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brent1865

Review AOS 9-25-04

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What a great trip! It was our Honeymoon and the week away was well deserved after planning and executing a wedding.

 

Sept 25th..Wedding day. All went well with the wedding. We got a call from a friend that works at Delta that our flight at 6:05 to Atlanta then onto San Juan was canceled. During the reception my mother and our travel agent spent half the night working on new travel for us. They succeeded, but we would have to got through JFK before heading down to PR.

 

Sept 26th. All went well with the flights and we arrived at the ship just 30 minutes before it was set to sail. All the RCI people were great and hurried us through check-in. WOW, is the only word that came to mind once we entered the ship and saw how huge yet beautiful she was. The first thing that caught my eye was the Royal Promenade. It was amazing that "Main St USA" could be built into a cruise ship. We made our way around the ship to get to know her but there was too much to do and it was getting late. After a drink at the Sports bar, and burgers, fries, and onion rings at Johnny Rockets we turned in for the night

 

Sept 27th. I might have forgot to mention that joining us on the cruise were Christy's sister and brother-in-law along for their anniversary. All 4 of us were up at 8 am for our first stop in St Thomas. We visited Sapphire beach and it was great. Not as beautiful as Megans Bay but hardly anyone there to disturb you. Megans Bay was crowded as was St Johns from what i heard. There were 3 ships in port..all with over 3,000 pax each. Did not do much shopping in San Juan but i heard prices have really gone up around there. We had a great taxi driver who took us all over the island and we got some great photos. Back to the ships and up a late lunch then a nap. That night we just hung out at the sports bar and played in the arcade (yes i am 27 but i like arcade games!). We tried Jesters Night Club, but all they were playing was Mexican music all week. I really think they should switch it up for some of the American cruisers.

 

Sept 28th St Marteen. Great island but the vendors are very pushy! We got 4 beach chairs, 2 floating mats, 2 umbrellas, and 4 drinks for $20.00. Couldn't beat that anywhere! We rented a wave runner for a hour and had a blast out in the beautiful waters. We did some shopping and the prices were pretty good. Christy got a fake Louis Vuitton bag for like $40.00 and i picked up some Marlbourgh lights for $9.50 a carton. Great place to but them if you or someone you know smokes. But be careful, you can bring back 5 cartons from this cruise, but 4 must be purchased on St Thomas and only one from any other place including the ship. Overall a good island i wish i would have had more time to explore it as this was my first time there.

 

Sept 29th Antigua. We did not get off on this port as we were total exhausted from the wedding and there was no sea day to start the cruise. We slept late and came alive around 11 or 12 that morning. Our counterparts did get off the ship and did some shopping but they were not really impressed with the island. On board we took advantage of a nearly empty ship to enjoy the hot tubs and pools.

 

Sept 30th St Lucia. This island only gets a ship once every 2 weeks at this time of year. the vendors are out for blood. We rented a taxi to tour the island. No that great to tell you the truth. I wish we would have made this another sea day. I know there are 2 sandals resorts on the island, but they must be tucked away somewhere where all the nice areas are. I really felt uncomfortable on the drive and was excited to get back to the ship.

 

Oct 1st Barbados. I loved this island. We went on an excursion "the Island drive and Green Monkey Encounter" this was great for anyone that like animals. After a tour of the island we went to the top of a mountain and there was a bar with a great view of all of Barbados. There was a little place where a women sold beads and trinkets, but she also had a monkey as a pet. It was neat to see it and play with it..but we were starting to get nervous that we were cheated out of our $44.00 if this was the only monkey we were going to see. Then we were told that we were going to the Barbados wildlife reserve. This was great! You get to walk thru the reserve. There are no animals that are going to hurt you running around. We saw tortoises and hares, and wild deer and even the elusive Green Monkey! They had all kinds of other animals in cages such as a 40 foot snake and alligators. This was really enjoyable and a great excursion if you had enough beach time by now. We went back to the ship and did some shopping at the shops by the ship. They were not pushy at all and had some good deals.

 

Oct 2nd Finally a sea day. We slept in again and made it a lazy day by the pool. Our friends did the art auction and we got some sun. Not an eventful day but fun overall.

 

Oct 3rd When i woke up in the am i heard chanting and went on my balcony to see what was going on. I could see a bunch of people walking in a circle in the dock area. I thought it was some looney animal rights people or some tree huggers that did not like us sailing the seas. we later found out that it was the dock workers. They decided to strike that morning. They would not allow baggage to be taken off the ship and even blocked the entrance so buses or taxis would not be able to get in to pick up the passengers. Now for my tirade!

This instance reaffirmed my hatred for unions. My father was in one and we suffered greatly every time his buddies decided to strike. Not only were these people holding up 3 cruise ships from turning over their passengers, they messed up flights for all of us on board. For all of you that say unions are great, how many jobs have they forced to go outside of this country because they want people who put together dolls to earn $25.00 an hour? hey are the cause for the decline of the industrial base in this country..period. No one the make pants for a living should make more on the hour than someone with a masters degree in business.

 

Ok, so we got off the ship and had to wait along with thousands of others to get their fights reorganized. Instead of arriving back in Cincinnati at 4 we got back in at midnight. Some people on board were blaming RCI, others were screaming at the dock workers from the promenade deck. It was a very long day for thousands of people thanks to a couple dozen greedy workers.

 

A couple of things about this cruise and the ship.

 

1)The ship is too big for its own good. While we really thought it was great there is too much to do and you feel overwhelmed at times. We are anxious to try a Radiance Class next.

 

2)They need to keep the hot tubs open longer. Its nice to sit in one after dinner and relax but they would only have 1 open on the pool deck and 1 in the solarium at night. they would have 4 closed for some reason.

 

3)The food at Portofinos, the main dinning room ant Johnny Rockets was great. Portofinos is worth the extra money if you can swing it. Room service seems to be limited although they were quick if you tip them. I do not think room service is used to being tipped on this cruise as i would have to chase them down after they dropped off the food in the room. I was looked at like i was crazy for wanting to give them $2.00as a tip. There must be a lot of people that do not tip that cruise this ship regularly. After word got out we got our food in what seemed like minutes. The breakfast buffet was good..lunch and afternoon snack was well below par, but the dinner in there was pretty good. Overall i would give the food a B

 

4) I heard before i went that there was problems with the Puerto Ricans on this ship. I had no problem with them at all. If i had to guess i would say they were 70% of the population on board. The kids were a little unruly, but that is to be expected with any kids. The ship is geared towards the Spanish language and the night clubs and music is mostly in the Spanish tongue. I understand this but i did feel a little out of place at some events and unfortunately that will most probably keep me from sailing from San Juan again. I was upset at the prices the locals paid compared to what i paid. That is what is ridiculous. I do not know how RCCL stays afloat out of that port if 70% are paying 60% less than i did not including airfare. And i thought i had a deal!

 

5)The shows were mixed. The ice show was great. I really enjoyed all the work that they did to put on a great performance on such a small ice rink. The comedy shows were good. The RCCL singers and dancers were not that great. They were off on the singing and the dancing. I was rather disappointed. The cruise director was great as usual.

 

Overall i would give this cruise a B+..if it wasn't my honeymoon it would have gotten a C to a C+. If you have any particular questions please let me know and i will do my best to answer them for you.

 

thanks,

Brent1865

Cincinnati Oh

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Nice to read your review, we did this as a honeymoon cruise as well (heard there were 176 honeymooners onboard). We had a bad ending due to the strike and had to spend a night in Puerto Rico. I just have some comments to make about your reviews as well:

 

St. Thomas - we did Godfrey's tour, Meagan's Bay looked spectaular but we chose Sapphire Beach as well. Great beach, warm water, not crowded at all. I enjoyed Godfrey's tour and the prices in St. Thomas were good.

 

 

St. Maarten - did not make it to Orient Beach as we planned, this is an island I would love to visit again on a land vacation. The shopping prices were excelllent and even though Front Street was being repaired, we spend alot of time in the shops.

 

 

Antigua - booked Lawrence of Antigua but missed him as we got off the ship late. We got another taxi tour which cost us $15.00US a person (great deal Lawrence was $25.00). The tour was enjoyable, we went to Nelson's Dockyard, Shirely's Heights and the Interpretation Center, all sites I have been to before but my husband had not. After that the taxi dropped us off at Miller's Beach which was a nice beach but not one of Antigua's best. Pineapple Beach gets my vote for best beach, I visited Antigua before so I have been to several beaches.

 

St. Lucia - we planned on this being a sea day, but we ventured off the boat and took a local bus to Reduit Beach. We relaxed there for a while, rented beach chairs and umbrella for $12.00US and then made our way back to the ship.

 

Barbados - we arrived and it was raining, we again left the ship took a local bus and made our way to Paynes Bay. Fabulous beach, there were only six people there. We made use a hotel's beach chairs for free, had refreshments at a resturant set up on the beach and swam in crystal clear waters, bright sunshine and white sand.

 

 

Sea Day - we did alot this day, we went ice skating for half an hour, after which we visited the art auction and had some free champagne. We went up to the pool deck afterwards to check out the belly flop contest, then had lunch and relaxed at the pool after lunch. Before they closed my husband went rock climing, he didn't make it to the top however but he enjoyed it nevertheless.

 

1) The ship is big, but I loved that about it. With the ship close to full proximity we never felt crowded and could always find some nook to be alone if we wanted or to be where the action was. I love the prommenade, it was nice to take a stroll there, have a cup of coffee, sit at the pub or just check out the shops.

 

 

2) I found breakfast at Windjammer to get repetitive after a while so we went to Vivaldi and had breakfast there a few days for a change of pace. Dinner was always excellent, we had a great waiter and he always advised on a good selection.We missed lunch a few days being off the ship, afternoon tea/snacks were adequate, we didn't really eat much in the afternoon. I enjoyed the chips and salsa for some reason they were very good.

 

3) There were something like 800 Puerto Ricans onboard and some activities like the latin party and latin parade were geared towards them. I found them to be amusing, they were always friendly, dressed to the hilt with matching accessories, a bit loud at times but always seemed to be having a good time. We went to Jester's and found they played a range of music,Friday night had a great party and up until the time we were there they played retro music and I did not hear any latin music.

 

4) Pools and hot tubs we didn't use too much of, we visited a different beach everyday in port. We spent alot of time exploring the ship and ooking at the sunset on the deck every afternoon.

 

5) I agree the ice show was great, I also liked the Velvet Rope show and Can't Stop the Rock, sure the dancers were a bit off at times but the singers did a great job.We didn't go the comedy show nor did we check out the headliner, which was one of the guys from the Monkees.

 

 

Overall we had a fabulous time I was worried we would not have time to enjoy our honeymoon "alone" with all the people and acitivites, but we asked for and got a table for two for dinner which made dinner special for us. However, I didn't like the way Royal Caribbean handled the strike issue, we were made to believe all ships were affected when in fact both Carnival and Princess were not, the strike was against Royal Caribbean for a breech of contract.

 

We ended up missing our flight back home with the prospect of paying for a ticket back home, thankfully AA was very co-operatvie and made new bookings at no extra cost. We did have to spend the night in Puerto Rico, and I wonder how the tourist information at the airport could recommend such a dingy hotel and call it a 3 star!! When we tried to leave the hotel they informed us we could but they would charge our credit card, we ended up staying at the hotel rationalising it was only for one night and we could not possibly go wandering around at night looking for another hotel. iN retrospect IF I ever go on a cruise again, I would book a post cruise hotel and leave the next day.

 

I would give the cruise experience a A- , but post cruise an F.

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Nice to read your review, we did this as a honeymoon cruise as well (heard there were 176 honeymooners onboard). We had a bad ending due to the strike and had to spend a night in Puerto Rico. I just have some comments to make about your reviews as well:

 

St. Thomas - we did Godfrey's tour, Meagan's Bay looked spectaular but we chose Sapphire Beach as well. Great beach, warm water, not crowded at all. I enjoyed Godfrey's tour and the prices in St. Thomas were good.

 

 

St. Maarten - did not make it to Orient Beach as we planned, this is an island I would love to visit again on a land vacation. The shopping prices were excelllent and even though Front Street was being repaired, we spend alot of time in the shops.

 

 

Antigua - booked Lawrence of Antigua but missed him as we got off the ship late. We got another taxi tour which cost us $15.00US a person (great deal Lawrence was $25.00). The tour was enjoyable, we went to Nelson's Dockyard, Shirely's Heights and the Interpretation Center, all sites I have been to before but my husband had not. After that the taxi dropped us off at Miller's Beach which was a nice beach but not one of Antigua's best. Pineapple Beach gets my vote for best beach, I visited Antigua before so I have been to several beaches.

 

St. Lucia - we planned on this being a sea day, but we ventured off the boat and took a local bus to Reduit Beach. We relaxed there for a while, rented beach chairs and umbrella for $12.00US and then made our way back to the ship.

 

Barbados - we arrived and it was raining, we again left the ship took a local bus and made our way to Paynes Bay. Fabulous beach, there were only six people there. We made use a hotel's beach chairs for free, had refreshments at a resturant set up on the beach and swam in crystal clear waters, bright sunshine and white sand.

 

 

Sea Day - we did alot this day, we went ice skating for half an hour, after which we visited the art auction and had some free champagne. We went up to the pool deck afterwards to check out the belly flop contest, then had lunch and relaxed at the pool after lunch. Before they closed my husband went rock climing, he didn't make it to the top however but he enjoyed it nevertheless.

 

1) The ship is big, but I loved that about it. With the ship close to full proximity we never felt crowded and could always find some nook to be alone if we wanted or to be where the action was. I love the prommenade, it was nice to take a stroll there, have a cup of coffee, sit at the pub or just check out the shops.

 

 

2) I found breakfast at Windjammer to get repetitive after a while so we went to Vivaldi and had breakfast there a few days for a change of pace. Dinner was always excellent, we had a great waiter and he always advised on a good selection.We missed lunch a few days being off the ship, afternoon tea/snacks were adequate, we didn't really eat much in the afternoon. I enjoyed the chips and salsa for some reason they were very good.

 

3) There were something like 800 Puerto Ricans onboard and some activities like the latin party and latin parade were geared towards them. I found them to be amusing, they were always friendly, dressed to the hilt with matching accessories, a bit loud at times but always seemed to be having a good time. We went to Jester's and found they played a range of music,Friday night had a great party and up until the time we were there they played retro music and I did not hear any latin music.

 

4) Pools and hot tubs we didn't use too much of, we visited a different beach everyday in port. We spent alot of time exploring the ship and ooking at the sunset on the deck every afternoon.

 

5) I agree the ice show was great, I also liked the Velvet Rope show and Can't Stop the Rock, sure the dancers were a bit off at times but the singers did a great job.We didn't go the comedy show nor did we check out the headliner, which was one of the guys from the Monkees.

 

 

Overall we had a fabulous time I was worried we would not have time to enjoy our honeymoon "alone" with all the people and acitivites, but we asked for and got a table for two for dinner which made dinner special for us. However, I didn't like the way Royal Caribbean handled the strike issue, we were made to believe all ships were affected when in fact both Carnival and Princess were not, the strike was against Royal Caribbean for a breech of contract.

 

We ended up missing our flight back home with the prospect of paying for a ticket back home, thankfully AA was very co-operatvie and made new bookings at no extra cost. We did have to spend the night in Puerto Rico, and I wonder how the tourist information at the airport could recommend such a dingy hotel and call it a 3 star!! When we tried to leave the hotel they informed us we could but they would charge our credit card, we ended up staying at the hotel rationalising it was only for one night and we could not possibly go wandering around at night looking for another hotel. iN retrospect IF I ever go on a cruise again, I would book a post cruise hotel and leave the next day.

 

I would give the cruise experience a A- , but post cruise an F.

 

Firstly congrats on your wedding! Secondly glad you enjoyed your honeymoon!

 

Denyse/Caribbean Diva.

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thanks to both of you for all the detail. I'm going in march and will do the same.

 

Did you do any kareokee??

 

Glen

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