Caribbean Cruise Vacation Review

We just got back from a wonderful cruise to the Caribbean with Royal Caribbean Cruises. We sailed on their ship Navigator of the Seas, which stopped in Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Mexico.

Our vacation started on January 31, 2015. We left home and flew on US Airways for the first time. I was a bit sceptical at first because most of my recent experiences with U.S. airlines have been underwhelming. We were pleasantly surprised to find that our plane left on time and we made the connection on time. The US Airways crew and airport staff were friendly, plus the captain made an effort to keep us in the loop of our flight schedule.

After landing in Houston, we checked into the Houston Airport Marriott. On the plus side, the staff was very accommodating. We arrived at the hotel pretty much right as the kitchen was about to close. They still made us food and delivered it to our room. It was a great example of customer service, which numerous places seem to let fall by the wayside nowadays. The only thing we weren’t impressed with was the room. It was a bit dated, it definitely needed a revamp. It was a good place to stay overnight, but a bit overpriced.

Next up was the transfer to the cruise ship. It was easy to find. The staff was very helpful regarding keeping everyone organized and answering any questions we had regarding the bus. The bus itself was average, but thankfully it did have a restroom on board.

At the Port of Galveston, the security , check-in and boarding process went smoothly. The staff were friendly and helpful. It was mainly the other passengers that made things a little chaotic. One thing to note if you are going on a cruise, check-in before leaving and print your tags with your ship cabin number on them. This will save time at port.

The ship itself was great. We had a balcony room that was lovely. The individual who took care of our room introduced himself the first day and went over the cleaning schedule with us. I found it nice to know who would be taking care of us. Plus any time we saw any of the crew they were always friendly and greeted us. It made me feel welcomed. The ship was very clean.

During the cruise we spent a majority of our time relaxing and didn’t do much of the shows or group events. The music on board from what we heard sounded pretty good. There were different lounges that provided a different varieties of music. There was also a night club on the 14th floor that always seemed to be hopping.

For relaxation we checked out the adults only pool area, which was great. It had two whirlpools and one swimming pool in this area and numerous lounge chairs. We also spend some time at the casino. The casino had quite a few different slot machines and card tables. Plus they seemed to always have contests going for the guests. The only downside of the casino is that they could use a larger non-smoking area.

For people interested in shopping, which I don’t really think is too important since most of it can be done on-line, there are a few stores on-board to buy name brand items. Mostly purses, jewellery, watches, perfume and make-up. Wait until the last full day of the cruise to buy items, everything goes on sale then.

The food on the ship varied depending on where you went. We mainly stuck to the speciality restaurants for lunch and dinner. We didn’t even get a chance to try the main dining room. We did go to the buffet twice and weren’t impressed with the food. The first night that we were on-board we went to Chops Grille. Both the food and the service was excellent. We did plan on going there again, but we found Sabor the next night. Sabor is an amazing Mexican restaurant. So amazing, that we ate there three nights of the cruise. We had the same waiter each time we went. I honestly don’t think I can eat Mexican food for awhile, as it probably would pale in comparison. We also went to Izumi, the Japanese restaurant on-board. The sushi and rolls were amazing. The service was good as well. The only thing we weren’t really a fan of was the hot rock dish. Next time we would just stick with the sushi and rolls. The last night we went to Giovanni’s Table. The only thing that was good there was the dessert. All in all, we weren’t too impressed with the food there. A bonus for all of these restaurants is that there was a fairly good selection of gluten free items. Plus, the people working in the restaurants were very knowledgeable regarding what was gluten free, if they were unsure they would check with the chef. Johnny Rocket’s and Ben & Jerry’s were also on our list of most frequented places. Both were yummy.

Regarding the Caribbean itself, I don’t think we will be going back any time soon. Just not our thing. We were not able to stop at our scheduled port in Jamaica and ended up going to another port, Montego Bay. We got off of the ship for all of ten minutes, just to pick up rum. There didn’t seem to be anything within walking distance and we didn’t want to try to book another shore excursion at the last minute. We didn’t really mind, we had lots of time that day at the pool which was pretty empty since everyone was on shore. Our next stop was the Grand Cayman, which was the best stop of the cruise. It was very clean and the people were friendly. We went to see turtles and stingrays on our shore excursion. For those interested it is the Turtle,Stingray Land and Sea Adventure. This was an awesome tour. We got to feed the turtles and get our picture taken with the turtles. It would have been nice to spend a bit more time there. After the turtles we went to see the Stingrays and got to go in the sea with them. It was fabulous. They were swimming all over and we got our pictures taken with them, plus we got a chance to feed them. I highly recommend this tour. The last place we stopped was Cozumel, Mexico. We went on a shore excursion where we learned to make salsas. This was a fun excursion. As far as shopping it was all over-priced and most of the items I can buy through Etsy if I want items handmade for a better price. The people seemed to be a little pushy in Mexico when it came to selling items. All in all, if we went back to the Caribbean it would be to stay in the Grand Cayman.

The day we arrived back in Galveston was a bit crazy. Getting off the ship was a bit hectic. There didn’t seem to be enough staff to assist everyone. Plus they assumed everyone was either a U.S. citizen and lived in Texas. So there weren’t many lines for those holding foreign passports. The line for the shuttles was complete chaos and we didn’t leave on time. They definitely could have used better organization. That was the biggest downside of the cruise.

Our flight back was great. We flew United and I was a bit worried as my previous experiences with them haven’t been the greatest. They were very helpful though. They moved our flight a day earlier, plus we were able to get seats sitting together. Their staff were great.

All in all, it was a great trip.

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