We just returned from the Voyager of the Seas on her first trip to Belize City, Costa Maya and then on to Cozumel and Grand Cayman.
EMBARKATION: We arrived at the Port Terminal about 10:30am on Sunday. We are from Colorado so we always stay the night before due to air flight schedules and being able to make the ship from Denver same day. We had done our paperwork on the Royal Caribbean web site and we always bring a copy of it just in case. Embarkation was a breeze and we were onboard and in our room around 11:30am. We had been on voyager class before so only the names of the areas were changed but the layout was exactly the same. The ship was decorated for Christmas beautifully with Christmas trees in public areas and the stairwells draped with garland and bows.
ITINERARY: The itinerary for this cruise was Belize City, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Grand Cayman. While in embarkation we were notified that the new tenders were unable to get into Belize City due to storms in the gulf so we would have as our first port....Nassau. Really didn't care either way. We had been to Nassau in January and so decided to stay on the ship and just relax by the pool and public areas. Late morning wakeup and then breakfast in Windjammer. A liesurely day by the pool and then a nap and dinner with the evening singing in Schooner Bar with Steve Hiess. Great entertainer and all around nice guy!
Costa Maya is a small (really small port with shops, public beach area which is really small, an amphitheatre area, volley ball area, a beach area, and shopping was very expensive, food was expensive, but the sun was free and so was the beach chair and hammock so we opted to just sun and watch the surf and nap. We were really disappointed in this port. I realize that it is just now being developed I would advise anyone going to this port (at least for now) to use this as a napping and sunning port maybe with lunch.
Cozumel was a shopping mecca for some but we again decided to skip snorkeling and shopping as we have been in this port prior and decided to have lunch in Carlos and Charlies and found ourselves there most of the afternoon people watching and meeting folks from other ships in the port. We returned to the ship early in order to take in some of the sports on board while everyone else was in port. If power shopping is your game then this port is right up your alley.
Grand Cayman: WHAT A GREAT DAY! We took our snorkel gear and walked off the pier turned right and walked about 200 yards (just past the subs)down the street to the Paradise Reef and Cafe (the building has a purple roof). Nice reef for snorkeling and LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF FISH!!!!!! Some of the nicest snorkeling I have done in a long time and the beach area which is small was free and included a chair for each of us. I decided to lunch there and I highly recommend the Conch. It was delicious and not real pricey. $16.95 I recall and that included conch, french fries, and coleslaw. More than enough for most. We then walked down the other direction past all the shops to the Big Bamboo Brew Pub. This also is a small place with a patio in the rear but a very nice micro brewery and good food. Jerk chicken was my husbands choice for lunch under a thatched picnic table while I was talking to and taking pictures of some folk unloading marlin on the beach that they had caught. The owner then gave my husband a tour of the brewery for FREE. I found that the beach was covered in large pieces of sea glass so of course I took out my zip lock and walked around for about an hour picking up shells and sea glass while he ate lunch and took the tour. They also have kiaks and swimming and snorkeling from their pier. I do not know what it cost. Shopped a while on our way back through the shopping district and then back to the ship about two hours prior to our departure to clean gear and wash salt and sea off and remove sand from those hard to reach places.
Our day at sea on Saturday was very exciting as we were pushing a 30mph head wind making the wind on the upper deck about 50mph. Made for an interesting trip for some but for us it was just like being in a hammock back in Costa Maya. I think that rooms higher and lower (we were on deck 6 aft off the library inside) were probably worse for movement. We just had to walk with our stablizers out then no problem.
ENTERTAINMENT: I would HIGHLY recommend that you take in the ice show. What a great performance. We attended the 10:30 show on Thursday evening. Magnificent!!!!! Friday night was rockin through the ages from 50's to 80's with a twist contest and line dancing. TOO MUCH FUN!
FOOD: Outstanding in every way. The service was excellent, the food was excellent and the company was outstanding as we were seated at a table for two. Hard to complain about your table mates when that would be your husband.
We were invited to dine with the captains table on Friday evening. WOW what an honor! Something that I will tell over and over. Captain Sven Pettersen is such a nice man and very intersting. Hope you all get this priveledge sometime. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.
This was our third cruise this year and again Royal Caribbean proved to be at the head of the pack for us. We are currently scheduled for a cruise Feb 2004 on the Adventurer of the Seas out of San Juan the week of Feb 14 and it is hard to concentrate on the holidays as I am already onboard.
Heres wishing you happy holidays and happy cruisin! If anyone needs more information I will be happy to help if I can to answer questions.
Regards and Bon Voyage