Figured I would post the review from our cruise. We cruised July 12-20.
We were celebrating my son's high school graduation, my birthday, and my cousin's birthday. There were twelve of us. Three of us had balconies and my sister and her family had a junior suite.
I really have no allegiance to any particular cruise line. This was my eighth cruise and I have not been on the same ship more than once. I tend to cruise every other year. I am a school teacher so my time to cruise is normally in the summer.
I originally had plans of flying into Islip Thursday, spend the night at my mother's house and then take a car service to the port. We were scheduled to take the 6:40PM on Frontier from RDU into Islip. We got to the airport almost three hours ahead only to find out an hour prior to boarding that there were storms and our flight was cancelled. Make a long story short, we ended up driving and spending the night in Baltimore. We stayed at the Radisson Inner Harbor Hotel, we arrived at almost 1:00am. It was a great hotel and we were perfectly happy. We ended up driving to the port Friday morning. No traffic until we got almost to the port. We paid the $22/day. I would consider doing this again, even if it was not my first choice. If we do fly, we would definitely fly two days ahead of time. I am so glad that we were not still living in Phoenix or we would have might have had a problem. We always have travel insurance though.
We did Horseshoe Bay while in Bermuda. We have been there several times before. Several of us purchased the two loungers and umbrellas for $50. It is crowded and on other occasions we walked to the far left of the umbrella stands and it is less crowded. However, my mom has mobility issues so we didn't do much walking. Leaving Bermuda, we did have a medical evacuation and ended up returning to the dock. We weren't even that far away from the dock, so we did not lose that much time.
My son and I purchased the Atlantis beach day through Atlantis. The dig was nice but I don't know if I would go back. The beach was just okay. My sister and cousin and their respective families went to Cable Beach and rented jet skis and had a great time. My parents stayed on the ship. I had never been to Atlantis so I wanted to at least go but it is more of been there done that.
Cocoa Cay was all of what Royal Caribbean said it was be. I had booked the hot air balloon excursion prior to the cruise. Unfortunately, due to weather restrictions, it did not happen. It did not hinder my enjoyment while we were there. My sister and her family as well as my cousin and hers, did ziplining. My son, sister, and cousin also did the half day pass for the water park. They stated that it was good except lines on the big slide were crazy and four of the seven people had received burns due to the lack of water on the slide! We did let the cruise director know when we returned to the ship.
If you have mobility issues, they had many trams and personnel to assist those who needed it. I really wish they would increase the amount of time that we were there. We did have an extra hour there, but it would have been nice to have more.
The WindJammer's set up is not the best. There are other cruise lines that have a better set up. Some ships have a barbecue section, pizza section, etc... However, the flow on this ship did not really flow well. One big line to get food. The quality of the food was not terrible at the WindJammer but not the best either. Most days, we ate breakfast and dinner in the main dining room. Several times we ate lunch in the main dining room and once we ate at the pizza place on the promenade.
We had early seating, which sometimes seemed a bit too early but most of us thought the later time was a bit too late. Since we had twelve people, we decided a fixed time would be easier. Prior to the cruise I had reached out to Royal Cruise dining department and requested a table for twelve. They sent me an email with the dining table configuration confirming a table of twelve. As you can guess, we got on the ship, none of us were sitting together. We went to the head waiter on the 4th floor and showed him the email with the copy of the table assignments. He wrote cabin numbers and tables and said he would change and contact our cabins. At the time of our seating, we decided to go to 5th floor dining room since the majority of us were on the fifth floor. The head waiter on that floor was very nice and accommodating. She joined a table of eight and four and put them together. Which actually worked well, we put the adults in one table and the kids at another.
Food was much better in the main dining room than the Wind Jammer. Our waiter Manuel and assistant waiter Shadrul were excellent. They were probably one of the best waiters we have had on a cruise. They were both very attentive and went out of their ways every night to make sure we are happy.
Five of us did Chops one night. Food and service were very good. Our waiter James was interesting to say the least. Not sure if it was an act or Tourette’s but he did a very good job. He certainly was very amusing.
The shows were okay. We enjoyed the acapella group, the juggler and the last comedian. The final show was pretty good. We did not go to the ice show. I heard that the first comedian was not that great but we did not attend. Due to the craziness of the first day and the late night before, we did not go the welcome show. I do know that the most of the group did go to the piano bar the first night and said he was pretty good. We missed the marriage show, which we typically love. My parents actually won twice before.
Overall, we all thought the ship was very nice. She may be an older ship but she is in great shape. They were consistently disinfecting and cleaning the ship. They did make many announcements of not depositing anything other than toilet paper in the toilet. I heard later that there were several issues with toilets. I did smell septic by the elevators on deck 7 the last day or two.
My son and I had balcony #7622. It was a great location right off the elevators. I had made a sign for our door with magnetic adhesive and my mom hung a Happy Birthday banner on my cabin door. We had several people stop us and say that the signs always showed them the way to know where their cabin was.
We brought some magnetic hooks but to be honest we could have done without them. I felt that there was plenty of storage. I use a C-Pap machine and when we got there the water and cord were in the cabin. I actually had him take the cord away because my cord ended up reaching the bed area. Since there are no outlets by the bed I just unplugged it during the day and stored it under the nightstand.
I felt most of the cruise members were friendly. We are big trivia buffs. We played many games of trivia. We enjoyed Quest and Battle of the Sexes. The pool area was crazy and I have to say that chair hogs were a plenty. Although my mom said a couple of times that she saw them removing towels and putting items that were left at the underneath at the bottom of chairs.
I saw them consistently cleaning around the ship. We went to guest services several times and I felt they were friendly and knowledgeable. I had a $250 OBC but because we pre-paid our gratuities and had refreshment and soda package we ended up getting $120 of that back. There was question that it may not have been refundable so I went the last day to ask. If it wasn’t I had plans to shop. He said it was and that he could cash it out then. He said that since I had a credit card on file, anything charged would just go to the card.
I am not a big drinker so getting the beverage package is not worth it. I did get Starbucks coffee every day. I actually enjoyed the mock tales. I did buy a few drinks. Coffee in the main dining room was not the best. The coffee right outside the Starbucks (not inside ) was much better. Don’t know the difference between main dining room coffee and that particular stand but it was better.
Besides the promenade and pool areas, I felt that there were plenty areas around the ship that you could hang out and not feel that people were on top of you. None of the kids did the kids’ program so I can’t say anything about it.
I would sail her again. Next year my brother wants to cruise for his 50th. Since he does solo cabins it looks like it may be Norwegian Encore. Which would keep my streak of not sailing the same ship more than once. I would sail Carnival again but I can’t get anyone else to sail with me. So for now Carnival will have to wait.
Would be happy to answer any questions if I am able.