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Everything posted by WorkerBee74

  1. We are on the Adventure OTS Canada/New England September 16 sailing, and due to the cancellation of our Bar Harbour stop weโ€™ve ended up with a crazy itinerary which leaves Canada to the US, then goes BACK to Canada before returning again to the US (and ending in the US). Itinerary starts in Quebec City, visits Charlottetown, Sydney and Halifax, Canada, then Portland, Maine. Then it returns to Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, THEN back to Boston before ending in NYC. What is is going to happen with customs? Do we have to clear US Customs twice (Portland/Boston) along with Canadian customs in Saint John? Sounds like a nightmare if so. I only wanted one customs experience, not THREE. Ugh. My mother is 85 so standing in line for customs 3x is not the best. Also, what is clearing customs like in Saint John/Portland/Boston ports for those who have experienced it? Iโ€™m Canadian if that matters, not sure if we are cleared differently than Americans.
  2. Well all, I didn't have the chance to get San Juan completely done last night and I know a few folks are going on this cruise on Saturday... hopefully I've given enough info so far! Going to try to finish San Juan in a bit but I've got a busy weekend ahead so may not get to Grand Turk until next week - thanks for reading!
  3. Wednesday, May 8th - San Juan - Part 4 We took tons of pics at Castillo del Morro - only $7 to get in, it's actually a US national park - and if you make it over to the other fort, keep your receipt because it covers both! If only we could get rid of the Instagrammers though.... ugh. It's like every girl has to make a duck-face and get her pic taken here.... how many times do the rangers have to blow their whistles at people standing up on the walls? Far too many. But I digress, enjoy the photos: My very favourite pic of the whole trip - Mr. Iguana
  4. Wednesday, May 8th - San Juan - Part 2 A big pile of pics... enjoy. Street scenes, street kitties (there are lots of them), San Juan Cathedral and Ponce de Leon's tomb! Wow, I didn't even know that was here!
  5. Wednesday, May 8th - San Juan I loved San Juan. After the hurricane and seeing the awful 'response' to the crisis, I knew that some day I had to go there and help out with my tourist dollars - and today was that day. In fact, that's the reason I chose this itinerary, because we had a stop in San Juan. I will definitely be back! In fact I'd love to do a trip just to San Juan, not even on a cruise next time. We'd decided to walk around old San Juan on our own vs doing a tour... and it was definitely a good decision. I really want to see it at night though! I can say so much about the atmosphere, but I'd rather just post a pile of pictures with a few comments. I strongly suggest that anyone going to San Juan spends time just exploring old San Juan - it's compact and easy to walk around, and there are so many little treasures and things to see. It's also very safe! We had two definites on our list - one being Castillo del Morro, and the other being El Batey, but other than that, we just explored! San Juan airport? Our friend, the Symphony Of The Seas was already in port. Wow, just when we thought the Breeze was big... OMG Some views from the 'secret deck' at the bow of the ship And a view back at the Breeze after we got off: We followed the route laid out in this article and it was great. These pics are along Paseo de la Princesa, it was beautiful shaded tree-lined walk with lots of art, fountains and interesting buildings: Continuing the walk along the water to the San Juan Gate ... more to come
  6. Ah heck, I can't remember his name - it wasn't Johnny though for sure. He was good. Matt? Mark maybe?
  7. Great to hear your perspective - I am taking my first RC cruise in September (on Adventure) so we'll see what that's like... I think Adam was speaking more about Carnival's ships but you're right.... I should consider RC to be a different experience entirely, and now you have me rethinking doing a mega-ship in previously-visited ports... I may not have to!
  8. Tuesday, May 7th - St Thomas - Part 2 More pics: They had a change house so we we changed out of our wet suits and then Micky took us to Sapphire Beach/Bar - a great little place you wouldn't even know existed. It was quiet when we got there too, but soon a group of about 30 people arrived - we recognized some from our ship so yes, it was another excursion which was probably twice the price of ours. This is a pic of the condos which can be rented at Sapphire if you took a land vacation here - Micky told us that the roofs were all destroyed and these are all new post-hurricane. You can also see how destroyed the vegetation is too but they are recovering. Here's a link to the bar's website so you can get an idea of food prices, food/drinks weren't included in our excursion but we spent another hour or so here and had a couple local beers and some really good fish tacos.... and yes, as you'll see shortly, the water is as blue as the photos! The building is also new too, had to be rebuilt post hurricane. It's a lovely spot, and I can only imagine how awesome it would be at night... Drink menu at Sapphire Beach Bar: And here was the view of the beach about 3 ft away from our barstools. I kind of wanted to live here.... Some beer photoshoots (we are on the Untappd app and like to take pictures of our beers in the unique locals we drink them in sometimes... yeah, I know. Lame. :P) And by the way, Carib is terrible. Have the local one, it was really good! We left the bar with a pleasant buzz and full tummies (again did I say those fish tacos were great?!) for some more driving around the island. Some local wildlife - chickens are everywhere in the Caribbean, aren't they... Our jeep Can you imagine the views from these houses? Those gas prices tho..... ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Here's my favourite pic from St Thomas. The brand new post-hurricane Pizza Hut.... and coconut man. Thus is life on the USVI... You can see how the lush green hills are pretty brown after being deforested post-hurricane... Next Micky took us up to Paradise Point. This is where the tram ride takes you (and it's $21 each - by the time you pay for that, you may as well do this excursion - I forgot to say that the jeep tour was $90 each for 4 hours). Since he knows people he is allowed to take a secret back road up there, but it's the same view. The view is incredible and there's an (expensive) bar/restaurant at the top, but we decided to stick to Micky's suggestion and check out a craft beer place closer to port next. As well, Liverpool and Barcelona were playing in Champions League so we wanted to try to catch the last half on TV too. (We did, and they won, and my husband was very very happy). Here's some pics of the view. If you weren't going to do anything else, I'd say definitely spend the $21 to get up here! The craft beer place was called Tap & Still. Their website isn't the greatest but it was a great little place... and sure enough not long after we got there, it got packed with cruise ship passengers. Micky was again ahead of the game! We got a spot at the bar to watch Liverpool and had a couple of nice local beers, chatted with some really lovely older British people who were also on our cruise too. Laughed at the story of where "Dumpster ***** IPA" got its name... The area around the port (Havensight Mall and Yacht Haven Grand) has a few nice little shops, boutiques and bars/restaurants, so technically you could spend the day here if you weren't a beach person or interested in other parts of the island. I recommend you get out and see some of the beaches though for sure, but if you want to stay close to the ship, this area is right there, no taxis required! Time to go back to the ship, the nice thing about this port is how close you are to the ship if you want to linger a bit and board closer to cutoff time without rushing back. We still always board with 15-20 mins to spare at the VERY least, but this is a great port to do it in if you don't want to worry. We can see our cabin from here.... Looking back at St Thomas from our cabin, again you can see the deforestation quite strikingly here: The red roofs are where all the shops are, see how close it is? Pulling out of St Thomas at dusk was really pretty Back to the Red Frog for a few more rums... meet Anthony (the HardestWorkingManOnTheShipTM) ...and Jay (the man who would never leave me with an empty Flor De Cana!) And last but not least, tonight's towel animal: Accessorized.... Next up, beautiful San Juan! I plan to post this and Grand Turk tonight... in time for the folks leaving Saturday on the same itinerary ๐Ÿ˜‰
  9. Tuesday, May 7th - St Thomas OK. Now here's where it gets exciting - I've got tons of pics from the next ports. Just when I thought the waters of Amber Cove were beautiful, St Thomas comes in and says "LOL Y U SO STUPID" I mean.... really. And it gets better later, this was just pulling into the port (which is the Havensight port, by the way). I'm not sure about that hotel on the right of the first pic, if it's just being built or was damaged by Irma but it had/is going to have a great view... And a panorama (which I soon realized needs to be used extensively - more to come) After having our fill of expensive Carnival excursions in Mexico, we decided to go out on our own for the next 3 ports. Don't get me wrong, we had an absolute blast on our previous excursions (one all-you-can-drink and lunch at private beach in Puerto Vallarta, one mini-speedboat and resort pool in Mazatlan and one sailboat excursion in Cabo St Lucas - our fave of the three), but they are very expensive compared to private excursions. I definitely would be a bit wary of private excursions in say, Mazatlan because of the local cautions, but we felt comfortable in American territories like the USVI (St Thomas) and Puerto Rico, and the tiny easy-to-get around Grand Turk. So my advice would probably be to those cruising for the first time or cruising in ports with questionable safety in places, definitely do a few cruise-line excursions at first. However, if you find a good private one where you have comfortable time to not be freaking out about being 'late' for a departure, definitely go private. We chose to do a half-day jeep tour with Sunfari tours, based on some recommendations here. It was Let me say that I have nothing to say but AMAZING - I definitely DEFINITELY would recommend this tour to anyone, and our guide Micky was wonderful. We had a lot of fun talking to him as well as seeing the sights, it was interesting hearing about how they weathered Hurricane Irma (months without power - no literally... months) and how island life actually is. (Newsflash: It's not all utopia!) Here's the description from the site as it's not really easy to link to with the dynamic calendar, but if you want to see it just click "Book now" and go to "Jeep Tours" --------------------------------------- Whether you're cruising along the back roads of St. Thomas or winding your way up 1500ft above Magens Bay in St. Thomas to world famous Mountain Top, our awesome 4WD Jeeps will get you there safe and comfortably. Drive through natural and exotic landscapes, scouting your way to see unique and pristine Virgin Islands beaches, stunning lookout points, and one of the best off road adventures in the Virgin Islands. Enjoy a combination of off-road and on-road adventure in a luxury safari vehicle driven by our own adventure tour guide. Let us help you create the adventure of your dreams! Snorkle, Kayak, SUP, Wave Runner...An unforgettable adventure of a lifetime. When you visit a new destination do you want to sit on a bus and listen to a tour guide ramble on and on, or do you want your own adventure? With Sunfari Adventures you create your own experience of a lifetime. --------------------------------------- When booking you can specify if you're interested in snorkling, kayaking, stand up paddle board etc.... and Micky (we're quite sure) knows everyone on the island, so he can hook you up with anything you need! He has special access to some back roads to take you to some wicked lookout points, and knows a few really cool bars for beer and food breaks too. We got off the ship and took a brief walk to meet up with our guide, loaded up our beach bag into the jeep and were off. We drove around the island a bit and Micky showed us around where we got an idea of what it would be like to live here. The hurricane hit them pretty hard, and he had plenty of stories about how they got through things and how much damage was caused. After that Micky took us to Koki Beach for snorkeling since we'd invested in some AWESOME full-face snorkel masks. I've tried snorkeling a couple of times but could never get used to breathing in the mask (I always ended up with a nose full of water) but let me just say, these are the greatest. You do, however, have to be careful to not buy the super cheap kind though as some of them are a bit dodgy as far as expelling carbon monoxide which you don't want to mess with, but these (from Subea/Tribord - same company that changed names) are super reputable and we found them on Amazon at $60 each - so they will be worth having for future trips, including our cruise to Hawaii next April!. You truly do just breathe normally in them, and we are now addicted to snorkeling after this. We are probably going to invest in some light, packable fins too, but Micky had them to lend us this time around. So, back to that clear water... here are some of the pics we took at Koki Beach. It was beautiful, we got there just before it got busy and had an hour to snorkel which was a perfect amount of time, and Micky showed us how much fish love.... milkbones. Seriously - like DOG TREAT milkbones. They go crazy for it! We were surrounded by beautiful fish without having to swim out far, and it was a great place to try out our masks for the first time too. I can't believe I'm posting a picture of myself in a bathing suit on the interweb, but here I am with my milkbone and my face mask - it may look ridiculous but I can't say enough about how sweet it is. See how clear the water is and the fish were right around that rock behind me - the water was deep enough to swim there even though it doesn't look like it (probably about 8-10 ft). We had waterproof cases for our phones so I tried to get a few pics, it was a bit awkward though with having to press the button through the plastic and since it was kind of sticking to the screen it wouldn't always fire when I wanted it to, but here's an idea anyway - I just wish I got some fish pics. Trust me, there were tons:
  10. Monday, May 6th - Amber Cove I forgot to post Sunday's "towel animal" - here's our frog: So writing this I just realized that we did the spa 'today' (Amber Cove day) and not on the sea day - duh. Since there weren't really any excursions we were dying to go on, we decided to stay on ship today. People say the pool is really nice at the port, but we decided to enjoy the ship with a few less people. I do have to say that some advice Cruise Director Adam Cornes gave me in 2017 holds true: the bigger the ship, the more lines there are for everything. We noticed longer lines for the buffet, the crowds in the piano bar, more difficult access to lounge chairs on the Breeze than we had on the Miracle. It wasn't the end of the world, but there's definitely a different feeling on a ship of around 3600 as there is on one around 2100 - the amenity to passenger ratio is better on the Spirit class ships for sure. And TBH, the amenities between the two ships are quite similar, even though the Breeze is larger. So, if I ever was to do a huge mega-ship like a Symphony Of The Seas, I'd choose an itinerary where I'd seen most of the ports, and have a lot of days doing awesome stuff on the ship with fewer crowds! I did take a bunch of pics pulling into/out of the port though as we were on the side with the view... For those of you who have been to DisneyWorld lately - we thought - ARE WE IN PANDORA?! Note one of the Deck 5 hot tubs on the right of the pic.... As for the rest of the day, more chilling, more drinking, more eating, and getting rested up and ready for tomorrow St Thomas - our first excursion. And here's tonight's towel animal, a beast of some type just chillin' too...
  11. Thanks very much! We'll make it for 9:30 then and update that AM if we need it earlier - we're in no huge rush to get into Manhattan since our room won't be ready so we can have a leisurely breakfast and debark.
  12. Sunday, May 5th - Sea Day Today we had a lie-in and read a bit of the books we'd brought, and then headed over to the Blue Iguana for breakfast burritos. I could eat these every day, but alas we only got there this one time due to our port schedules and Blue Iguana's schedule. Unfortunately it's only open for a few hours every day. We really liked taking food out to the "Ocean Plaza" area on the lanai/promenade deck of the Breeze (Deck 5), there is an overhang under which there is almost always shade but also umbrellas if the sun is on that side of the ship , and this is the view, and also a picture of one of our burritos. We then headed over to check out the spa since we had full access with our Cloud 9 cabin. The thalassotherapy pool was really nice, I love hot tubs/hot pools but I also have to remind myself that I'm less inclined to want to go into them when I'm in a hot climate. (A tip for hot tubs on the Breeze though - on the lanai/promenade deck 5 there is a hot tub on each side. There was either no one or only 2-3 people in the hot tubs every time we walked past, so definitely hit up those if you want one! Less crowded than the ones at the pools for sure.) The thalassotherapy pool is 'inside' but it still feels kind of humid in the room, so although it was relaxing, if we spent too much time in there we would probably have needed another nap pretty quick. The spa also had these large ceramic tile 'loungers' to lie on and they were pretty comfortable - one 'hot' room and one 'cool'. The colours to me were backward though, the hot room was blue and the cool room was red/brown, but it obviously didn't take long to figure out. We enjoyed chilling out in the 'cool' room in front of the panoramic windows, just watching the sea go by. They also had a hot room, but I'm not much of a sauna person so we didn't spend too much time in there. We spend the rest of the day checking out a few more things on the ship, hit up the Serenity area for a few of drinks - I definitely preferred the Serenity area on the Miracle as there were lots of chairs/tables to sit at under a shaded overhang, but the Serenity on the Breeze is pretty much owned by chair hogs and almost all in the direct sun. We were lucky enough to get seats right at the bar though so that was nice since it was under an overhang with shade. Otherwise I couldn't see myself spending much time up here unless I was up at 6:30am to take over a clamshell ๐Ÿ˜› Looking through photos, here are a couple of random pictures of the view from our balcony that I took that day: I can't remember a lot of other specifics, but we went to the Red Frog again (shocks!) and also went to elegant night at the MDR. We had anytime dining which we always choose because we aren't really scheduled diners, we just like to eat whenever we feel like it, with our go-to being the margarita pizzas at Pizza Pirate near the aft pool. Dinner was good though, we ended up with two lobster tails each (our waiter just brought us extras without us even asking), and I really enjoyed my spaghetti carbonara appetizer. We also of course hit up a couple of glasses of wine. Tonight we made it to the piano bar, and somehow my husband ended up being in charge of the wave, every time someone yelled "Dilly Dilly". Don't ask. The piano bar is crazy fun - it just happens. Good fun as always. The service was kind of terrible though, the place was packed and they only had one waitress and one bartender - so it was more of a staffing level thing vs individual staff. It was a good thing though, because later we learned (at the Red Frog... again) that my husband had hit 15 drinks!!! He got the bell rang for him... and I ended the day at 14. Our 14th and 15th (before we knew they were our 14th/15th) were the last drinks we planned on ordering anyway so it was perfect. I can't say we were ultra-drunk, but we were having a really good time, that's for sure! A marathon. Not a sprint. I also found my new favourite rum tonight - 18 Year Flor De Cana. I usually drink a rum in Canada called "Lemon Hart" - and this reminded me a lot of it - I had mine with coke - NFL! (I can't remember where, but some American bartender once told me it means 'no f'in lime' - lol). I had quite a few of these on the cruise, and when I came home I looked up how much a 26 would be (in the US you call it a 'fifth'). Only $80! LOL. I know it would be cheaper in the US, but this made it worth it. I'm able to get a 5yr Flor De Cana here for $40 - normal joe-Barcardi here goes for about $28 so it's all relative.
  13. Haha! That is so great! You'll have to post the pic, maybe you'll see me on the balcony taking the pic of the Fantasy! FTTF really does mean that by the time you get up to your cabin, it will be ready. And, your luggage should be there too! It's wonderful, especially if you'd had a bit of travel to get to the cruise port. It also entitles you to forgo the regular check-in lines, you go with the Diamond/Platinum cruisers (right after them, technically, but unless you're there super early they're already letting in the FTTF people. We just walked all the way through the terminal with no lines and boarded the ship. The only thing we waited for were the elevators, but it wasn't too bad around noon when we boarded. You'd also get priority port-disembarking at ports where you have a tender (there were no tender ports on this cruise for us so we didnt' get to take advantage of that, but it was sure great in Cabo San Lucas when we were on the Miracle). Keep in mind that if you book a Carnival excursion that departs shortly after docking, you also usually get priority debarking for that too as you generally meet somewhere on the ship and they lead you off. As far as the final disembark, it went super smoothly, we left our luggage out overnight and collected it in the terminal with ease. Our ship docked before 7am, we were to meet in the theatre for 7:15, waited about 15 mins in there, and by 8am we had the keys to our rental car! So 45 mins to get off, collect our luggage AND shuttle over to the car rental place was wonderful! Basically the people who did the self-carry were getting off just before us, but we were essentially the first group to leave after that. Pretty sure the others in the theatre with us were also some Diamond/Platinums. I'd imagine had the self-carry people rented a car, they would have been there at 7:45 but not much earlier than that! As well, we also didn't rush forward as soon as they gave us the go-ahead, we sat back for a few minutes and were at the end of the crowd and STILL made it off quickly and easily.
  14. Saturday, May 4th - Departure Day - PART 2 Having already settled into our room and taken a few pics on a still rather empty ship, we decided to take advantage of our first Cheers of the cruise. Having been on the Miracle in 2017 we were already familiar with the Red Frog Pub, so we made that our first stop. There were already a few folks at the end of the bar who were obviously frequent cruisers, on first name basis with the bartenders and carrying magic silver S&S cards, but it was still pretty quiet at this point. I started with a Thirsty Frog Red (the exact name slips my mind but I think that's it) and my husband hit up a Parched Pig West Coast IPA. Reading more about this beer, it's the same one that they brew on the Horizon, in a partnership with a brewery in Lakeland, FL (more here). Being a couple of 'beer snobs', it was nice to see a few 'unique' beers you can't get on land. However, we didn't buy Cheers to only drink beer, so next up I ordered a Ting-A-Ling (basically a gin and tonic but with Ting instead, which is a grapefgruit flavoured soda from Jamaica - it mixes quite nice with gin!). Husband decided to take it slow to start and ordered a water... I mean, a Michelob Ultra. This is definitely our go-to-beer in the US when we have to drink a non-craft and it's either 800 degrees outside or we are just ramping up. This now makes me realize I'm going to have to consult our bill for an accurate tally - haha (and yikes... I will end up making a post with everything on it, as I really wanted to show what Cheers looks like for a couple of 40 year-olds who like to drink but not get completely ridiculous - ๐Ÿ˜›). We always say 'it's a marathon, not a sprint'. We are now too old to 'sprint', and day-drinking is our jam. Here we are with our Ting-A-Michelob... and yes, we are cruise lanyard losers - fight me. ๐Ÿ˜› We were starting to get hungry so we went over to get some BBQ from Guy's Pig & Anchor - I know there are a lot of American BBQ purists out there who probably think it sucks, but we found it really tasty and a nice option on the ship. Plus, they give you ALL THE PORK when you order pork - no skimping on portions here. There was also pretty much no line at this point, so the tip I'd read long ago to forgo the buffet on the first day was solid. It had pretty hefty lines whenever it was open for the rest of the cruise we found, so hitting it on the first day before everyone knew about it was golden. We ordered a couple more drinks and had a nice buzz going, at least ready enough for the muster drill not to suck. I should at this point mention that our bartenders, Antonio (from India) and Lorena (from DR) were already making us laugh, and wow, what a bar staff we had - a constant source of entertainment that made us regulars by the end of the trip. Here's Lorena keeping the boys in line - she was such a character and a hell of a bartender too! We learned later that this was Antonio's last sailing before having a few months off (he spend the last 8 on board - wow!) We love meeting new people, but after two cruises it's really the staff that makes things fun - talking to different crew members about their experiences and getting to know a bit about them is almost my favourite thing about cruising. It was nearly time for the muster drill so alas, we had to return to our room, but the muster drill was really easy this time - since we were near the front of the ship we had it in the Ovation Theatre which was our first glimpse of it. Way better than standing on the deck like sardines! A necessary part of every cruise, but now I hope all of my future muster drills are in the theatre or restaurant. ๐Ÿ˜‰ After the muster drill my husband returned to the room for a little nap, but I was still ready to go, so I went to the Alchemy Bar. Met a couple of Platinum cruisers that were a lot of fun, and watching the show at the Alchemy bar was good fun - especially the 'pouring 4 shakers into 4 glasses at the same time' when people ordered the martini tasting. In addition to being craft beer snobs we are also craft cocktail snobs, so we love the Alchemy bar. The drinks are really boozy though, which I'm not complaining about, but you want to be well-fed before you drink here to avoid feeling like a zombie the next day, especially at our age. I arrived right when they opened at 4pm and got a seat, but within half an hour it was standing room only. Seems like a lot of people plan for a cocktail after the muster drill! I headed back to the room around 5:30 to join my husband for a nap, we planned to go out to the piano bar later so figured it would be a late night so to sleep now. Well, evidently I hit the wall and when our alarm went off at 8pm to head over to the piano bar, I ended up deciding to stay in bed. It was a rough week at Disney, what can I say. My husband decided to go anyway, and had a blast - the piano bar on the Miracle was one of our favourite places so we definitely planned to go back again together.
  15. I've done a lot of reading in other threads and have arrived at a car service being the best way to get to Manhattan (weighing cost/convenience) but I'm wondering about scheduling. Our Adventure Of The Seas (Royal) cruise arrives at Cape Liberty at 6am on a Friday in September, but I'm wondering what time makes sense to actually schedule the car service for? Obviously it will be hell getting *into*Manhattan during morning rush hour so I'd be OK with staying on the ship a bit longer - I know we'd have to vacate our rooms by a certain time, but what is the latest time everyone need to be off for? If I booked it for 9 would that be too late? As always thanks in advance ๐Ÿ˜‰ PS - We are going to a Midtown area hotel, not to an airport - spending a few days post-cruise in Manhattan.
  16. I will be continuing this soon... hang tight! I plan to do a bunch more tonight after work as I see there are a few of you who are wanting to see it before the weekend - I haven't forgotten, just got busy with life ๐Ÿ˜‰
  17. Saturday, May 4th - Departure Day Before the cruise, we arrived in Orlando on April 26th and spent the week at Disney with our extended family. During that week we got into quite a few conversations with other travellers (as you do) at Disney about where we were from (Canada) and our plans for the trip etc, and nearly everyone asked "OOOO - A DISNEY CRUISE??" when we said we were continuing our trip with a cruise the following week (just the two of us). My reply was always "no way, on Carnival.... do you think we can afford a Disney Cruise after a week at Disney?" Haha. Quite honestly though the idea of a Disney Cruise doesn't really appeal to us. Without having kids (and especially after a week in parks full of them) we were OK to have our own 'adult' fun with Carnival - especially because we decided to splurge on the Cheers package this time. This was our second cruise (the first to Mexico in May of 2017, also on Carnival). What can I say, we've had fun on Carnival and we really love not being charged for all the extras. I just booked a cruise on RC in the fall and yikes.... yeah. I think Carnival will be my horse for a while. ๐Ÿ˜› We got up and checked out of our Disney hotel and hopped an Uber over to the Dolphin Hotel to pick up our one-way car rental to Port Canaveral. The Dolphin is on Disney property, we had a tip that it's way less crazy to rent a car there than it was at the big Disney Car Care Centre (which we've done, and it was definitely way easier and quicker). Our one-way rental was under $70, so a cheap Uber trip to the rental place vs a more expensive one to MCO and then taking a bus for $35+ each was a no-brainer, especially because we could go at our own pace and not worry about being at MCO and having to adhere to the shuttle schedule in case we were running late. We did have to pay the tolls but we were prepared for them (only about $6.75 I believe), and we were able to stop and have breakfast at our own pace too. The drive is only about an hour and was really easy, no problems at all. We dropped off the car at Enterprise on Mullet Rd so it was super convenient. They had a shuttle waiting to take us to the cruise ship port and loaded our luggage into the trailer - super easy, I would definitely do it again vs. bus transport - it was great - we were dropped off right where we needed to be, our luggage was whisked away right there and we didn't have to lug it around at all. We got FTTF again like we had on our first cruise (we are lowly Red VIFPs so wouldn't get the perks otherwise) - it's just great to us to be able to relax and have our cabin ready as soon as we board, especially with a busy week we had prior - and we also had a date with the water park at Universal the day we debarked, so wanted to get off the ship early too without having to do self-carry. To us it is worth it, and when you look at the cost for a similar thing on Royal, it's a steal at the $70 we paid for the priority embark/debark and cabin being ready. We pretty much walked onto the ship around 11:30, didn't have to wait in any lines and it was very easy and convenient. Here's a pic I took of the Breeze atrium, gotta love those lanterns. This time we'd chosen a Cloud 9 Spa Balcony - room 11209 - we loved the decor and the quiet location but I can't say we'd do it again, but only because we didn't use the spa facilities as much as we'd thought we would. (I blame Cheers - but more on that later.) Here are some pics of the spa cabin - I love how the beach bag my brother-in-law got me for Xmas as a cruise gift matched the cabin. And yes, I sat on the bed before I remembered to take pics, it was nice and pretty when we got there. And, speak of the devil, there's that expensive Disney Cruise right beside us at the port ๐Ÿ˜› We chilled in the room for a while and unpacked - not pictured above were the magnetic hooks and over-the-door organizer I packed, both were great to have and I will always cruise with them now. We felt like a drink and some food so we decided to hit up the Red Frog Pub, but first we walked around and took a few other pics around the ship before the crowds amassed. Deck 15 - the Serenity Deck. Ah, what a beautiful thing it is pre chair-hog. We would never see it like this again, alas. This next pic was taken from Deck 12 overlooking the Waterworks and Lido deck (our cabin was on Deck 11 which is the deck above the Lido Deck, but we were far enough away from the pool that our cabin was quiet, yet very convenient when we wanted to go there). You can see deck 11 is the 'balcony' overlooking the Lido but this was one deck above it. We didn't do the waterslide so I can't comment on it, but it looked pretty cool. A better view of the Lido - all the chairs weren't out yet and the CHOGS weren't yet in force: To the aft of the Lido deck is the Tides Pool. I managed to take a dip in this one after our day in St Thomas when it wasn't too crowded. All in all there were probably less than 30 kids on this trip, but we did find overall that the ship seemed more crowded than our first cruise on the Miracle, the amenity/passenger ratio was just a bit higher. Not the end of the world but you can definitely feel it, I see why people really love the Spirit class ships - the aft pool would have probably been deserted at 6pm on a port day. Next.... our first trip to the Red Frog....
  18. Itinerary: Saturday, May 4th - Port Canaveral Sunday, May 5th - Sea Day Monday, May 6th - Amber Cove Tuesday, May 7th - St Thomas Wednesday, May 8th - San Juan Thursday, May 9th - Grand Turk Friday, May 10th - Sea Day Saturday, May 11th - Port Canaveral I will be writing this review over the next week or so, hope you enjoy! My husband and I are in our early 40s with no kids and spent a week at Disney prior (so this was our vacation from our vacation haha). We did the Cheers package... was it worth it? Stay tuned to find out!
  19. I'm interested in the answer too - I get a good deal through Enterprise at work so I am using them (on Marginal Way) - was planning to take an Uber/taxi up there to get it. Someone said they were shuttled back to the cruise ship so that would be sweet if we could get a ride there to pick it up too...
  20. Good to know - thanks! I don't imagine there's much to do in Portland at 4am, but you never know ๐Ÿ˜› We're renting a car one of the days to go to Kennebunkport so now I'll keep that day to the car rental and we'll spend the first day in the Old Port area, I just hope my mom doesn't find out about the outlet shopping at Freeport - haha.
  21. Just got an email last night from Royal - Bar Harbor is canceled (because quote "Weโ€™ve been advised that there will be some port congestion in Bar Harbor, Maine on September 24th") Too bad, but it will be nice to have an overnight in Portland. Not a fan though of having to hop to/from US/Canada like that, yay, I really want to go through US Customs twice on this trip... sigh. We are losing an hour in Boston (and tacking on the Customs time) - sure glad I've been there many times or I'd be ticked. Question for those who have overnighted in ports (we've only ever been on cruises with day ports) - are you able to come back at your leisure at night? Or is there a time they expect you to be aboard by?
  22. See ya then - we are on the May 4 cruise too. Not promising but I very well may write one this time - if I do Iโ€™ll post it here! PS - hereโ€™s a good review from Beagle...
  23. See ya then - we are on the May 4 cruise too. Not promising but I very well may write one this time - if I do Iโ€™ll post it here!
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