WOW the Hyatt Pier 66...in Fort Lauderdale...what a great hotel for the price I got on Priceline....beautiful.
Embarkation - Not bad...but the Miami port is going through some major reconstruction...so driving in on your own can be a bit confusing...but we stopped and asked a port worker and they were as helpful as can be. Got to Miami around 10:30 and we were let through the metal detectors at 11:00. Went up to the desks to clear our forms...to stand in another line...then we were let onto the ship around 11:30.
Food - Wow...I don't know what people could ever complain about...but my entire family thought the food was incredible. The Windjammer and main dining room. We came back to RCCL after not particularly caring for Carnival's food. After reading the boards prior to our cruise...I was a bit nervous. The selection at lunchtime in the Windjammer is great.
The ship itself - the public areas of the ship still look wonderful...you have to really start inspecting before you can find wear. Our outside cabin was a different story...a lot of wear...the bed spreads were frayed and tattered, the clothes cord in shower was ripped out, the bathroom mirror was discolored, and wallpaper was ripping from the walls. But our cabin steward always made up for it by keeping it wonderfully clean and neat.
Entertainment - OK....they had the goucho...who was great...spinning his balls...lol. And a wonderful comedian on the last night...forget his name already...he also sang a bit. Just performed with the Temptations recently. He was tops. But the rest of the entertainment onboard was primarily the Ship's dancers...and I didn't care for them much.
Ports - Nassau - we went to the British Colonial Hilton and had a great day...$15 adult to get in...and they let my 8 year old in free, because he was cute...and he is!!! If you are looking for a quiet day at the beach, with great drinks and a clean pool...this is the place for you.
Cocoa Cay - great barbecue food, we did the water trampoline park...it was so much fun...my husband, kids ages 8 and 15, and myself had a blast. My husband and I felt like kids again. Tenders ran well...getting off and back on.
Key West - Clearing customs is a bit of a pain...but I understand the need for it...so no problem. Ms. Ramirez held up the ship for quite some time...they must have called her down 4 or 5 times. The comedian even added that to his show. Anyway, love this place!!! Had never been before. We rented a Key West cruiser and toured on our own. We ate at Pappa's restaurant for lunch....great Margaritas!!! Oh yeah and the food was good too! The cruiser was kind of expensive...but we had a great time....$150 including insurance for a 4 seater for 4 hours. Just watch out when you go into the shops...some of the tee shirts can be incredibly risque...my 8 year old wound up seeing a few things I'd rather he hadn't!!!
Service - our cabin steward Deen Williams...was outstanding. He saw my youngest son wearing my fanny pack (Crown and Anchor) and he said...Oh I'll bring your children some too...after all they've also cruised before...and so now we all have our fanny packs. Room was always clean. He saw that I had smuggled in a big bottle of wine...he went and found a larger bucket to put it in with some ice and got me a couple wine glasses...which he replaced each day.
Debarkation...Wow...quick...we were sitting down at the Windjammer for breakfast around 8am...and they called our tag color...we finished and went down...no lines...and we were off .
My fellow passengers....we were a full house...WOW....I was nervous it being the childrens vacation week. Wasn't looking forward to bratty kids, unsupervised teens....and the kind of crowd that might be attracted to a 4 day cruise....but Oh my Lord...we definately had a lot of kids on the ship...it was really a hoot...because I'd say 3/4 of them were from Mass...as we found out during the first show. Not one stumbling drunk, bearly any unsupervised teens, and the little ones were wonderful. The ship posted several times and places...that the kids curfew is at 1 am and strickly enforced. They would also put on the daily schedule if activities were adults only...which is nice. Out of all of our cruises...the crowd we were with was wonderful. People were staying together as families. You saw them at bingo, the shows, the pool, the Windjammer as families. There was always a chair at the pool or a table in the Windjammer. Our tablemates Kelly, Steve, Katie, and Jake from Mass were great. The cruiselines always do a great job pairing people up at dinner...addresses and phone numbers were exchanged as in the past. We still keep in touch with all of our tablemates.
The Adventure Ocean staff - my 8 year old only went down twice...but one of the staff members gave him a bunch of coupons anyway that he could turn in on the last day for prizes...he wound up being able to get a kids messenger bag...it is pretty nice. The staff was really nice...and Cody always said he had a great time.
Oh before I forget.....WOW....is the water cold in the ocean this time of the year...we were shocked...we've always been down in June, July, and August....wwwwwwweeeeeeeewwwwwwweeeeeeiiiiiii!!! I was going to book another cruise for next February while on board but decided not to...because my husband wants to go when the water will be warmer...I'm going to put a thread asking folks if the southern carribean water would be any warmer in Feb.
Now I have to go...so I can begin the cruise post depression process...which will begin this morning with...having to make my own darn coffee .
until my Majesty of the Seas cruise!
Carnival Inspiration - June 2003
RCCL Monarch of the Seas - July 2002