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Old 06-29-2005, 12:18 PM
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Hi Gang, being that this was my first cruise, this is my first review, so be kind.

We were a extended family group of 22 people ranging in age from 18 to 82.
We sailed out of Ft. Lauderdale.

Day 1,
Sunday the 19th, 19 of our group flew out of Detroit Metro Airport, security went well and boarding was quick and easy, Northwest flight 242 was sold out and crowded. Only complaint, our group was not seated together, don't know if it was my TA fault or the airlines fault. Oh, well. Stayed at the Comfort Inn on Stirling Rd. Not the Ritz, but it was clean and the complememtary breakfast was good and filling and tided us over until the feeding frenzy on the ship.

Day 2,
Arrived at the dock via the shuttle bus provided by the Hotel. Arrived at 11:15am for a 5:00pm sailing. Embarking could not have gone smoother, They started at 11:30am and we were on the boat by 11:50am. (First drink was a Pina Colada) We were in our rooms by 1pm. On the way to Key West, the Captain stopped the ship to investigate a capsized boat they observed. We stopped for about 45 minutes but could find no one in the water, Captain radioed the Coast Guard and got permission to continue.

Day 3, Key West
Arrived at 7am, we left the ship at about 9:30am and took the Conch Train tour. Found out more about Key West than I really wanted to know. Did some souvemeer shopping and returned to the ship by noon for a 2pm departure. That evening, the weather started getting rough and the tiny ship was tossed, if the not for the courage of the fearless crew the Minn... oh wait... it was not the bad.

Day 4, Cozumel
Arrived at 1pm, did the Dolphin Encounter, very nice, be sure to wear your wet socks or something to protect your feet, you'll be standing on metal grating. Wandered about the park for a bit and went back the docks and did some more shopping, it was hotter that hell, and getting back to the air conditioning was a priority. We departed at 10pm

Day 5 Costa Maya
Arrived 7am, did the 4x4 Jungle jeep adventure, which terminated at a very nice beach haceinda, we had a bar-b-que lunch at the beach and returned to the boat docks. About an hour worth of driving each way, the jeeps were stick shift and in good working order, being from Michigan and doing some serious 4 wheeling before, the route was tame.

Day 6 at sea
spent some time at the casino (lost) and by the pool (got toasted)

day 7 Ft. Lauderdale
Arrived 7am, disembarkation was well organized and quick, we were on the bus (suppied by Royal Caribbean) by 9:30pm. Flight back was uneventful (Northwest Flight 243), baggage at Detroit Metro could have been better.

The Ship seemed huge to me (First cruise, remember), it was clean and well maintained. The food was fantastic, both the Carmen Dining room and the Windjammer Lounge were both memerable. Cyril, out waiter, was fantastic, almost reading our minds. Marvin, our room steward, was most attentive and made our cruise very pleasureable. Our room (9158) was a Junoir Suite, it was clean and bug free. THe shower drain clogged Wednesday night, one call to maintenience got it fixed pronto. The balcony was great for room service breakfast.

All in all, it was a most pleasent vacation. We will cruise again (minus the group).
We packed too many clothes and not enough money (damn casino). TV did not have an option to review your Seapass account.

One big downside, The satalight link was very sporatic during the NBA finals (Pistons lost, so not that big a deal).
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Old 06-29-2005, 01:59 PM
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Paul,

welcome to Cruise-Chat.com and many thanks for the review. Did you also submit it to our parent site, CruiseReviews.com?
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Old 07-01-2005, 10:32 AM
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Hi Spence. Thanks for your review. I have been considering a 11 night (I think it was 11) on the Empress. Do you think there is enough to do on the ship, for a longer cruise. How was the JS, did you think the balcony was big enough. If we do go on the Empress, we would get a JS. I have only been on the Explorer and the Monarch. Some people prefer a smaller ship. Thanks for the review, and the info. Lil' Lori
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Old 07-01-2005, 05:01 PM
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The ship has casino and a showroom with good entertainment (not great but good),a rock wall for climbing, and two bars, two nice pools (one of which is for toddlers) 3 hot tubs. THe JS balcony was roughly 4 ft. x 7 ft., room for two chairs and a small table, spent many a pleasent hour out there, as far as spending 11 days aboard, it would depend on how hard it was to entertain you. I'm easily amused.
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