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Shannon Ball

Age: 28

Occupation:Respiratory Therapist

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Sovereign of the Seas

Sailing Date: January 5, 2003

Itinerary: The Bahamas

I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. My wife, Cathy is planning a more in depth review and I’ll leave the details to her. I decided to write my own review, because opposites do attract and my opinions sometimes differ from hers. She pays much more attention to the ship than do I. I choose cruises based on ports of call and activities in port. The ship to me is sort of like a hotel / transportation on a conventional vacation ...its not the major reason I go on vacation but I want to stay somewhere nice.

THE SHIP: Yes, the SOS is old...however I saw no evidence that animals were traveling two-by-two. The ship was clean, but had a few dings, dents, and the like here and there (mostly from beds being moved around). The staterooms are tiny (if you want an idea of how small go take a nap in your closet). Ours was an outside ocean view, mid-ship deck 4. It was very convenient to get anywhere, and we felt little movement except on the way there and on the way back.

THE SERVICE: I was impressed that most everyone spoke English very well. Our stewardess kept the room neat and made towel animals each night. Room service was always on time or early. Everyone on board was helpful and friendly. Our wait staff in the dining room seemed to have a little difficulty with communication. Some folks at our table didn’t get everything they had ordered on a few occasions. One other small let down. Upon boarding we were told a cake would be delivered to our stateroom on the second night, compliments of the ship (it was our anniversary) It never materialized.

THE FOOD: In the dining room it was great! The Windjammer...lets just say I’d stick to the dining room if I had it to do over. On a couple of nights we were tired and didn’t want to go to the dining room. To our surprise we could order room service from the dining room menu (Carnival doesn’t do this) Food was great (they need about half an hour to get it to your door...which I thought was pretty good considering I ordered everything well done.) Try the chocolate rain forest cake! The chocolate buffet is another not to be missed offering.

THE ENTERTAINMENT:

Do not miss:
The Quest (quite possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever seen)
Newlywed...not so newlywed game show
Charlie Frye & Co. if they are in the Farewell Show.

THE PORTS:

Cocoa Cay is fabulous!!!!!! I went snorkeling for about three hours. I brought along my own equipment including a wet suit since the water was a little chilly...most folks didn’t use one. you can rent all equipment on the island. They have an underwater plane wreck, and shipwreck both pretty neat. I also saw a spotted eagle ray, stingrays, a puffer fish, and a couple of octopus in a cinderblock (past the plane wreck turn left and follow the rope about halfway to the rocks...may still be living there). A diving friend suggested we take along a can of cheeze-whiz and fed the fish...they loved it! It was like fish on crack! They got a little persistent at being fed and started pecking on our wet suits!! & They followed us back to the platform like a pack of little yellow wolves! I think we were set up! It was a lot of fun...I’m told fish are also fond of bananas. Needless to say the snorkeling is top notch!!!!! Plenty of hammocks and beach chairs, and the bar-b-que was good. This was the highlight of the trip. Here’s a few pictures of the highlights:

Nassau
I didn’t like. Next time I will either take an excursion or stay on the ship. It was very windy so we decided not to go snorkeling as we planned. We did do a little souvenir shopping. Nassau reminded me of a cross between Cozumel and Jamaica. Everywhere I turned someone wanting to give me an island tour, sell me a bracelet, or braid my wife’s hair. (male pattern baldness was the only thing that saved me from cornrows. ) Here is what I learned: Don’t stop for anyone on the street. Don’t let anyone put “free” bracelets on you, and don’t stray too far from crowds. If you want souvenirs try the T-Shirt Outlet or Old Nassau. We went to the straw market. Unless you like crowds, haggling over prices, and everyone yelling for you to “come make a deal” don’t go there. If you do go there keep your wallet/purse close to you.

OVERALL: It was a nice get away and I enjoyed it. For the price it was unbeatable. I would recommend the SOS for a quick get away but if this is a major vacation, first cruise, or special occasion I would probably suggest a newer ship. If I can help with more info. please drop me an e-mail.

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