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Golden Review - July 11-18 (Part 2)

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The ship is even more beautiful than I expected. Though the architecture of the atrium wasn’t terribly impressive, the finishes there and throughout the ship were absolutely gorgeous! It was both elegant and comfortable – not an easy combination to achieve. I was particularly enamored with the variety and beauty of the designs woven into the carpets – they were simply spectacular. The pools were also hugely impressive, especially the Calypso pool area with it’s wonderful mosaics. Not one single public area was less than perfectly beautiful!



Our cabin also surpassed my expectations – though Tish found it smaller than she expected. Some of you may remember our worries about the closet space. We were grateful to discover that it was huge! And that the amount of storage was more than adequate. Another nice surprise was when our luggage arrived by the time we had unpacked our carry-ons. The balcony was perfect. We didn’t even ask for lounges because the reclining chairs were so comfortable. Our stewardess Carmelita introduced herself – she was charming. We followed the good advice of tipping her when we met her and seldom saw her again, but everything we asked for was remembered and delivered exactly when we wanted it. The refrigerator wasn’t working, and the balcony chairs were very dirty – but Carmelita got both taken care of by the time we finished exploring the ship. We left her a glowing “You made a difference” card.



Having studied the deck plans so carefully, I found myself more confused by the layout of the ship than I expected to be. That was the primary reason why both of us were so annoyed with crew members who couldn’t direct us. However, we managed to stumble around that first day until we found everything we wanted to find.



A few general notes: We took the good advice offered here and had the purser’s office punch our crew cards so that we could put them on lanyards as soon as we got onboard. It made our lives so much easier! And we bought Coke cups before we even got to our cabin – also a great idea. We never experienced any problems at any of the bars with the crew being less than gracious about refilling them. Tish made an appointment for a pedicure that very evening (our only experience with the spa) and was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t as good as she was used to – though not bad. The duty-free shop at the pier carries the strangest assortment of wines I’ve ever seen – there was virtually nothing we had ever heard of. I strongly advise buying wine in town; we weren’t always pleased with the three “Brand X” selections we made. In fact, we abandoned a few unopened bottles when we left the ship. I had to think about Chris in the checkout line when I watched a crew member buy a six-pack of Heineken to take back onboard.



My biggest disappointment of the whole cruise came that first evening when it rained torrents and almost no one showed up for our “Cruise Critic” get-together at the (outside) Oasis Bar. I was crushed not to have an opportunity to meet more of the people I had been “talking” with here, but we did manage to run into a few as the trip went on.



The ship was totally sold out. Someone said there were 2800+ onboard. That, of course, meant lots of children. But I have to say that you would never have known how many people there were. The only time it felt crowded was when everyone was moving at once – as they were after the muster. The elevators could be challenging and drew more than a few complaints. Hydraulic elevators are just much, much slower than cable elevators – a fact that most people neither realize nor understand. We spent most of our pool time by the Terrace Pool and never felt crowded at all – not even on our one sea day. There were a couple of children in that pool for a few minutes that day, but I saw their father read the “Adults Only” notice and quickly pull them out. We never saw another child in the area. I literally didn’t see a single child or teenager seriously misbehaving at any time during the cruise. In fact, I saw some pretty darn good manners demonstrated – though the old fuddy-duddy in me wasn’t always thrilled by how they were dressed. I had been worried about the number of children, but it was a total non-issue.

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Donia & all,


Hey, Steve & I (one of the newlywed couples) were onboard last week too.


My two cents:



American Airlines was LATE getting us down there - we finally arrived at the ship at 9:15 or so. The good news - no lines. The bad news - NO assistance with our bags. We literally walked them all the way to our rooms. That ended up being ok - at least we had them right away. I was just surprised that 1 hr, 45 min. before sailing that things were so closed up.


So sorry we missed the Cruise Critic get-together! I realized that we hadn't really designated another time to say hello.



Had a BB - outside balcony. We LOVED the balcony. We did ask for a lounge chair and got it and between the one lounger and the other chairs, we were set. After several mornings of great views of the ports, we decided to order room service for the next a.m., to eat on our balcony. Of course, just our luck, that was the morning (Thursday, I believe) we were RIGHT across the dock from the Royal Caribbean ship. Not the view we had intended, but oh well! It was pretty funny - opening our shades expecting a view of the town / hills and BOOM, this huge ship staring back at us.


The "closet" was mostly an open-air hanging bar, with the small-ish tall shelved cabinet that closed. But that was fine, we just ended up hanging up many of Steve's t-shirts, instead of "shelving" them.


Bed - we DID have the problem of the beds coming apart. Others on the board had recommended bringing another mattress pad or something that kept the beds together - I would concur. And no, it wasn't just because we were "honeymooners" - others at our dinner table (who have been married a while and have been on 4 cruises) said they also experienced this - and this was the first time on any cruise that they had.


Bathroom - not bad, but you had to be an acrobat to shave your legs. That's the only major drawback that I see in having a balcony room bathroom vs. the mini-suite bathroom (which had a tub).


Cabin Steward / Cruise Personalizer

After a LONG day's travel, we were QUITE disappointed to come into our room and find that our beds were set as twins. We had designated a queen configuration in the Cruise Personalizer, AND noted that we were honeymooners. But we had nothing outside our door (balloons & sign, as others had) AND the bed was set up wrong.


Our steward, Noel, said that he change the bed tomorrow, or if we really wanted it, yet tonight. Uh, yeah, we wanted it that night... You could tell that he would have wished that we said to just do it the next day.


Mixed review on Noel - when I asked him for a lounge chair, he said he would have to check w/ his manager, and he'll do what he can... (I had given him a $10 at that point, to start some wheels in motion.) He did get the bed together that night, and by late the next day, they did get balloons & a sign up. But he seemed hesitant to get stuff done, even commenting on how many rooms he had to work on, how busy he was.


So not sure if the problem with the beds, etc. was Noel misreading the room info or if that info never came through to him correctly. Just a bit frustrating.



For my first cruise, and the hubby's second, we give it a thumbs up. The ship was sold out, but it never felt too crowded. There was always a place to get away to - we saw several movies in the Princess Theater, played the put-put course up on the sports deck, spent some time sitting on the benches outside on the Promenade deck, I believe. Really spent limited time at the pools - mainly one day, closer to the end of the day - plenty of chairs in & out of the sun.


Back to reality, adjusting to married life, and looking forward to our next cruise!!



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Beth - I'm so sorry we missed each other! Who would ever have thought we would need a "rain date" for a get-together on a cruise? LOL:D Thanks for adding your comments. Donia

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