Some quick background. Decided about a year and a half ago that our next big trip would be a cruise. Researched and debated, would like to have gone the week of 7/24 since my daughters birthdays are 7/25 (twins) and mine is 7/29. How cool would that be? Research made me think we would enjoy the Western more, so ended up booking Explorer for 7/17-7/24 the first day it opened up. Ended up with room 1688, didn't know how lucky we were until I found this site. Spent hours lurking and learning. More reading and research booked all excursions on my own including a surprise Dolphin Swin in Cozumel for the girls for their birthday. Shopping, shopping and more shopping helped pass the time as did everyone here. Finally, just 10 more days and we are headed for a record for the most hurricanes in July since they started keeping trace. Now I knew Hurricane Emily would be a problem, one if my daughters is Emily, and she can be pretty stormy when she gets riled.
We headed to Miami the day before, at this point figuring some ports would be changed or missed but really just happy to be getting on the ship. Checked into Holiday Inn Port of Miami. It was perfect for us, convenient to Bayside where we had lunch and spent a leisurely afternoon browsing and strolling. Back to the hotel for some pool time for the girls, pizza delivery for dinner and lights out for some good rest and just to make the time go by faster so we could get on that ship!!! Found out Sunday while in line for terminal security that our itinerary had been changed and we were not going anywhere we had planned. O.K., no big deal, we are still going on a cruise and just make the best of it. Our first steps into the ship, I'm not sure what was more fun seeing my daughters reaction or seeing the ship itself. Both amazing. Found our room, 1688, and it was ready and waiting for us. Dropped our carry ons and off to explore. We wanted to see everything at once! Stopped for some lunch and back to the room so the girls could change and go try out that pool.
Meet our waiter Neil and Zekai, had a wonderful first dinner and knew we were in for a week like no other. Missed the opening show, I really wanted the girls to go to the met and mingle for the 12-14 age group. Dropped them off there and my husband and I went to Dizzys for a quiet drink. I had some kind of blue martini and boy was it good! Back to pick up the girls, they had a good time and meet some nice young people. Looked around some more and then back to the cabin to enjoy some time out on the balcony. Can you believe we are here???? When we first boarded we checked out the excursions being offered for the islands we were headed to and with no research, no reading reviews, nothing other than what the tv was telling me, my husband and I picked out excursions for St. Thomas, St. Marteen and Nassau. Let's hope they are O.K.
Woke up early for my first full sea day. Husband went up and ran, runs everyday at home. Today (7/25/) when he ran on non moving surface with no wind tunnel effect he said he had the best run he has had in a long time. I offered to cruise with him every 6 to 8 weeks so that he could train. We all enjoyed this day. We sunned, ate, we read, ate, climbed rock walls, ate, swan, ate.... well you get the picture. It seemed every time my husband went missing he would appear a short time later with an ice cream cone. He told me everytime it was LOW FAT frozen yogurt! We got all dressed up for dinner and enjoyed the evening so much. The only down part was that my daughter Meaghan was feeling a bit sea sick. Started her on Bonine for the rest of the trip, and she did o.k. Watched the tribute to the Temptations, lots of fun and good music. Stopped by the casino to get rid of some of that extra cash I had been carrying around then off to bed.
Every day was great. We enjoyed all our stops and all the excursions worked out very well. Played in the casino a couple more times, never won. Enjoyed most of the shows, Planet Ice was incredible, how do they do that???? Meals were a pleasure, Neil and Zekai worked very hard to make us happy each evening. The ship was just incredible. My mom and dad had sailed her in January and I had heard lots about it. But it truly has to be seen to be appreciated. In addition to our change in islands, we also had a rescue at sea. It was something to see, how lucky was that young man! We snorkeled in St John, swan with stingrays in Nassau and did an island tour and shopping in St Marteen. We had a blast. I felt for the employees at guest relations. I unfortunately heard more than one person yelling at them about the change in itinerary or the excursions offered. I really feel that Royal Caribbean did what was safest for their customers and their employees and also did their best to offer options in each island on short notice. We did not find the food below par anywhere, breakfast and lunch was at the Windjammer each day. The cookies in Promenade Cafe were delicious and dinner was excellent food and service each night. If I could get back on that ship this Sunday I would. And since some of my luggage is still in Miami I wouldn't have to pack as much! Please check ID tags when taking your luggage!!!! My husband likes to tell people that I planned a great vacation for us, we just didn't go on the one I planned. I've told him that we have to book another cruise so that we can go on that trip! Any questions, just ask. You all helped me so much before we left.