I thought Iâ€™d wrap up the review with a list of things I did and didnâ€™t like about the cruise. It might be useful to some, although Iâ€™m sure â€˜regularâ€™ folk would have a different take on it than nerdy folks like us. [Well, *Iâ€™m* not nerdy. Itâ€™s just the rest of my family that is! ;-p ]
Things I liked about the cruise
The staff was very friendly. I only had a brief encounter with the reception desk, and they seemed a little less friendly, but thatâ€™s probably because theyâ€™re harassed all the time. The staff managing the excursion desk were enthusiastic, and tried to be as accommodating as possible. Thereâ€™s almost a 3 to 1 staff to guest ratio, which is impressive.
The cabins were very comfortable. Even for a bigger guy like Reid, we only felt cramped when all four of us were hanging out in one cabin. The shower was small, but somehow, Reid found that comfortable, too. And the water pressure on the shower was strong, which was nice.
I had heard some bad reviews of the food, but we found it to be quite adequate. Because of my food restrictions, we spent a lot of time at the buffet, which did get a little boring by the end of the week. We were pretty happy with it. Our expectations werenâ€™t too, too high. Reid, Michael and Ronnie had Teppanyaki one night, and they really liked it.
The singing/dancing troupe was fantastic. I hadnâ€™t expected them to be all that good, so perhaps they simply exceeded my expectations. They put on shows every other night, and I didnâ€™t miss a single one. Iâ€™m not sure Reid was as impressed, so there you go.
There was lots of entertainment plannedâ€¦ for the most part, it wasnâ€™t the kind of entertainment for us, but they did try really hard by offering lots different things. (After all, thereâ€™s no pleasing most in my family unless they put on some ultra-techie entertainment, and where would we get that other than on geek-cruises?) Ronnie really enjoyed the show on hypnosis, and the sushi-making session. I enjoyed the game-shows, and evening shows by the dance troupe. None of us were into the sports stuff, self-improvement lectures, or wild parties (celebrations for St. Patrickâ€™s day, and a â€˜New Years Eveâ€™ party). I missed a historical lecture on pirates, unfortunately.
Things I didnâ€™t like about the cruise
I didnâ€™t like the feeling of getting nickeled and dimed to death.
We had to pay for pop (~$2.00 USD per glass!! Isnâ€™t that bar prices??) Only tea, iced tea, coffee and water were free. They claim you canâ€™t bring your own food or drinks on board (I ignored that as far as food went. I never go without some food to such places due to my restrictive diet). They DO x-ray your luggage every time you come back on board at each port (for security reasons), so Iâ€™m not sure if you can sneak bottles of drinks back with you. We would have if Reid could find diet coke at the ports, but he could only find coke-light, which he claimed didnâ€™t taste right.
The excursions were very expensive and added up incredibly for a family of four (For example, the cheapest was the 20 minute tender (boat ride) from the ship to/from the Belize island was $39 per person).
There were lots of restaurants on the ship, but many of them required you pay extra per person. For example, the Japanese and Steak restaurant were $20 extra per person. The Italian restaurant was less, $10 or $15 per person. We didnâ€™t think much of it at first, but we did by end of week.
They really pushed buying Evian water on your way off the ship. I refused to pay for it, and tried to fill my own bottles of water, which didnâ€™t fit in any of the water dispensers (sized for glasses). But Reid found a fountain on the jogging deck, so we managed.
There was far too much emphasis on buying jewelry, both on the ship and at the ports. Jeez. Lectures on jewelry, deals on jewelry, tables of jewelry at various locations on the ship, and so on. If I wanted to get deals on jewelry, a cruise would be the last place I would think of going.
A few final words
Whew! Canâ€™t believe how long it took me to get this review together. How on earth do you bloggers out there do it?? I think I left out half of what I had wanted to remember about it. My hatâ€™s off to writers out there. So glad Iâ€™m not one!!