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Old 03-19-2007, 10:20 AM
nc liz nc liz is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 19
Hi Peter1,
OK, here goes! Cover is $20/person for Portofino and is well worth it. The service is impeccable and food was first class. They have their own kitchen and it is prepared as ordered. If you want to reserve a night or two or three, I would do so when you arrive on the ship, as it fills up.
Chankanaab was completely destroyed by Hurricane Wilma a year and a half ago (as was most of the area). I was not sure what to expect, but they have rebuilt it and it is gorgeous. Everything is brand new and clean. The beach goes on forever. There isn't much of a reef there, but the snorkeling was fun. My hubby said he felt like he was in a big aquarium. We saw a school of squid, which I had never seen before. I think the thing that amazed me was how pleasant everyone was. Their industry was devasted and this is the first year the Spring Breakers are back. They go out of their way to make sure you enjoy yourselves.
Did the reef snorkel and beach break in Belize. It was great. The snorkel boat picks you up right from the ship, so you don't have to mess with the long tender ride. We have two teenagers and they didn't want to do anything that was going to result in hours of traveling, hence the cave tubing and Mayan ruins were out. I heard the deep sea fishing was terrible. 30 miles out on a 28 foot center console boat (no shade) only to catch a couple of grouper and then 30 miles back....yuck!
Did the power snorkel in Costa Maya, which was so-so. Great concept, but not enough equipment for everyone, so you had to go in shifts. 30-40 minute bumpy ride on a bus too.
Did the two stop Snorkel and Sting Ray City in Grand Cayman, which is a must. The snorkeling was great and the Stingrays were just an unbelievable experience.
As a note of caution, on Costa Maya, one of the tour groups was late coming back. The ship waited a good half an hour for them. If you are not going to book a shore excursion through RCI, make sure you allow yourself ample time to make it back. Also, book your shore excursions on line!!!! You have to do so at least 10 days out, but the line was huge at the shore excursion desk and many people were disappointed when the excursion they wanted was sold out.
So, I guess I've gone on enough. What is so great about this ship, is it is huge, so there is tons to do, but there are so many separate areas that you don't feel you are with 3000 other people, with the exception of perhaps the dining room (and even that is separated into three). But, there really is no way to feed that many people without it feeling rather assembly lineish.
Oh, one other thing. On your days at sea, if you want a lounge chair in the sun, take your towel and your book and reserve one early. I know they say you aren't supposed to, but EVERYBODY does, and then you are stuck searching for one to open up.
Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. You will have a blast!

NC Liz