teacherkim Posted July 8, 2006 #1 Share Posted July 8, 2006 I know there have been several of these lately but if you were like me you wanted to read as many as possible, especially if you are going on the AOS in the near future:D I will try to be concise and then respond to specific questions. Let me start by saying this was our first cruise (well I did one 20 years ago in Hawaii with mom and dad but so long ago and ship so old it almost does not count) and....LOVED IT! I am 38 and DH is 45, we left 3 yr. old DS at home with the Grandma's. Day 1: Flew in from St. Louis on US Air. Made a connection in Philly and arrived at San Juan airport about 4:00 p.m. We did air on our own but purchased the ground transfer from RC and they were easy to spot at the airport. Within a half hour we had our luggage, turned it over to RC, and were on the bus to the pier. I had completed on-line check in and it took us all of about 10 minutes to get through the terminal and board the ship. We had an ocean view, #6204, overlooking the helo pad on the bow. Explored the ship for a while and went to our first dinner in the dining room at the main seating. Had 2 great couples as companions and got along great with them all week. I do not promise to remeber everything I ate but do know the first meal we had prime rib and it was great. Did some more exploring, unpacked, and went up to the bow to watch the castoff. It was really beautiful sailing past El Morro (old Spanish fort) but I am a history teacher so that is my thing! Went to bed shortly after that because we began the day at 3:30 a.m. Day 2: At sea. Actually liked having the first day at sea. Took it easy and got into vacation mode!! Hung out by the pool, found a quiet spot and read for a while, took in a movie in the afternoon ("Good Luck and Good Night") This was the first formal night but we ate in Portofinos and it was well worth the extra $20 pp. Would was perfectly prepared and service was 5 star. DH had filet and I had veal. Beautiful table overlooking the water and sunset! Comedian Tom Parks was the headliner, I have seen him on HBO, he was very good. Day 3: Barbados, did the 4x4 and shipwreck snorkel. The snorkeling portion was excellent. The 4x4 was o.k. but did not really see anything real spectacular. Arrived back at ship for lunch and ate in the WJ. Went back out and took a taxi to the Barbados history museum in the afternoon (that teacher thing again) Dinner that night in the dining room, I know it was the Venetian feast but cannot remember what I had:o but I know it was yummy because every night was! Saw the ice show, it really was quite spectacular. More of a Cirque du Soleil type of show on ice. Day 4: St. Lucia, snorkeled here as well in the a.m. (see a theme here) Saw a school of about 20 squid while snorkeling and they were changing color quickly to try and hide from us, REALLY COOL! Went back to ship for change and lunch. After lunch took a 1 hour taxi tour of the island. Fortunately got most of it in before heavy rain began. Note souvenir sellers are EXTREMELY aggressive here. Dinner was Caribbean which I know many say they do not like. Entree was Jerked chicken which I do not care for, DH loved it, but there were plenty of other choices and I had no problem finding something I liked. First production show "Can't Stop the Rock" was tonight and it was very good. Day 5: Antiqua, did the Stingray Swim and Snorkel here and had a blast! It started to rain about halfway through and I had to laugh to see people get out of the ocean to avoid getting rained on?!? Anyway had fun and drank the strongest rum punch I have ever had in my life here. Possibly because the kid mixing the drinks looked like he was about 13:rolleyes: But hey I wasn't driving! Rained hard in the late afternoon, we stayed on the ship and hung out doing quiet stuff. Second formal night and the Drifters for the show. Some good oldies and they were very funny. Day 6: St. Martin, rented a car here and explored on our own. This was my favorite stop! I rented the car ahead of time on-line, just went to Hertz.com and their office was right on the pier. Drove to Orient Beach, and it really was beautiful. Could have easily spent a day here. Lots of water activities to rent, many beach joints, open air shops, massages on the beach, etc. Yes we saw some naked people but so what? Drove over to Marigot and looked through another open-air market, ate lunch at a cute little French cafe, and climbed up to Fort Louis (old French fort yes its that history teacher thing again) Back to the ship about 3:00 where we hung out in the hot tub with some Strawberry Daiqueris for a while. Tonight was Lobster night although I thought it was odd that it was not the featured entree. Another very funny comedian tonight, Johnny Sanchez. Day 7: St. Thomas, another great snorkeling excursion. The Seablaster, be warned if you go on this excursion you will get very wet on the ride out! But it was a lot of fun and another great snorkeling site. Have to admit we did not see a lot of St. Thomas because after lunch we were wiped out and took long naps:o Just a very busy vacation catching up to us at that point. We will have to make it back to St. Thomas one day to actually see the island! Farewell dinner :( and second production show "Velvet Rope" quality as good as first but not content, IMO. Back to cabin to pack and had a last walk around the ship. Day 8: Our number was called at 9:00, took about 30 minutes to get our bags and get through customs. We then were able to check our bags and get our boarding passes at the pier terminal with US Air at no extra charge. I am a little confused about this because we saw them turn several people with US Air tickets away and tell them they had to go to the airport to check-in and when I got up to the counter I saw that the agent had our boarding passes and luggage tags (as well as several others) allready printed out and bundled up with our names. I THINK what was going on was that anyone who had pre-purchased ground transfers were able to do this but no one else. Not sure about that however. With no bags and 5 hours till our flight we took a taxi to Old San Juan and spent some time there. Checked out both the old forts, El Morro and San Cristobal, and the old city-gate and original sea wall (I don't need to explain it again do I) and grabbed a great lunch at Barrachina before getting a taxi back to the airport where we were able to skip the check-in and go straight to the gate, thanks to those boarding passes. Overall, FOOD: Windjammer, good but typical buffet not a lot of variety from day to day. We ate most lunches and many breakfasts there. Dining room, very good food, very very good service. Rommel from the Phillipines was great! Portofinos, exquisite food and service. STATEROOM: Plenty large enough with a huge window and our attendent Kartika was excellent! He cleaned the bathroom twice a day and picked up our clutter so that the room was always spic and span. Also, very funny towell animals. All the staff was very friendly. ENTERTAINMENT: Quality was way better than expected. My DH is a part-time musician and was very surprised at the quality of the performances. And we are not normally that into shows. SHIP: Big and beautiful. PASSENGERS: Some other reviews have complained about other languages and certain ethnic groups. No problem in my opinion. I thought there was a very broad spectrum of countries represented and the announcements were done in 5 languages which I thought gave the ship a very internatioanl feel. If that sort of thing makes you uncomfortable then do not leave the United States. AMENITIES: Did not play mini-golf, climb the rock wall, or in-line skate but all the people that were seemed to be having a great time. Also, did not partake of the spa (had massage, manicure, pedicure much cheaper at home the day before to get into vacation mode) so cannot comment there. TIP OF THE DAY: Do not arrive back late to the ship as they will announce your name looking for you and your dinner mates will know and the RC employees will encourage those watching from the rail to jeer you. No I was never late but witnesses this several times. Also, we did leave 2 people behind at two different ports. My waiter confirmed this, so they will leave without you! FITNESS TIP: Take the stairs everywhere and it will cut down on the overeating weight gains. Looking back over this I guess it was not at all concise, my bad, but hope it was helpful. Happy to answer any questions!!! 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