We started our trip by flying down two days early to Fll. Ran into long flight delays due to the tropical storm last week. We were going to use the tri county express shared ride for $32.00, but because we arrive so late we just obtained a private limo for $60.00. You can obtain this right outside the baggage area.
The driver dropped us off at the Holiday Inn Bayside. We had the top floor with the room facing the harbor. I enjoyed watching RCCL and Carnival ships coming and going. We had no problem with noise from Bayside. Rooms were clean but very cold. There is a Walgreen’s four blocks away for purchasing drinks, and you can get last minute items at bayside market.
We took a taxi Sunday morning to the pier. We were told it would be about $5.00, ended up being $15.00 due to heavy traffic around the dock. Arrived at 10:00 and checked in with no problem, but then had to wait till around 12:00 for them to allow boarding onto the ship. Once on board, went to check room. Wasn’t clean yet, went to eat a Rosie’s and wandered around the ship. Made appointments at Scarlett’s and toured the Spa. Booked a couples massage for latter in the afternoon, and several more appointments for Monday. I have nothing but wonderful comments to say about the spa on the ship. The girls doing the massages were wonderful. Everyone we met remembered our name when we saw them again.
Monday, Day at sea. Started with another spa appointment for both my husband and I. We then split up and I went up to the deck for some sun. I did not notice much “chair hogging” on this cruise. You could come out around 9 or 10 am and still get decent chairs around the pools. My husband discovered the art auction. If you are interested in art, it is a wonderful place to get some pieces at inexpensive prices. He bought several Kincaid’s for around $220.00 each plus several other artist that he liked. The art director, Duncan was a wonderful person. My husband also received a free $600.00 piece of art because he was the only one that would sit in the front. After that, everyone always sat in the front. That night we had to turn clocks back one hour to central time.
Tuesday, at Belize. We booked a private cave tubing tour with Marvin’s at Wet and Wild. We had Charlie as our guide. Because we had to tender in, we got in line at 730am and obtained passes for the first tender. Even with this we still got off as soon as we could. We had 20 people in our group, all from cruise critics, and had a wonderful time. Had an ecological tour on the way out learning about the plants and saw some bats in a cave. My husband and one other (Emily) ate termites. We had BBQ chicken at the end of the tubing. The carnival tour had almost 500 people in their tour.
Wednesday, at Roatan. Docked at port. Only ship there. We had booked a private driver, but she had accidentally double booked herself. She obtained another driver for us. All the drivers outside the gate charge the same. It is $25.00 p/p up to 4 people and $80.00 for 2. Because it was just the two of us we paid the $80.00. The driver took us to the new Canopy tour at plantation bay. This was the highlight of the cruise. It is cheaper to pay when you get there. We were the first ones there. There are 20 platforms with combinations of zip lines and bridges. By the time we were done, we were flipping upside down and letting go of our hands. I would recommend getting there as soon as possible as they do get busy. The Zip Line itself was easy, the bridges were harder. If you are relatively active you should be able to do the bridges. The first bridge was the hardest then they got easier. We then went to the Iguana farm and some sightseeing around the island. Roatan was much nicer looking than Belize, but you have to get away from the downtown area.
Thursday, at Grand Cayman. Again we had to tender. But this time we did not have to get off the ship anytime soon. Though they do use the same tender stickers, so if you get a good number in Belize, save it and reuse it in Cayman’s. In GC we booked privately with Soto’s stingray and snorkel tour at 1pm. They pick you up just a couple of blocks down from the pier at noon and drive you over to their dock. We had about 25 people on the boat. They took us snorkeling first. Showed us an Eel and a nurse shark (hope my water camera took good photos), and swam along the reef. We then went over to the sandbar with the sting rays. That was an experience. We were able to hold them, feed them, pet them, and my husband even kissed one. (Kodak moment).
Friday, at Cozumel. We docked at the Puerto Maya port. Again privately booked a dune buggy tour with Eagle Ray tours. Had to take a taxi over to their location. It was only $6.00 for the two of us. The excursion itself was fun. Everyone in the group (5 dune buggy’s total) ended up getting stuck in the sand at least once. So we all ended up helping each other. They had a beach picnic for us and time was allowed for swimming/snorkeling if you wanted to. We then went further down the beach to a Mayan stone structure. My husband enjoyed this tour. Turn clocks back to Eastern Time.
Saturday, at sea. Again, no problems getting a chair. Spent some time in the sun, and then went inside to watch the afternoon events taking place in the theater. The newlywed/not so newlywed was funny. The valor idol was good. Had to place bags outside the doors between 9-12 midnight.
Sunday, home. Did not do the self disembark. Got off around 10am. The lines were long, but it moved steadily. Used the carnival shuttle. Had no problem with it. They let us off at the delta terminal in Fll. I do want to point out that the people, who had early flights, were on the same bus as us. For some reason, they sat at the port for 30 minutes, and we just walked up and were the last ones let on the bus. They were complaining because some of them had 12 o’clock flights.
The food was typical cruise food.
Rosie’s: on Lido deck was typical buffet style. There was also the hamburger grill and sandwich bar. My husband liked the Ruben. The pizza bar is open 24 hours and was good. The ice cream bar is has both ice cream and yogurt and is open 24 hours. I was not impressed with the Chinese bar but my husband liked the rice. The chocolate buffet was Saturday afternoon. It was nice too look at but too sweet for me to eat.
Lincoln: we had the 6:15 dining time. We never ate breakfast/lunch there, but dinner was good. Our server learned our names on the first day, and addressed us correctly hence forth. The bar waiter there also learned our drinks and our sail/sign card and would just ask us if we were ready for them and he would bring it.
Scarlett’s: Ate there Wednesday night. Loved it. Make sure you go with an empty stomach. There is a lot of food. We had an excellent server, but unfortunately he is transferring to the liberty in a couple of weeks to work in their supper club. If you go on the Liberty, ask for Simon, he was great. I had the fillet and my husband had the porterhouse. He wished he had the fillet. It was very tender.
The entertainment was good. We enjoyed the show. The 80’s review was good. It brought back memories. The jugular was ok, but he reminded me of pee wee Herman.
As we did not bring the kids, I can not comment on the camp carnival, but I have to say that we did not see many kids running around. Still too soon I think.
Overall, we would go again in a heartbeat. We enjoyed the staff and exchanged email addresses with some of them. We went looking forward to having fun and we had the best time, what little problems we had, we let it go and continued having fun. We enjoyed spending time with all the cruise critic families that we met though this board and congrats to Debbie for winning bingo.