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VernRDH

Our "Rockin" Legend OTS Cruise Review~3/10-3/17

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DISCLAIMER: This review is EXTREMELY long. I have broken it down by days. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed the trip, and the retelling of it.

 

Those travelling aboard the Legend of the Seas: Veronica (me), Jamie (DH) and Tess, age 7. Fifth cruise for Jamie and I, third for Tess. We are platinum members of Crown and Anchor.

Our cabin was 7126, which is an aft D1 balcony.

We chose Main seating for dinner; we were at table 99.

Captain Carl Gracoub, Cruise Director Rico du Briel.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Weather in Clifton Park -Partly Cloudy Hi 27°F Lo -1°F

Weather in Tampa – Partly Cloudy Hi 80°F Lo 58°F

We took a direct flight from Albany to Tampa on Southwest Airlines, our favorite airline. Three hours and we were there. We were booked at the Chase Suite Hotel on Rocky Point Drive for one night pre-cruise. We met some folks from our Meet and Mingle while waiting for our shuttle. I would like to shout-out to Howard and his whole family. We also met another couple from our area going on Legend they were also staying at Chase Suites. The hotel was fine, we had a studio suite. King sized bed and fold out couch for Tess. Kitchenette was a plus. We ordered takeout as we had not eaten in a while. Note to self: as a New Yorker, never order pizza in Florida. It is worse than frozen.

Jamie’s Take –

I think that this trip to Tampa from Albany was good in theory, but I think about the want for a direct flight and the additional cost ($400+) for the two nights in the hotel. We struggled with finding a hotel due to the ACC basketball tournament, and because of the times of the flights, we went down a day early and stayed a day late. While this was good trip wise, it may not have made the most financial sense. That being said, the hotel and the free breakfast were solid and I really enjoyed the noon check out time, which would come back and bite me later.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Weather in Clifton Park -Sunny Hi 41°F Lo 24°F

Weather in Tampa – Sunny Hi 79°F Lo 60°F

The hotel has a nice expanded continental breakfast in the morning-cold cereal; make your own waffles (yummy), bagels, toast, fruit etc. We got on the 12 o’clock shuttle to the pier. This was the latest we have ever gone to the cruise terminal. This week was spring break in Florida and many other places. The embarkation process was slow and they would only let small groups of people through at a time. An RCI employee came out and announced that if anyone had alcohol in their bags, it would be confiscated and dumped out. There was also a large sign saying that liquids in unsealed containers would be checked and confiscated if found to be alcohol. We were able to use priority check in. The process went very smoothly. Had our welcome aboard photos taken and headed to our cabin, as it was already after 1pm. Now about the cabin: I can tell you that we will probably not book an aft cabin again. This may have been the wrong ship to try one on, but we did not find it all that great. On the bed were a number of papers, one reviewing the hand washing/sanitizing/prevention of diseases and the other two reviewing the Guest Vacation Policy as was already outlined in your cruise documentation. I assumed this was in response to the number of spring breakers on board and there was not going to be any question as to behavior and potential for being put off the ship. We met our cabin steward Raphael from St. Vincent. He was pleasant and did a nice job. We then headed up to the Windjammer for lunch. The buffet was pretty much the usual stuff-hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, sandwiches, etc. We made our way back to our room to check on the luggage. We had two of the four bags, unfortunately for Jamie and me, not ours. We checked out our dining room table, 99 on deck 5 of the Romeo and Juliet dining room. It was a table for 8. We walked around and checked out the ship. There were raffle drawings and you collected tickets from different departments for the giveaways. We did not win any, however. We made arrangements to meet with Runi, the Loyalty Ambassador, that evening to book our NextCruise booking. Muster took place at 4:30 and was relatively smooth; Captain Carl did not call out any cabins so I assume that everyone showed up. We went up to deck 8 and met Runi to do our NextCruise booking. We are thinking of taking the Explorer 9 night out of Cape Liberty next year, but do not have the dates yet. We still did not have our luggage and were worried we would be going to dinner naked or looking haggard at best. But about 5:40 the luggage arrived and we were able to be more presentable for dinner. We met our tablemates, Randy and Megan, a spring break couple from the Coast Guard Academy and a family from Toronto, Victor, Kim and their little girl Marissa, age 3. It was the first cruise for our tablemates, and we tried to impart some of our cruising knowledge to them. Our wait staff was Emrah our waiter from Turkey, and Gaiz, our assistant waiter from South Africa. For dinner this evening we had the following: Tess-Saigon Chicken Noodle soup, shrimp ravioli and chocolate ice cream. Jamie and I had: Watermelon gazpacho, Caesar salad, prime rib and Savarin for dessert. All the choices were good. After dinner we changed and got ready for the Adventure Ocean welcome aboard show. We were disappointed that there was no program on the first night, as we had experienced on previous cruises. Tess is always so excited to meet new friends, but she was stuck with us for the remainder of the evening. We did not attend the welcome aboard show, but just walked around and checked out our home for the next week.

Jamie’s Take –

This was the latest and longest we had ever waited to get on the ship. Let’s move to a philosophical aside here. We did not take any taxis in Tampa; the hotel provided all the transportation in the price of the stay. That included the airport to the hotel, the hotel to the port and then the port to the hotel and finally the hotel to the airport. The results are mixed. While the trips back from the ship were good, the trips to the hotel and ship were extended and tedious. What was that time worth in the scheme of things? Would it have better for us to spring for a taxi to have our fate in our own hands? I am still on the fence on this. I have been down on loyalty ambassadors in the past, but I have to admit that Runi did a solid job and got us in and out in less than ten minutes so that we could get up on deck for sail away, not that we had to rush because getting out of Tampa took forever. The muster drill went surprisingly well; we went out early and were pleased with the amount of people who shared the “let’s just get it over attitude”. My thoughts on the cabin were mixed. While some areas were “tired”- broken knobs, worn carpet and drawers that sort of worked, the bedding was fantastic. The bed was important, for sleeping and you know, other stuff. We would have problems with both the shower and toilet during the week and those problems would be quickly and efficiently taken care of by our cabin steward. My first impression of our table mates would be the right one. They were all very nice, quiet, but nice.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Weather in Clifton Park -Sunny Hi 41°F Lo 27°F

Weather at Sea – Sunny Hi 84°F Lo 61°F

We decided to go to the dining room for breakfast. It is a nice experience, a tad more “civilized” than the WJ I guess. We met some nice people and the food was good. After breakfast, Tess wanted to go to AO and we headed off to the Solarium pool for some quiet time. The pools were FREEZING!!! The hot tubs, however, were rather nice. We had a few cocktails and read and relaxed before picking Tess up from AO for lunch. We went off to the Windjammer for lunch again. The Wind Jammer offered the usual fare. We got some ice cream on the way out. Tess wanted to try the rock climbing, and they had a special session just for kids 6-11. She did not get far, but at least she tried. We then headed off to AO for the Lowes Family Ship Building. It is a kit that when the pieces are nailed together they make a little cruise ship. A fun activity but like we would see all week there were very few people there. Tess wanted to swim, so we got her changed and headed for the pool. Again FREEZING!!! There lots of coeds hanging out around the pool and the alcohol flowing rather freely. Then it was time for our Meet and Mingle. We met Dianne (ohmissfl) first. They gave everyone a lanyard pack with a notepad and pen and a place to put your seapass card. We talked with quite a few folks from our roll call and had a lot of fun. It was nice to put faces to names. There was a raffle and I won a cookbook!!! There were refreshments as well and it was a nice get together. We went to Bingo this afternoon and bought a Bingo dog. Did not win but had fun anyway. We changed for our first formal night dinner and the Captains reception prior to dinner. We had pictures done in a few locations and had one with the captain as well. We headed off to dinner. This evening we had: Tess-linguine with shrimp (from the shrimp cocktail) Jamie-Oxtail broth, Caesar salad, Filet of beef, cheesecake, Veronica-lobster bisque, Caesar salad, filet of beef and Grand Marnier soufflé. Tess skipped dessert as she wanted to get right to AO. I had brought a change of clothes for her so that we would not have to trek all the way back to the cabin. We were disappointed that there are no stairs or elevators more aft than the Centrum. After we finished dinner, we headed to the Casino for our first donation. We played the slots for a while and had a good time. We went to get Tess from AO and get ready for our first port, Georgetown, Grand Cayman. We did not see the show this evening.

Jamie’s Take –

The first day at sea, got to love that. I did get up early and take some pictures. Then we all went off to breakfast in the dining room. I wanted to give that another try and it turned out to be a very pleasant experience with nice people and well the same food we could get at the Wind Jammer. Then we went off to the Meet and Mingle. Now, my wife is the one who was the most active on the M&M board, so I did not know all that many people. We first met Dianne, who struck me as a boisterous, drinking party girl, so I liked her right away. I also got to talk to Luci and Dominick, who were originally from Brooklyn, and were taking their second cruise; I really enjoyed talking with them throughout the cruise. I inadvertently tried caviar, so if I was talking to you and I had a sour look on my face, it was not the conversation. So let’s talk about the spring breakers, I was kind of torn- on one hand the overwhelming population of stem to stern scantily clad, wearing the bikini they bought in high school BEFORE the freshman 15, twenty something female bodies was pleasing to the eye and stimulating for the use of the new bedding( I’m married not dead folks). However, the slurred drunken profanity that came along with it, and that was just the girls, was a significant draw back. For the ladies there also were many solid upstanding young men to look at, all though they were easily out numbered 3 to 1 by the girls. So much so that even the less pleasant to look at young men were having the best cruise of their lives. It will never get any better for those guys, trust me on that one. Individually or in small groups in the elevator or at the dinner table, in their recycled prom dresses, the breakers were pleasant enough but alcohol fueled “trolling” for the opposite sex. In larger groups, they were downright vulgar, and that was just the girls. Will we avoid a spring break cruise in the future, no, but we will not go looking for one either. We did miss the wine tasting on the first day; this would be the first of the very few regrets that we had during the cruise.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Weather in Clifton Park -Cloudy Hi 48°F Lo 24°F

Weather Georgetown, Grand Cayman – Sunny Hi 84°F Lo 79°F

We awoke to the phone call saying our room service would be there soon. Now don’t get me wrong, I like someone bringing the food to me, but eating off your lap is not my idea of a relaxing meal. We had two loungers and a small table on our balcony, as well as two regular chairs. There was no room for everything and three people eating off that small table proved impossible. A note about our balcony: there was caution tape on the right side, where we were told that the glass partition had shattered. Now this was the bulkhead side, so no neighbors. We asked about it and Raphael said it would be fixed when we were in port (so shouldn’t it have been fixed BEFORE we got on???). We did not find the balcony all that and more, and we felt A LOT of vibration/movement in this cabin, more than any other ship we have sailed on. We arrived in Grand Cayman to a bright sunny day. Tender tickets were required, but as we did not have an organized excursion, we were in no hurry to get off. We played a quick game of football trivia with some guys from UKentucky. They won, but since we were the only two teams, we all got the RCI keychain. We did get tickets, number 8. Once off the ship we tried to just get a taxi to Boatswain Beach for the Turtle Farm. Having never done the taxis in GC, we were unfamiliar with the process. Apparently there are licensed drivers and not. So we got in a van with some other passengers who were headed to 7 mile beach. The cab ride for the 3 of us was $28-12 for Jamie and I and $4 for Tess (what a deal, huh?). The cab driver did “bargain” for us on admission to the farm, which was $27.50 for the three of us, but that was only for the turtles, none of the Predator Park or the lagoon. The turtles were interesting and Tess really enjoyed it. We finished and managed to hitch a ride to 7 mile beach with a tour going back to the pier. This was a better deal, only $10 for the ride, 5 each for Jamie and I and nothing for Tess. We went to the Sea Grapes section and found it to be beautiful. We got some food and drinks at Calico Jacks and swam quite a bit. The water was absolutely gorgeous and the sand soft as silk. We caught a van back to the pier, $15 total $5 each no discount for Tess, with the kids from Kentucky that we played trivia with earlier. We went to the Tortuga store to buy rum cakes for my brother. They had samples of the different flavors and they were all really good. We got back on the ship and dressed for dinner. Tonight we had: Tess-Strawberry bisque, Atlantic cod, and warm chocolate cake. Jamie had the roasted garlic soup, Caesar salad, the lamb and the Raspberry panna cotta. I had the roasted garlic soup, the grilled tiger shrimp and the warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. Tess then headed off to AO for Pirate Night. This is always a fun “show”. Tonight’s entertainment in the “That’s Entertainment Theatre” was the Beatle Maniacs. Absolutely the best show we have ever seen on a cruise. The Show was hands down, fabulous. These guys were great and it was more like a concert with dancing and singing along. Everyone got into it-old, young and in-between. If you ever get the chance to see this show, do it, you won’t regret it. After, we picked Tess up from AO and headed off to bed to rest up for our next port, Costa Maya. Our foe-leather picture frames were on the bed when we returned, along with an invitation to the captain’s welcome back party for Wednesday.

Jamie’s Take –

The room service on that balcony was so not worth the trouble, for that matter neither was the balcony. The balcony, while deeper, was difficult to maneuver around with all the furniture. It also became exceedingly hot when the sun was on it which was, it seemed, all the time. We also found that it was difficult to not be seen by the neighbors and all the other balconies above us, which made the new bedding that much more useful. So my take on the aft cabin, including in the length of the walk, the movement of the ship and the less than stellar balcony would be a no go for Legend of the Seas and that class of ship. I wanted to enjoy the turtle farm, I really did, but I did not. It may have been better if I had gotten to eat one of the buggers, but probably not. Thankfully the Sea Grapes beach made up for it in spades. The one thought that comes to mind, keeping in mind we were the only ship in harbor so no crowds, was this makes every other beach I have been to in my life look stupid. Wow, what a beach. Now comes my second regret for the cruise. I wish that we had made Tess go to the Beatle Maniacs, because to use some Breaker language “they were F&*%’in Fantastic!” Ladies throw on an extra pair of panties and shoot them up on stage, because that is the only thing that was missing. Now I am not a Beatles fan but if you have an opportunity to go to one of their shows take it, it will be well worth the effort. How often do you get to see “John Lennon” passing through the Casino with a couple Guinness’s?

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Weather in Clifton Park -Cloudy Hi 55°F Lo 28°F

Weather Majahual, Mexico – Sunny Hi 86°F Lo 75°F

This morning, the cruise compass listed a Crayola Coloring Activity at the VCL. We figured it was a family activity and went up since we had some time before we docked in Costa Maya. Well there was no one there except Raphael from the activities staff. He did not acknowledge us until a college aged couple came and asked if this was the coloring activity. Well he got his knickers in a twist when Tess and I sat down to color. He rather abruptly informed me that this was an ADULT activity and he would LET Tess stay as long as I stayed with her. Otherwise she should go to AO. EXCUSE ME????? Who in their right mind would think that an activity that has CRAYOLA in the title would be for adults only? The college kids thought it was weird too. We were each given a pencil drawing of a lizard and could color it with oil pastels. We all had fun, except for the activities guy. He seemed annoyed to be there.

The nice thing about Costa Maya is docking there. Unfortunately we had a little “not so niceness” here. The ship’s photographers were taking pictures of people as they got off the ship. As usual, they had a railing set up with the life preserver with the ships name on it. We wanted our picture taken there. The photographer was rather abrupt and begrudgingly took our photo. Remember this, as it will come back in a later installment. It seems they have expanded the port area and there were lots of shops and vendors here. We were each given a certificate for a diamond charm bracelet from Diamonds International to be redeemed here. It was gold plated junk and they charged $5 for the Costa Maya charm (I later found out that the charms are supposed to be free, but since I did not want them, it made no difference to me). We had booked the Chaccoben ruins tour with Ivan and David. They have arranged to pick up right up at the pier now. You still have to pay the taxi fare but don’t actually take the taxi to Majahual. We met David, who was really nice but a wonderful woman named Carolina did our tour. We were on a nice A/C tour bus for the ride and she was very informative and fun. She learned everyone’s name on the ride and that’s impressive as there were about 30 of us. The bus ride was shall we say, like the Fast and the Furious. I didn’t know those big buses could go that fast. The ruins are spectacular and I highly recommend them. Along the way we stopped in a “village” and Carolina bought fresh pineapple for us to eat. OMG-the best tasting pineapple we have every eaten. Tess ate half a bag on the way back when we stopped again and could purchase it for ourselves. They also had fresh coconut, which someone else on the bus bought, and they said it was great also. The ruins were a little boring for Tess, but she managed to get through the day without too much whining. The bus returned us right to the pier area and that’s when the skies turned gray. Tess wanted to have her hair braided, so we found a place for that. $40 for the whole head and two women worked on her. It was really cute and I am amazed at how they do it. It really started to rain while we were doing that. It was fun to watch the Spring Break kids stumbling back to the ship. Some were being carried by others because they were so wasted. I sent Jamie ahead back to the ship to get ready for dinner as it was getting closer to 6pm and I didn’t want to be late for dinner. Tess and I made it back in time for quick showers and a change of clothes. For dinner tonight we ate the following: Tess-Salmon with mashed potatoes, black forest mousse and vanilla ice cream; Jamie-Chilled Washington Apple soup, Cheese tortellini, dulce de leche cheesecake and black forest mousse; Veronica-Maryland Crab Cake, Pork Chops and Low fat apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Tonight we also purchased the new RCI cookbook, Savor. We were told that by purchasing it, we would be invited to a tour of the galley. Tess went up to AO as usual and Jamie and I headed to the card room for the art seminar. Jordan, the guy from Park West, held seminars a few nights discussing the artists and their work. At each seminar, you received the free piece of art. We ended up with 4. I left a few minutes early to go to “Win a Cruise Bingo”, which I did not win. We then went to the Casino, where we met Sherri and Troy, a nice couple from Colorado. We played roulette with them most of the week, and they also had a daughter, Kat, age 9. It was their first cruise (but I don’t think their last). Again we did not go to the show, a production called Swing City. We picked up Tess from AO and headed off to bed, another early day ahead in Belize.

Jamie’s Take –

Costa Maya, the scene of our last cruise debacle, this is your opportunity to redeem yourself, and yes, yes you did. With the help of David and Ivan, well just David, Ivan was sick so we got Carolina and she was fantastic, just wonderful, well spoken and intelligent with just the right mix of history and theatrics to keep everything interesting. The Pineapple was worth killing for and the tour was almost to die for. The third regret was here though was the little food stands at the ruins that looked to have authentic Mayan- Mexican food that looked great but it was too close to dinner to partake, my mistake. The hair braiding worked out well and Tess looked so cute. We did attend the art lecture for the free art work, but it turned out to be interesting never the less.

Just an aside to the Spring Breaker pole dancing in the black bikini on the pool bar. First, from all the males in Costa Maya, thank you. Secondly, stay in school. Finally, pray hard that you do not end up on You-Tube.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Weather in Clifton Park –Rain Hi 65°F Lo 46°F

Weather in Belize – Sunny Hi 86°F Lo 82°F

We had been told by our waiter that our tender ride into Belize would be about 20 minutes as the ship has to anchor quite a ways out due to the shallow water. Many people waiting for tenders had early excursions not booked thru RCI. The ship tours were allowed on the tenders first, and then they would take people waiting in line. Our excursion with Coral Breezes/Hammerhead Sports was scheduled for 7:30 local time. Since there were five ships in port and no one seemed to be going anywhere fast, we were not too concerned about this. We met our guide, Mr. Big, at the Wet Lizard. There were three other couples with us on the snorkeling/Bannister Island/manatee watch tour. The other couples were older and were sailing on the HAL Veendam. We took a speed boat out to Bannister Island with our captain Erwin and guide, Mr. Big. Since Tess and I were the only ones not snorkeling, they basically let us off and continued on to the coral reef. There were hundreds of people already there, and chairs and shade were in short supply. Tess wanted to be near the water but there were no chairs or shade. We found a little shade further away from the swimming area, but headed over to swim some. It was REALLY hot and VERY sunny. The beach here is crushed shells, not soft like 7 mile beach in GC. Tess and I played and then had some lunch from the snack bar. Chicken fingers with fries and potato salad-$10. There was enough for us to share and I got a bottle of Diet coke and juice at the bar for $3 total. We went back to the water to cool off and Jamie and the rest of the gang returned. We saw all of our tablemates there and Tess and Marissa played together. Finally it was time for our manatee watch. It was about this time that Jamie and I noticed that we were RED. Like a rare steak red, and on fire. We were all lucky we did not get sun poisoning. We got back on the boat with Erwin and Mr. Big and went out among the mangroves looking for manatees. We did see a few and a dolphin who was playing with us and them. At this point, Jamie and I were rather uncomfortable and could not wait to get back to the ship. Before getting off the speed boat, Mr. Big made a point of telling us to go to Cruise Critic and tell everyone how much we enjoyed the tour. The tour was really nice and if we had not gotten fried, it would have been a totally super day. So Mr. Big, there you go. An aside here to Hammerhead Sports-buy some beach umbrellas and rent them out on Bannister Island. I would have paid $20 for one. Easy money I would think. Now back to our regularly scheduled program now. We looked around a bit in the shops at the pier and Tess bought a few trinkets. The ride back to the ship was fine, though anyone or anything touching me would send me into fits of agony. We decided that we would not be able to attend the second formal dinner as there was no way I was wearing either shoes or a strapless bra. No way, no how, no dice. It was all I could do to take a shower. We went to Windjammer instead and had dinner with Troy, Sherri and Kat. They had been eating room service for each meal and we talked into them into going to WJ. We had an enjoyable dinner (well as much as you can when you feel like you will combust at any moment). The girls then went to AO together and we went back to the cabin to rest. On the way we stopped at the photo gallery to look for our CM picture. We could not find it. We figured it was there and when we were feeling better, we would look again. We saw all of our other pictures and were not terribly impressed with any of them. We did not like the fact that at the dinner table the photographer took Tess and Jamie together and me alone, never the three of us or just Jamie and me. I woke up at 10:05 and realized I had to go get Tess from AO. We went back to the cabin and slept fitfully, hoping to feel somewhat better in the morning. This was the gala buffet night, and we missed it. In five cruises I have only seen one midnight buffet.

Jamie’s Take –

The tendering was tough here and RCI’s frustrating but understandable “tour’s first” tender policy is something to keep in mind when visiting Belize. The tour from Coral Breezes/Hammerhead Sports with “Biggie” and Captain Erwin was excellent. They were both well spoken and helpful. The snorkeling was solid despite the stiff wind which whipped up the seas. It is hard to imagine that there is a playground and bar on the face of the sun, but there it was. What can I say about Bannister Island but it’s a week later and I am still red. The tour ended with the chase for the “Sea Cow” and like an epic from Homer through the river Styx; no I guess it was not that bad, no fault of the tour it was just too sunny. I think the Manatee hunt was not worth the effort. It may have been better if I had gotten to eat one of the buggers, but I would not have been able to eat it all so it would have been a waste, Just kidding folks . My wife will detail the problems with the photography. Suffice it to say in four prior cruises we never had a problem that we felt we had to write down the name of a crew member in a bad way. Missing the Midnight Buffett has become so common I will not list it as a disappointment, I am so ashamed.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Weather in Clifton Park –Rain Hi 57°F Lo 30°F

Weather in Cozumel – Sunny Hi 88°F Lo 77°F

Today was the day we were looking forward to most. Cozumel is one of our favorite ports and we were excited about seeing it more recovered from the hurricane. We tendered into the Downtown pier, also known as the ferry pier. There were five other ships in port with us-Explorer, Voyager, Grandeur, Carnival Inspiration and Norwegian Dawn. We were the only ship that tendered into Downtown and that was nice as you were right in the middle of the shopping. We got off early, around 8. We ended up having another problem with the photographer. He was the same yahoo as in Costa Maya. We asked if the railing/life preserver prop was set up on the pier for pix. He told us “down the pier” Well guess what? No prop, no other photographer. We did not bother to go back as we wanted to get into town and do our shopping and have lunch. We walked toward Los Cinco Soles and Panchos. This is when the heat stroke apparently got to my DH. We were in search of a bag for his stepmother. Well it was a certain type of bag, a mesh like, woven, with decorations on it. We looked hither and yon, not finding quite what he wanted. We found something similar at Los Cinco Soles, but we continued on looking. We were directed to a plaza with a clock tower. It turned out to be right across from the pier. We never even knew it was there. But here there was a flea market type area and we found the bag. We also got bottled water cheap ($2 for the large bottle) and SPF 50 sunscreen. There were lots of cute eateries and neat stuff for sale. Tess got a really cute purse made out of woven wrappers and labels. Very unique. People here were willing to barter as well. We headed back to Pancho’s and Los Cinco for the rest of our shopping. Lunch at Panchos was great as always and we highly recommend it. One more trip back to the pier and we stopped into the Museo de la Isla de Cozumel. This turned out to be a cute little museum, $3 each for adults, kids free. There was a very moving pictorial exhibit about the hurricane and recovery efforts. There were some cool dolphin statues that Tess had to have her picture taken with. We stopped into the $10 Silver store and Tess got a bracelet and some earrings for $5 each. Nice stuff at a reasonable price. We made our way back to the pier to tender back to the ship to drop off our stuff and change for our afternoon excursion at Dolphin Discovery. On the tender, there were guys selling T shirts, jewelry and cigars. They were persistent but I got two T shirts for our dads for $10 and another bracelet for Tess for $5. We slathered ourselves with SPF 50 and headed back ashore for our trip to Chankanaab Park. We found getting a taxi to be more difficult process than previously, as there was only one place to get one and there was a man there directing the whole thing. We shared a cab, $10 one way for the three of us, with two ladies from the Grandeur, who told us that 5 kids had been put off their ship in GC for violating the behavior policy. Guess they weren’t kidding were they. We arrived at Chankanaab with plenty of time until our encounter. We looked around some and decided to hang out in the shade by the pool. We had never been here pre-hurricane, so I cannot compare it to before, but it was very nice and clean. We met up with the others for our encounter, a family of four, a dad with one son and another dad with two sons. The dads and sons all spoke Spanish and us and the other family spoke English. So everything the trainer said was done in both languages. Tess had really been looking forward to this, as dolphins are one of her favorite animals. It was a neat experience and I am glad we did it. I don’t know that I would do it again, however. We were the last group there and the rest of the park was closed by the time we changed and made our way to the gift shop to view our pictures and video. We decided to buy the DVD ($35) and one picture ($10) of Tess. She also got a glass dolphin figurine. We caught a taxi back and promptly realized that we were missing dinner. So we decided to clean up and head to Windjammer for dinner again. Tonight was an Asian inspired night with sushi and other Chinese/Thai/Japanese foods. I have to say that we really enjoyed eating dinner in the Windjammer and have decided that we may do it more often on future cruises. Tess of course was eager to get to AO so off she went. As per our usual routine, we made more contributions at the casino with our new friends Troy and Sherri. We were looking forward to sleeping in the next day, our last full day on ship. We were not looking forward to our last day and the prospect of packing however. Clocks had to be moved one hour ahead before retiring (daylight savings time).

Jamie’s Take –

Cozumel in spring time is there anything better. Ok folks let’s talk about the “recovery”. Now I have been taken to task on the boards for the blasphemy of saying that Cozumel has not yet recovered from the hurricane that sat on top of it for 42 straight hours. I will once again state that it has not recovered. The good news is if you have never been to Cozumel before you will not notice. The bad news is if you have been here it will never be the same. I will state unequivocally that Cozumel is well worth going to and remains my favorite port. Let’s talk about the bag- for once a man was looking for a purse and knew exactly what he was looking for and was willing to spend all day looking for it, and your complaining about what? We found some great shopping and what looked like tasty restaurants, but NO we had to go to Pancho’s back yard, which for $36 for three was well worth the effort as always. The cabs although difficult to flag down seem to be a standard $10 one way out to the beach and $10 back downtown, that is good to see. The Dolphin encounter, well I have eaten enough Dolphins in my day (hey folks tuna was not always “dolphin safe”). I have to tell you I was not all that excited about this excursion going in and it did not blow me away. It was, however very solid and worth the money because it did blow away my daughter. They did try to be educational and fun which they succeeded in and much to my surprise the photo and DVD souvenirs were very reasonable, comparably cheap even. Cozumel was my favorite day It was a wonderful experience immersing myself in another culture, even if I could not speak the langue and it is now a bit commercialized, it is a wonderful port.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Weather in Clifton Park –Snow Hi 28°F Lo 19°F

Weather at sea – Sunny chance of showers Hi 87°F Lo 75°F

We slept in and awoke to a somewhat sunny day. We had plans for the day that included-the AO talent show for Tess, Final Jackpot Bingo, the art auction and the highly anticipated galley tour. First things first, breakfast. We ate at Windjammer and it was moderately crowded. We found that as the week went on, we were not able to eat as much. So we pretty much stuck to cereal and fruit. Once finished, Tess was again headed to AO to get ready for the talent show. She came prepared and was going to do some Tae Kwon Do and board breaking. We headed to the Photo gallery to again search for our Costa Maya picture and decide which pictures we would purchase. We asked the woman at the register about the Costa Maya picture. She brought out the proof sheet and there was our picture. Well almost. Jamie was cut off and there was some type of problem with the picture. The gentleman who took the picture, one Kreisler Drego, was also there. We asked to speak to a manager and the woman said she was his supervisor. We told her what had happened in Costa Maya and the incident in Cozumel, as he was the photographer in question both times. She assured us that they would be able to reprint the Costa Maya picture and it would be fine. We had the lifestyle portraits taken of Tess and the coloring was poor, so we asked for them to be reprinted. We had to pay for it and were told we would be refunded the money if we did not like them. We were not very pleased with the photography services on this ship. We went back to the cabin to start packing. Soon it was time to watch the talent show. There were only a few “acts” since there were not that many kids on board, or at least ones who wanted to do the talent show. Everyone gets “first prize” and a medal for participating. We then made our way to the Centrum for the cooking demonstration. Chef Andy and one of his pastry chefs had two volunteers and they made delightful rum cakes. Chef Andy did a running commentary. Rubel from the galley staff was on the landing doing the food carving. He made a squirrel out of pineapple and carved a person in a watermelon. We had Chef Andy sign our new cookbook and had some pictures with him as well. We then checked out the last day sales at the shops onboard. We bought the ship model, a shirt for Tess and a pen for our Travel Agent, Donna. Then we headed up to WJ for lunch and there was also a poolside barbecue. The line was long for it, so we opted to eat inside. Glad we did as it started to rain. Luckily it only rained for about 20 minutes. Next up was the art auction. We did not plan to buy any art, but you do get a free print for attending. Plus there was a raffle to win some art as well. Unfortunately, we could not stay long as it was time for our galley tour. On the way, we bought our cards for final Bingo. We had bought the Bingo dog earlier in the week, but you could not use him or any coupons for the last bingo game. We were really excited about the tour of the galley, as we are interested in cooking and how things work on the ship. Chef Andy and Executive Sous Chef Jason did the tour. We went with Chef Jason and about a dozen other people. I have to say this was one of the most interesting things we have ever done on a cruise. He told us all about how much food they use in a week (10,000 pounds of flour, 650 pounds of lobster) and how each “department” in the galley functions. There are about 80 crew members in the galley and each has a specific job to do. We saw the galleys on both decks 4 and 5. The tour lasted about 30 minutes and if you ever get the opportunity to do it, I highly recommend it. We left the dining room and went back to the Anchors Aweigh lounge for the end of the art auction. They were getting toward the end and the raffles. One woman won 3 or 4 of the raffles!!! We thought that was unfair, even though she probably spent 5-6K in art. Next up was Bingo. Jamie decided to head back to the cabin to rest so Tess and I went to the theatre for Bingo. We only got close once and one person won the final jackpot, over $3100. Rumor has it she was spotted buying jewelry soon after. It was time to get ready for dinner and prepare my thank you notes and tips. We felt that our service this week had been fine and professional, but the staff was not terribly personable. We went to our last dinner and said farewell to our wait staff and tablemates. Tess went to AO for the last time and we went to pack. We got our bags outside of the room and went to the photo gallery to check on the pictures. The lifestyle one came out fine and they were kind enough to let us use the coupon to get another for free. Unfortunately, the Costa Maya picture did not come out right. It only shows Tess and me, but you can see Jamie’s arm around us and part of his hat. They gave us that photo for free due to the problem. It was quite a disappointment, but was not the end of the world. Then one more trip to the casino and the roulette table with our new friends. While we were there, Luci and Dominick from our Meet & Mingle group came by. They told us LaGuardia was closed. Why??? A snowstorm! There was at least a foot of snow on the ground. How lovely. We were not too worried as we were not flying out until Sunday. We played for a while and managed to leave the last of our money in the casino. But at least we had fun. We picked up Tess for the last time and went back to the cabin. We promised her we would order room service, so we got some milk and cookies and Jamie wanted some wings. We stayed up to watch Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Mans Chest. At last we went to sleep, sad to know that in a few hours we would be leaving the Legend. Tonight, the ship had quite a bit of motion, rocking and rolling pretty well. This had happened to us quite a bit during the week and we weren’t sure if it was our location (aft) or the seas (slight, according to Capt Carl). But even now, we are still feeling the “ship move”.

Jamie’s Take –

The last sea day, it always causes much sadness. Well let’s check in on the Spring Breakers one last time. A week of drinking, tanning and well the other thing, you know with the new bedding, but not on the over exposed balcony, has taken a toll- they looked well, beaten down. No more bikinis and six-pack abs. Now worn sweat shirts and sunglasses inside. No more looking for tonight’s hookup, now they are looking for a way to pay off their sea pass account without calling Mom and Dad. I just have this to say, being the old, fat bald guy with money still left isn’t so bad. Ok now on to the Bingo. Yes she played three times and did not win and yes we bought the dog. Yes, we could have skipped the dog. The Adventure Ocean, well it was not so much as far as the adventure went. First the staff seemed to be suffering from the malaise that the rest of the staff on the ship was suffering. They were not very personable. I am putting you in charge of one of the two things I brought on the ship that I would kill you dead for; I would hope for more than a passing interest in talking to me. As a result, the ship with 250 AO aged children never has more than 20-30 children in that area, and they took over the teen night club for the older of these children so the tweens were out of luck. The Malaise- now we have been on several other cruises and if this was your first, you would have never noticed this, however we did. The staff was professional, hard working, and they did their jobs well, so you say what more could you possibly want, jerk. Well I will tell you they were boring. They were not personable; it was like if passengers were not there they would still do their job, like the ship of the damned. Well it was not that bad and no it is not a cruise requirement that they splay their personality out like so many buckets of Budweiser beer, but it does make for a better cruise. If I feel that connection when you tell me about your family, your home town or about your experience in the port that we are about to visit, I feel like an insider, a member of the family. It adds to the feel and texture of the cruise, and frankly if you’re family, I tip better. So when the “insider” tour of the galley came I had high expectations, I was not disappointed. Chef Jason, even only understanding every other word, due to the noise, he was funny and informative all at the same time. Well worth what we paid for the cookbook. The tour was interesting and we enjoyed it.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Weather in Clifton Park –Snow Hi 28°F Lo 20°F

Weather in Tampa – Sunny Hi 66°F Lo 51°F

We had yellow tags and since we had no flight to catch, were in no hurry to get off the ship. We went to the dining room for breakfast one last time. We were seated with a mother and college aged daughter, and a mother and little girl, probably 4 or 5. The college girl was rather tired as she had not gone to bed until 4am. We found this to be a common ailment among the college crowd. We went up to the Card Room as this was the platinum and diamond/plus departure lounge. Coffee, juice and Danish were provided. It wasn’t too long until they called our color. We went down to deck four and made our way off the ship and to customs. This was a painless process with passports. Jamie went to find our luggage while I called the hotel to get the shuttle to come get us. My phone rang and it was my brother, bearing news of 15 inches of snow at home. Joy. We met up with a couple from our trip down who were headed to the airport to go home. It was rather cool in Tampa and we donned our sweatshirts and waited for the van. We arrived at the hotel about 9:30 am and of course had no room yet. So I went with plan B, took the luggage to the guest laundry and dumped all the clothes into the washers and started the laundry. I figured if it was all washed, all I would have to do when I got home was put it away. The hotel has a nice sitting area with TV and Wi-Fi so we settled in until we could get into a suite. I made phone calls home to friends and family while waiting for the clothes to wash. Put everything in the dryers and we headed next door to Bahama Breeze for lunch. It turned out to be a neat place, reasonable price. Jamie had a burger, I had a wrap and Tess had macaroni and cheese, which we took some back with us for her to eat later. By this time, the laundry was complete and there was a room ready for us. We repacked the suitcases and took showers in a tub, instead of that bitty shower in our cabin. We watched TV, looked at our pictures on the laptop, I got on the boards and checked in with some people. Tess took a nap and we ordered Pizza Hut for dinner (an ordeal to find a Pizza Hut that delivers to the hotel). We just relaxed, and had a nice last day of our vacation.

Jamie’s Take –

The disembarkation went well and we were to the hotel early, now remember that nice noon check out time, ouch that’s the sound of me getting bit on the butt. Let’s just say it took some time to get a room. I can recommend Bahama Breezes for lunch and a full size shower.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Weather in Clifton Park –Windy Hi 32°F Lo 21°F

Weather in Tampa – Sunny Hi 71°F Lo 48°F

We once again enjoyed the expanded continental breakfast at the hotel and arranged to take an earlier shuttle to the airport. We had originally chosen 9am and we had an 11:40 flight. Glad we did. The line for check in at the SWA counter was at least 45 minutes, if not an hour. We had time, but many did not. We already printed boarding passes, just had to check bags. Due to all the cancellations and delays in the Northeast, they were trying to get everyone through quickly. We went over to the gate areas and another wait 30-45 minutes to clear security. We only waited at the gate for maybe 45 minutes before it was time to board our plane for home. We met another couple who had been on the cruise and reminisced with them. Behind them was a young man who used to work for RCI. We talked with him a bit about how things are on board, especially with spring break. We had an uneventful flight home and were greeted at the airport by Jamie’s dad and lots of snow. There was probably a couple hundred pieces of luggage waiting to be claimed by folks who had missed flights on Friday and Saturday due to the storm. It is always nice to be home, but we really were sad to see our vacation end.

Jamie’s Final Take –

· We had a very relaxing cruise, every cruise has been different- this one was relaxing. All of the ports and excursions were enjoyable and worth the money we paid. My thoughts to take forward for the next cruise:

· Sunscreen, a new hat and some way to keep both of them on is a must.SPF 50+

· The Wind Jammer is a viable dining alternative for a couple nights and that saves on packing.

· Look at the times you are in port- if your last tender is 4:30pm or later, you are pushing early dinner.

· It may be a good idea to take in to consideration the whole price of the cruise, transportation and hotel, when comparing cruises.

· Don’t be afraid to tell the photographer what you want in the photo. They may not know what they are doing.

· Breakfast should be light, really light, and lunch should be “local” when in port to prevent the buildup of food, and not being hungry at the end of the week.

· Have one port day where you are on your own with no or a late excursion.

Veronica’s observations:

· The ship moved A LOT. Many people noticed it. I don’t know if it was weather/seas or what, but this was the most motion we had ever felt.

· The AO program was okay but definitely not the best run program Tess has been to. There was only one male counselor, and we pretty much saw the same three girls each and every time Tess went. She had fun, but it was not the same as on Jewel (her gold standard of cruises)

· Food was good. The menu seems to be pretty much the same as the last time, with a few minor exceptions. We ate what we usually do. We enjoyed the dinners at WJ and would not hesitate to do that again, especially on port days.

· Service was efficient and professional. There were always people cleaning the ship but she does look tired in some areas. The staff was not terribly personable however. We never felt we made a “connection” to any of them and we only got 3 towel animals all week, much to Tess’s disappointment.

· The spring break kids were fine-no major complaints. Many we met were nice kids having fun. We did not see any really bad behavior, just poor fashion choices on some.

· The dining room dress code was enforced, somewhat. Men were required to wear full length trousers EVERY night. But they did allow jeans. One night a young man had on a really nice outfit, Bermuda shorts and was turned away unless he changed. He returned wearing jeans (nice ones) and was admitted.

· The photography staff was the worst. We found the pictures to not be very good and after our experience with the one man, we were just turned off.

· We only attended the one show, The Beatle Maniacs, so I cannot comment on the entertainment.

· The Meet and Mingle was fun and it was nice to put faces to names. It was great to see people out and about and talk to them.

· We enjoyed all the ports, sunburns and all. We like the western Caribbean, as it is familiar to us and a “known quantity”.

Thank you for reading my terribly long winded review, but I try to include the details that make or break a trip. I also am trying to relive it since I don’t know yet when my next cruise will be. Please feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer. I do have the compasses and kids compasses for age 6-8. They are not in the best shape, so I don’t think I will scan them. Once we have organized the pictures, I will try to load them up to Web shots and post a link for them.

If you do not know already, we have a podcast about RCI and cruising. We will be doing one show per week on our cruise and including more details of this trip. Click on the link in my signature to take you to CrownCast and have a listen!!

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Thank you so much for the really great review. you guys are terrific at details. I really enjoyed reading about your cruise. I do have a question? You mentioned "

The room service on that balcony was so not worth the trouble, for that matter neither was the balcony. The balcony, while deeper, was difficult to maneuver around with all the furniture. It also became exceedingly hot when the sun was on it which was, it seemed, all the time. We also found that it was difficult to not be seen by the neighbors and all the other balconies above us, which made the new bedding that much more useful. So my take on the aft cabin, including in the length of the walk, the movement of the ship and the less than stellar balcony would be a no go for Legend of the Seas and that class of ship. "

That is the first less than favorable review I have heard about a aft. You truly would not book one again? I am on the same class of ship soon and have a aft which was quite costly so I am really curious

Again many thanks Karen~

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Thank you, for taking the time to read all of that. Tune in to the Podcast we will have a post cruise show on March 27th and Day one of the Days of Legend episodes starting on March 29th.

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Thank you so much for the really great review. you guys are terrific at details. I really enjoyed reading about your cruise. I do have a question? You mentioned "

 

The room service on that balcony was so not worth the trouble, for that matter neither was the balcony. The balcony, while deeper, was difficult to maneuver around with all the furniture. It also became exceedingly hot when the sun was on it which was, it seemed, all the time. We also found that it was difficult to not be seen by the neighbors and all the other balconies above us, which made the new bedding that much more useful. So my take on the aft cabin, including in the length of the walk, the movement of the ship and the less than stellar balcony would be a no go for Legend of the Seas and that class of ship. "

 

That is the first less than favorable review I have heard about a aft. You truly would not book one again? I am on the same class of ship soon and have a aft which was quite costly so I am really curious

Again many thanks Karen~

 

Karen-

 

I honestly don't think we would. Like I said, this may have been the wrong ship to try an aft balcony on. When we were on Jewel we had a hump balcony and totally loved that. The loooooong walk back to the cabin on Legend and the constant sun just didn't do it for us. Plus there was a lot of motion but I don't know if that was our cabin location or the seas. I think you should try the aft-you may love it, we just did not.

 

Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed the review.

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Read this complete review with great interest. In about 3 weeks will be on the Legend for the first time and it will be just our 3rd cruise ever. We have never tendered, ever. We have an in Belize with Island Marketing/Belize Cruise Excursions. We are to meet our guide at 8:20 local time which is before the RCI excursion time meets. Will they let us tender over in time? Are we looking at a "real pain in the butt" experience or just be ready to tender early, hope for the best that we get on an early tender and know we will get over there?

 

Thanks for the review and any feed back will be appreciated.

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Read this complete review with great interest. In about 3 weeks will be on the Legend for the first time and it will be just our 3rd cruise ever. We have never tendered, ever. We have an in Belize with Island Marketing/Belize Cruise Excursions. We are to meet our guide at 8:20 local time which is before the RCI excursion time meets. Will they let us tender over in time? Are we looking at a "real pain in the butt" experience or just be ready to tender early, hope for the best that we get on an early tender and know we will get over there?

 

Thanks for the review and any feed back will be appreciated.

 

In Belize I think if you get down to deck 2 as close to when tendering starts, you should be fine. Remember everyone has to tender and the tour companies usually wait for you unless you are REALLY late. We waited almost 45 minutes for the last couple to show for our tour-they were already there but apparently wandering around because they "couldn't find" the Wet Lizard:rolleyes: . Others we met in line also had early meeting times but none missed their excursion as far as I know. You will tender in 3 of the 4 ports on this cruise, so you will become familiar with the process quickly!!!

 

Have a wonderful time and I look forward to hearing about your trip when you get back!!

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HI beachbears! Thanks for the great review. I am on the same cruise as Bullsfan on the 14th April and we have the go ahead for our M & M. When did you have yours(time and place) and who turned up??? (i.e. the captain, crew?) Never been to one before and should imagine being it is only three weeks til we go, it will be similar.

 

Also, Cozumel, is there plenty to do in walking distance with kids (aged 9 and 12) on an evening should we wish to take advantage of fact ship is in port til 11pm and would you feel safe? the odd bar (suitable for DSs) and stalls, shops maybe?We might this evening have dinner in the Windjammer early and take a stroll.

 

Finally...sorry... formal nights, which nights were they and how formal?

Thanks for your help. Cannot wait to have a great cruise like you seeemd to have! (I have been on legend in Europe last year and really enjoyed her then)

 

:) Hollyanna

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HI beachbears! Thanks for the great review. I am on the same cruise as Bullsfan on the 14th April and we have the go ahead for our M & M. When did you have yours(time and place) and who turned up??? (i.e. the captain, crew?) Never been to one before and should imagine being it is only three weeks til we go, it will be similar.

 

Also, Cozumel, is there plenty to do in walking distance with kids (aged 9 and 12) on an evening should we wish to take advantage of fact ship is in port til 11pm and would you feel safe? the odd bar (suitable for DSs) and stalls, shops maybe?We might this evening have dinner in the Windjammer early and take a stroll.

 

Finally...sorry... formal nights, which nights were they and how formal?

Thanks for your help. Cannot wait to have a great cruise like you seeemd to have! (I have been on legend in Europe last year and really enjoyed her then)

 

:) Hollyanna

 

Our M & M was on Sunday at 2pm in the Viking Crown Lounge. Matilda, the Activities manager and two other officers were there, but no captain.

 

Cozumel-While we love Coz, I don't think I would be out after dark with the kiddies. We like to go out early in the am, see and do stuff and then go back for the evening. Mostly up and down the street is lots of shopping and eateries. There is a plaza that is new with a clock tower right across from where you tender in. Tons of neat little shops there. We went to the museum (I talked about it in the review). Maybe a trip to Paradise Beach during the day for the family and at night the kids go to AO and adults go on shore to check out the nightlife?? We are not night owls, but early risers so we don't do a lot of stuff late at night (hence the reason I never make it to the midnight buffet)

 

Formal nights were Sunday (sea day) and Wednesday (Belize). We only went to the first one, but again it seemed like everything goes. Suits, tuxes, prom gowns, cocktail dresses, you name it. The spring breakers really seemed to like dressing up (especially the girls). I can't tell you about the second night since we went to WJ for dinner.

 

Hope this helps-I will be glad to answer any other questions you have and have a great trip!!

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Great review...thanks for the efforts.

 

Out of curiousity, what cabin did you have?

 

7126 port corner aft.

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Great review - fingers crossed that my JS aft in May will be a better experience - we will only be in the Med so hopefully not as rough.

Did you not find the 'secret staircase' opposite #7108, on the port side,that bring you out on Deck 9 opposite the Spa Treatment reception desk ???

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Great review - fingers crossed that my JS aft in May will be a better experience - we will only be in the Med so hopefully not as rough.

Did you not find the 'secret staircase' opposite #7108, on the port side,that bring you out on Deck 9 opposite the Spa Treatment reception desk ???

 

What is this secret staircase of which you speak? Nope did not know about it. There was a staircase right next to our room but it was crew only. We looked at all the doors along the way and everything seemed to be crew only, so we did not try any of them.

 

Hopefully you will enjoy your JS. We love having a balcony, but the aft is just not for us. Better off for the aft lovers anyhow. I'll take the hump cabin any day.

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Tendered 3 of the 4 stops? The itinerary I see shows only 2 tendering. That we will be docked at Cozumel. We docked there with the Enchantment in Sept. also. I guess we will just have to wait and see! And you are right - if we do tender at 3 of the 4 stops! Thanks so much for all the information!!

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