I will wear my swimsuit under my clothes. Just remember that everything about this excursion is primitive, but that is also the sweet charm in it. Wear your water shoes, or come prepared to rent them from the tour. You will not be allowed to go barefooted or wear tennis shoes. Also, there are no private lockers. The tour guide requires that you leave everything in one large locker assigned to your bus. The locker is locked and your guide keeps the key. We were not even allowed to wear sunglasses into the mineral pools, so just leave as much as possible on the ship, hotel room, etc. You are also asked not to wear sunscreen, as it may cause damage to the mineral pools. You won’t need it. There is shade the entire time you are on this tour.
After everybody has changed, you will leave as a group to travel across the bamboo bridge to the mineral pools and waterfalls. The water is cool and refreshing and after the initial shock, it feels wonderful and is an incredible cloudy blue green color. You cannot see the bottom, which is very rocky and slippery in a few places. Your guides seem to know where every rock is, and will be glad to direct your steps if you desire. He will also allow you to walk freely if you feel comfortable doing so. You should remember to bring a waterproof disposable camera, and you can get some great pictures. Throughout your trip down the falls, a guide will be snapping pictures which are for sale in one of the huts when your walk is complete. After the dip in the pools is finished, you will walk down a shaded path back to your starting location. Be on the lookout for various fruit trees and exotic plants. Our guide even showed us a curry plant. If I could change one thing, I would request the guides to allow us a little more time in the water. We did seem to be rushed some, and I believe the guides wanted to hurry us back so they could encourage us to purchase their photos, and crafts. This is how they make their money, so I can’t blame them, but it would be nice to have a little more time to play in the water. That is why you came, after all.
Overall, this tour was great and I would do it again, and recommend it to my friends and family. I really felt like I saw a little piece of the real Jamaica.
ship: Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas
date: February 2008
departed from: Galveston, TX
cruise review by: Kim & Johnnie Rhodes
This was a long awaited cruise. We sailed Feburary 3, 2008. I had booked this cruise in May of 2006. My family of four was in two promenade rooms that connected in the middle. We only paid about $500 per person because we had booked so early.
We went early to Galveston and stayed the weekend before the cruise. We went to Moody Gardens and had lunch at the Rain Forest Cafe -- a must for anyone going to Galveston!
We woke up early Sunday morning and had breakfast at the hotel -- nothing special, just toast and juice, although they did have waffles. It was a little foggy so we were hoping that our ship came into port. We couldn't see it from the hotel. We put all of our luggage tags on before we left the hotel, and off we went at 9:30 am. Johnnie dropped off my daughter and me, while he went to go park the car. This took about an hour. He was back to us at 10:45. We made it through the checkin by 11:30. But they wouldn't let anyone on the boat until 12pm, so we sat in the seat with our friends that went with us and waited. The time went by fast, they had refreshments and drinks with restrooms. We got on the ship at about 12:15. It was so beautiful. We couldn't go to our rooms until 1:00, so we found the first elevator and went to the Windjammer and had our first lunch on the Voyager of the seas. After lunch, we made it to our rooms which was also a nice surprise. We had plenty of room of the four of us, with bay windows looking down into the promenade area. The shower had regular shower doors. Nice change from the cloth ones. We did enjoy our rooms on this cruise. Our kids also thought it was cool to have their own rooms.
The promenade was always a beautiful place to look at -- it was amazing how big the promenade area was to be in the middle of the ship. They had parades down it a couple of times that week. They also had sales of jewerly, t-shirts and other things at different times during the week. My daughter and her friend danced inside the Pig and Whistle bar before one of the parades (they were dared by her dad). They also had a pizza and sandwich shop that was open just about 24/7. The croissant sandwiches were great.
The food was good this week. The dining room was very good as it always is, just like the waiting staff. This dining room was three stories, and we were seated on the third floor. The Windjammer was a good place to eat too. My favorite was breakfast. I love their omelettes. This was the first ship that we had been on that you could use your Coke pass in the Windjammer. I really enjoyed that. We also had Johnny Rockets on this ship. Our kids really enjoyed this place. The food was really good too. They would also sing and dance for you, while you ate. My son had to go every day and get a milkshake. He loved them.
Our first port was Jamaica
. We went tubing on the Great River. We enjoyed cruising down the river on a tube. My husband and daughter bought some jerk chicken -- they ate it up. They said it was the best they had ever eaten. I didn't try it. I was a little scared. We did not dock close to any shopping, so after the excursion we just got back on the ship. My daughter and I were a little bummed about that...we wanted to do some shopping. But it was a nice afternoon up on the deck, kicked back with our friends.
The next stop was Grand Cayman Island
. We went on the Atlantis Submarine. I had been on the one in Cozumel and I thought it was better. This was still good if you've never done it before. After that we went and had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. We just ordered 2 appetizers, drank water, and my son had the chicken nuggets kids meal. Our bill was about 40 dollars, but it was worth it considering the location and not having to board the ship just to eat lunch, then get off again. After that we went shopping. My daughter and I really enjoyed it.
Our last stop was Cozumel
. We went to Chankanaab National Park. The women and kids swam with the dolphins and my husband and his friend went to snorkel. We had so much fun this day. My son was so excited to swim with the dolphins. We had lunch at the restaurant in the park. It was good, but I think we paid about 60 dollars for this meal. After we ate, we went shopping at the pier. Got back on the boat to get a good look at the Freedom of the Seas parked next to us. That was really neat.
Overall, this was one of my favorite cruises. This was the biggest ship I've been on. I never felt the ship move at all that week. This ship had lots of extras, like miniature golf, inline skating, ice skating, a basketball court, water slide, ping pong tables, scuba instructor, movie theater, and lots more.
Our kids, 14 and 9, really enjoyed their kids club, Adventure Ocean. Our daughter had 2 friends from home on this cruise, so we let her roam the boat with the two of them, and we never worried. We just gave her the order to stay off the open decks at night, and we would check in with her periodically. They enjoyed staying at the teen club and doing whatever they wanted. Our son enjoyed the kids club so much that he only ate dinner with us the first night when they didn't have anything for him to do. They wake up every morning in time to eat breakfast and make it to their activities. The last day at sea my daughter and her friend got up to go learn how to do the towel art.
This ship promised to be packed with amenities and activities, and it delivered. It did seem that the service on this ship was not as good as what we had enjoyed on prior experiences with Royal Caribbean, but was still more than satisfactory.