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Mary Coolman

Age: 40


Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Sovereign of the Seas

Sailing Date: June 20th, 2005

Itinerary: Bahamas

My traveling companions consisted of My Father, and his wife, both mid-70's, my husband, 48, myself, 40, and my daughters, 5 and 6. (I tell you this because everyone has different likes and dislikes when they travel)

Pre-cruise-We drove across the state and it took about 3 hrs. We drove separate vehicles to keep everyone as sane as possible! 5 yr old went with grandparents, 6 yr old stayed with us. (possible motion sickness- 1/2 a Dramamine, and she slept the whole way!) We arrived in Cocoa Beach around 1pm, and checked in to the Holiday Inn Express. It was lovely! My dad and his wife have stayed there before, and it is practically brand spankin' new! Our rooms weren't ready yet, but after some looking around, they had our rooms ready for us. Our accommodations were a suite which consisted of a large back room with king bed, desk, and entertainment armoire. Connecting the 2 rooms was a short hallway with bathroom on one side, and sink, micro, and fridge on the other. In the front room there was a pullout couch and a chair, dresser, and coffee table, and another TV. Dad and Stepmom had 2 queen beds.

The kids loved it, and they especially liked the pool, and Jacuzzi off of the lobby! Also in part of the lobby is a breakfast bar, with a large screen flat TV. After swimming, we went to dinner at Beef O'Bradys. There are several places to eat or shop within walking distance. Also the beach and pier are close by. After dinner, we parted ways with Papa and Granny, and went for a walk on the beach and Pier. Coming from a beach community- it seemed to me that Cocoa Beach was a tad more laid back than Clearwater. We had a nice time. 5 yr old fell in the water, and we all laughed, but she was fine walking around with a soggy hiney! Then it was back to the hotel, and to bed for us. My kids drain the life out of me, and we were all tired.

Cruise Day- We woke up and DH took girls to swim. I took a shower, and tried to get my act together. I finally went down to the breakfast bar, and had some coffee and a muffin. They had several things there, from breads and bagels you toast yourself to sweets, to cereal to oatmeal and fresh fruit, and juices. Very clean, and nice assortment!

We arrived at Pt. Canaveral Port Authority around 11:00. The rest of you always say how easy embarkation is, but this is where I was confused. You drive around a loop, and pull up behind other cars. As they unload, and move forward, a "director of traffic" tells you which lane to pull into. You had better make sure at this point that everything you want to put in your luggage is in your luggage. (I wanted to get some toys out of my Dad's car and put them in outside pockets in a suitcase. Not a good idea. Time is ticking, people are behind you, you hold up the whole process by messing with stuff. Then I didn't know if that was where I went into the building with the carry-on bags. Get out here, or farther down the building? Remember, I have two little girls, and things are a little hectic. No one was around to ask. I hopped back in the car, and told DH to step on the gas!

We went down the length of the building and I had him drop us off there. That too, was incorrect. So carrying alot of stuff, and holding hands, and keeping an eye on step mother, we tromped to the very end of the building. To where it said 'Port Authority Entrance' Amazing, isn't it? So I lead my entourage into the building, and stand in line. This line goes through security checks, so I get out of line to wait for the men-folk. I am then told that we cannot wait there for security purposes. So I get back to the end of the line, and began again. We went through all the machines, and then up the escalator to the ticketing area. I was looking over the railing to look for the guys, and I was told I couldn't stand by the railing for security reasons. Ok. Then I sat in the area I was allowed to sit in, and waited for the men to show up. Which they did. We then got in line. Decks 5 and up on the left, the rest on the right. Check in was fairly painless, except for the fact that my two darling monsters got into an argument, and started yelling at each other, and becoming uncooperative. Apparently, I was the only one who could discipline them, so after I was trying to listen to what was said, and handing over the proper documents, and answering questions, I pulled the girls aside, and put the FEAR OF GOD into them. We boarded without any further problems. I realized that this was a confusing experience for my little people, but nice manners, are nice manners. (As I would continue to remind them throughout the cruise)

Once onboard- We looked around a bit, and then I decided to try something I read on one of these boards. I barged my way through closed doors and found my cabin, (and steward- found me, and said to come back at 1) and I begged her to just let me drop off my stuff, and that we would get right out. As I looked into her eyes, I saw the face of a Saint, and she nodded her head. She must be a mother. Her name is Lavern, and that was not the last time she was so kind to us. Oh, and I was in a hurry to get out, but I couldn't help but be completely shocked by the size of the room. Man! I had seen pictures on the net, but my goodness, all the pictures make the rooms look bigger than they actually are!!!! I hightailed it out of there, and tried to process the fact that not only did this family of 4 have to stay in that room together, we had to have a GOOD TIME staying in that room.
We went up to the Windjammer for lunch, and met up with my Dad. It as fine. We were all just so excited to be on the ship, that we knew we would have a good time. Then Dad's wife went to the restroom, and fell on a wet floor. Not even onboard an hr, and she got hurt! She banged her knee, and her arm, and she was pretty shaken up, but no broken bones, thank goodness. She later complained, and went to the ship's Dr, and had x-rays taken. RCCL took great care of her! So, while she was sore the whole cruise, her injuries did not impede her gambling abilities! LOL! Please just promise me you will be careful in the Windjammer bathrooms!

Family time- We spent a lot of time swimming in the pools with the girls. I didn't have to get in with them if they stayed on the kiddie side. (about 2 ft)- but we did have to go in with them if they went to the "big people side". It was about 6 ft, and no gradation. My girls can swim pretty well for tots, but if someone accidentally jumped on them, or kicked them, they might swallow water, and go down. So we made sure to always be with them in the water when they were on the deep side. (and I'm not crazy about chlorinated salt water) In addition to the pools, there are 2 Jacuzzis that seemed constantly full of preteens, and teens. (eww) The one time DH and I saw a herd leave, and jumped in, we sat there for 15 minutes waiting for it to turn on. NO controls that we could find...just magically turn on and off, I guess. If anyone has the secret, please let me know! In the course of our Jacuzzi time, ours filled up with two 20yr old girls from Plant City- who were so nice, and older woman, and a geeky teenaged boy. We had a great time chatting, and getting to know one another!

Shows- We really didn't go to many shows. Because we were up every am by 8:00, we were pretty tired by 11pm. We went to 2 shows- Love and Marriage, and the singer/comedian following. Both were hilarious! Especially the L and M show because my co-worker and her husband were in it! (I found out and booked the cruise through her church- her husband is the pastor) Now I know more about my friend and her marriage than I ever wanted to know!!!! I think doughnuts every Friday would be a way for me to keep my mouth shut at work...LOL! Anyway, both DH and I laughed so hard at both shows, and really enjoyed ourselves!

Itinerary- The captain came over head on Tues. am- stating that some storms were coming our way, and he had decided to skip Coco Cay for that day, and go straight to Nassau, and spend and extra day there, and that we would hit Coco Cay on the way back on Thursday. No one had a problem with that! (that I heard, anyway)

Nassau- I'm not big on being herded around like cattle, so I don't like to go with the majority much. When we landed in Nassau, we took our time getting off the boat. We went swimming again, and explored, shopped, etc. We finally got off around 2:30, and took the girls on a horse and buggy ride. This is ideal if you have children who tend to whine when you walk around a lot. It was only about a 1/2 hour, but the girls loved it, and each got a chance to "steer." Shawn was our guide, and he pointed out points of interest, and explained the History of Nassau. They drive crazy there! Not only on the left, but CRAZY! It was fun, and got us all excited to see more of Nassau! (10$ per adult, 5$ per kid) Then we went shopping. We went to all kinds of shops, go up the alleys, and you find some really charming stores. It was nice to look at the things, but unless I wanted to spend ALOT of $, I pretty much stuck with souvenirs. The girls got whiney, and we were a sweatin'- so we decided to head back to the pier. The hair-braiding "pimps" were a tad annoying- but we were just polite, and said "not right now, thank you"-We did get a couple of braids per girlie right before we went back onboard. They still have them, and its been 6 days.

The next day, we dumped the Whiney-twins at Adventure Ocean, and we went on the RCCL tour of Nassau and Paradise Island. Just DH and I. (Dad and SM went over to Atlantis to gamble) On your ticket it says disembark on deck 1, and look for the signs. We did not see any signs. We finally asked a RCL employee, and he said to wait by the palm trees. We later saw a gentleman CARRYING a sign for 2 tours. When it was time to go, we lined up in two different lines, and marched behind this man holding up a sign. It was too funny! Then we hit town and we divided up and got into taxis (mini-vans) each taxi holds around 12 people. The van was air conditioned, and the guide was charming, and the tour was interesting! I liked it! We went to Ft. Charlotte, and Ft. Fincastle, also the Queen's Staircase (which was beautiful) and all around town, and ended up at the Atlantis. We got off the tour there, thinking that we would meet up with my dad and his wife, and do something, but when we found them, they had been gambling all day and were hungry. They had to get back on ship for the free lunch. (OK- they can gamble all day, but can't grab some food there, because its not free?) So they left, and DH and I walked all over Atlantis. We walked through the Casino (we just aren't gamblers-Ya can't really gamble with daycare $!) and we walked through the aquariums, and we walked out to the pool and beach areas. Everthing was just spectacular! I could spend like the rest of my life there! Oh, to be rich! My feet were beginning to hurt, and I was feeling the guilt of leaving the girls, so we made our way back to the boat.

Coco Cay- the next am, we were anchored off of CCC. It was a wonderful, hot day.

The tender was painless, they sure do pack people on! When we got there, we found some chairs, and went exploring. (Dad and SM said they would meet us there sometime, they can't take much heat. [stepmother's hair can't take the humidity] They said they were there, but didn't see us) We rented a float for 10$, (there are trampoline thingys that hold 2+ people that you can rent for 15$- we didn't figure that out until later) We swam, and kicked our float out to an orange marker and back, and looked through the shops, and ate some of the BBQ they had. It was fine, but it was so warm, that none of us had a big appetite. WE then put the chicas in Adventure Ocean CCC style, and went and bought T-shirts for them (and me) to put on. I kept everyone slathered up, but the sun was brutal! We took the shirts over, and the girls were having a blast playing in big puddles they make with a hose- and making sand castles. Then DH and I were prepared to relax! I swam with hubby for a bit, then got out to let him float, and I read my book for a bit. I took the camera out to take a pic of DH floating in a lagoon, turned it on, the lens popped out, but the camera wouldn't turn on ...or off. So the fairly new camera broke. I thought it was perhaps the batteries, but it wasn't. Darnit! I went back in the water, and swam hubby and broke the bad news to him. We came back to the chairs, he played with the camera (No luck) and we got the girls, let them swim a bit more, and then went back to the boat. We were full of sand, and those showers in your room are really hard to maneuver with children who need assistance, so I suggested that we all go swimming in the pool. Of course that was just fine with the daughters. There were not very many people there, so it was nice to just play with our kids, and I believe we had some kind of frothy drink! I left and went back to shower for dinner without the annoyance of 3 other people in a 6 ft area- and then DH brought kiddos in to shower and get ready for dinner. We met dad and SM at Windjammers, and that night, I could not find much for the girls to eat. I found some mashed potatoes they liked, but even those have a bunch of parsley in them, and I have to convince the girls that they are not "spicy". There was this wonderful woman in Windjammers named Maria- and she too, came to our rescue more than once! She would grab one of my plates, and make suggestions, and bring us bread and all of our drinks. She would ask the chef to make french fries for the girls...she was extraordinary! (She has a special roommate. She is married to the head bartender!)

Just one more comment- I have a million things to do- Adventure Ocean was great! The counselors were very friendly, and my girls had a blast. We took the time to chat with them, and they with us, and they really seemed to like their jobs, and play with the kids! I highly recommend AO, at least for my kid's ages!
Ok- I'm done. Please feel free to email me with any questions you may have, and I hope your next cruise is a great one!


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