First impressions - beatiful ship. Never crowded, well laid out - I can see why you would love it. Public areas are going to be completely re-done in two weeks so paid little attention to the old and worn spots. Food - great. Service - outstanding. Waiter Augusto, sommelier Amir, room steward Shetty were wonderful. Captain - definitely 'rock star'. Cruise Director Allan King was what a legend should be. Entertainment was great. The Canopy tour in MoBay was great, the snorkel and Stingray City with Soto tours in Grand Cayman was OK and the Chacchoben Ruins with David & Ivan's was fantastic, beyond our expectations.
From RCCL, I truly miss the Solarium - the four hot tubs on the pool deck are small, often in full sun and always full of children. Dining room attire was generally honored, but certainly not enforced - the teens at the table next to us came to dinner on 'informal' night in t-shirts and board shorts; the man a few tables over wore his baseball cap and t-shirt most nights.
The Connections get-together was Monday morning at 10 a.m., with about 20 people attending and it was nice to put names to faces. CD Allan was with us for quite some time explaining the refurb and answering questions. The Activities Staff person heard me ask about getting a tender in Grand Cayman early enough for a private excursion, and had priority tender tickets sent to our cabin.
We had our 12-pack of coke cans stolen from our checked baggage; reported it and had a form in triplicate that we had to fill out, settled for a 6-pack delivered to our cabin (since 50% chance it was the port people who lifted our soda....) and 3 phone calls to ensure we were satisfied. I kept wondering, since they put all this effort into our $4 Coke, why the people with the room safes broken into had so much difficulty! They deserved the service we got.
Embarkation was a breeze - we arrived at 11:15 and we in our cabin at 11:30 - in the Islands Cafe before they started serving and (sadly) before the bar opened. The Westerdam left before we did, pulled out RIGHT behind us with a stiff breeze across them toward us, and they passed within about 20 feet - photos of us on the deck show the whites of their passengers eyes!
Grand Cayman was ridiculous - 6 ships in port (would have been 7 if the Star Princess had been there). The weather was quite breezy and the water choppy. Stingray City was astounding - over 25 boats there of every shape and size and hundreds of people in this very chopppy water. They must have pulled in every boat that would float - fishing boats, dive boats, party boats - everything was out there bringing the hordes to see the poor fleeing stingrays. The headline in the local paper was about the Costa's tour that the boat overturned - no conclusion as to cause yet but the boat was definitely not overloaded. The line to get tenders for the Carnival ships was easily an hour long in the hot sun. We did get our Big Black Dick rum, tasted rum cakes in every shop and got our sea salts, and were on deck to see the last couple run down the dock to catch the last tender.
Oh - we got to DOCK in Cozumel!!!! Oh man, walking past that long line of people being shoved like cattle to go back to the Explorer of the Seas was so great!!
The one bad thing - they are getting as much work done before drydock as they can. Unfortunately, there are still passengers on the ship. The were putting in cable (internet access?) in the ceiling of our hallway....at 8 a.m. on the last sea day....so much for sleeping in. A guy told us they were doing his hallway at 1 a.m.!
Anyway, I have laundry calling me and it's been 4 hours since my last meal so it must be time to eat again .....I expect some of the others will have thoughts to add when they finally get home. I hope they had pleasant flights.