Ken in Toronto
Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Sun Cruises
Sailing Date: January 25th, 2004
Itinerary: Island Calyso
Being our first cruise we don't know what to expect. This is a combined air flight + cruise package, 7 days. I was pleasantly surprised at how well organized and efficient the whole trip went!
the flight: the flight from Toronto to Montero Bay took 3 hrs and 40 minutes. check in was easy and fast, no problem at all. flight disembarkation was also very efficient. We got off the plane and was directed to the waiting shuttle bus which took us to the ship, about 1/2 hr drive. There was a short line up at the port security check, and we are on the ship. Then we waited about 15 minutes to get our pictures taken for the ship ID card and keys to our cabin. We left the Montero Bay airport at about 11 AM, and in our cabin by 12:30 PM. The checked luggage arrived around 4 PM. After checking out the cabin, we went for lunch at the Lido Cafe next to the pool. Food was terrific. We even had a couple of hours to look around the dockside gift shops before we got back to the ship for evening sailing.
1st day: At Sea . Being the first day, and first time on the ship; we spent the whole day exploring the ship. Being a relatively small ship (1200 passengers and 400 crew), it didn't take too long to get familiar with all the facilities: a ball room with a bar lounge, a theater where all the nightly shows are held, another bar lounge, a small casino, a piano lounge, a gift shop, a small wave pool, 2 sundecks, a promenade deck. One pleasant surprise was I did not get seasick which I was worried about since this is a first time cruise. The ship was quite stable, although we do feel the slight rocking motion under windy conditions.
Ports of Call:
2nd to the 5th day, ports of call included Santo Domingo, Tortola, St Maarten, Catalina Island. Santo Domingo was a very interesting city, good for shopping for amber jeweler. Tortola was not very exciting, downtown was somewhat rundown. Other people took the tour of some beaches and reported that they were beautiful. St Maarten was the shopping port, mainly jeweler and gold, prices were very good although we did not buy any....but lots of people did. It also has some very beautiful beaches. Catalina Island is a BBQ outing where the ship crew cooked a huge BBQ and the passengers get to spend a few hours on a magnificent beach!
Food and service: EXCELLENT! both are 1st class.
Cruise value for Money: a Bargain.
Shows: So-so, but what do you expect for the price.
activities on ship: not too much, could improve. Days at sea, I find to be boring.
Ports of Call: very good. But don't take any tours organized by the ship, they are overpriced. Better to get together with other passengers and hire local taxi.
Drinks: only tea and coffee is free, all others are extra. a Coke cost almost 1 lb (or almost $2.40 Cdn) Or you can purchase a all-you-can-drink package for 199 Lb per person ($240 CDN).
The ship and crew: Very friendly. That's the advantage of a smaller ship, cozy and nice, you get to bump into the same passengers often, and get to know some of the crew.
Overall experience: Terrific! No complaints about anything. Except, the next cruise I'll choose one with an itinerary that spend less time at sea (not much to do at sea).