Friday, December 17, 2010

Princess Cruise Line Military and Veterans Onboard Credits

Princess Cruise Line walks the walk and talks the talk in supporting our Military when they sail on Princess! The cruise line offers an onboard credit for active or retired military and honorably discharged veterans on all cruises.

To obtain an onboard credit, fax the appropriate paperwork to their revenue department along with current identification and your bookings information. As long as the proper paperwork is sent, the onboard credit is posted to your reservation within 24 hours.

You can read more about this program here:

If you have booked your travel with us, send us the appropriate documents and we will take care of this for you.

Kudos to Princess for supporting our brave military service men and women!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What's The Difference Between Beaches Resorts?

One of the best all inclusive family vacation suppliers is Beaches. You'd be hard pressed to find a company that provides more for kids and adults to do. Beaches is a wonderful choice for multi-generational vacations or family reunions. And it's also a great option for singles.

One big plus with Sandals and Beaches resorts is Scuba Diving is included if you are a certified diver. If not, you can pay extra and take a resort class and dive as well. There is even a kids dive program! You can do up to two tank dives a day here (but need to take into account when you will be flying home). Sandals and Beaches also have some of the most extensive water activities included - some have water skiing, snorkeling, Hobie cats, water bikes kayaking and more. All have free transfers to and from the airport, which is a huge savings. Gratuities are also included, with the exception of rooms with butlers.

All resorts have Red Lane Spas on site and some offer golf as well.

And Beaches Turks is getting ready to introduce a new tuck in program where a Sesame Street character of your choice will come to your room at night, tuck your child into bed and read them a bed time story. It is going to cost about $125 for one child and one character and is supposed to include a photo and a stuffed toy. We saw a demonstration of the process and it was just adorable!

But - did you know that each Beaches resort offers something different? Just as all Sandals resorts are a little different, so are Beaches. Would you like to know the difference between each? We'd be happy to share some information!

Beaches Turks/Caicos

The largest of the Beaches resorts. This resort is broken down into four "villages" - the Caribbean Village,the Seaside Village, the French Village and the newest, the Italian Village.

The highlights of this resort:
  • Located on a 12 mile stretch of a beautiful powder sand beach.
  • Approximately 20 minutes from the airport
  • 6 pools, 3 with swim up bars
  • Great for snorkeling and scuba diving
  • Largest pool and water park
  • 16 dining options
  • Spacious family suites
  • X Box 360 and Scratch DJ Academy
  • Surf Simulator - body surfing for kids and adults!
  • 7,000 Sq. Foot Shopping Village
  • Teens can enjoy ScratchDJ, Shadow Lounge Teens only game room, disco and more
  • Sesame Street Activities, Kids Camp and More
  • Departure lounge where you can wait for your transfer home to the airport. There is even a luggage scale in the lounge to weigh your luggage - if it is overweight, you can move contents around here rather than having to do it at the airport.
Please note- there is a departure tax of $20 per person for ages 2 and over that is collected at the airport for this resort only.

The Caribbean Village is the original Beaches resort. Buildings are up to three stories high and many of the rooms in this set of buildings offer two beds in the main bedroom, making it a good option for singles vacationers. There are five room categories in this part of the resort and the lower room categories are located here. Your views are garden views.

This village is located close to many restaurants and the Kids Camp. It is a 2 minute walk to the beach. The Sesame Street Parade starts and ends here. On Wednesdays, a craft fair is set up in front of the main lobby featuring local craft vendors. This village is closest to the departure lounge, a great feature for waiting for your transportation home.

The French Village is the furthest away from the beach, about a five minute walk. There are six room categories here with access to the zero entry Riviera pool. Quietest of the locations, but near the Waterpark. There is also a stage close to this village where there are early evening shows for the family. There is a wonderful French pastry shop here as well as an outstanding French Restaurant and an Italian Restaurant.

The Italian Village is the largest of the villages and has buildings up to six stories high. These rooms are designed for families and feature separate kids rooms with bunk beds, in room video games, microwave and refrigerator. All have concierge service and the two bedroom suites have butler service. That makes the rooms here among the most expensive. Many rooms have beach views and are very close to the beach. The Italian Village is in between the Caribbean and French Villages and features the only heated pool.

There are many restaurants located here - Barefoot on the Beach, Marios, the English pub and more. Also nearby is the water sports booth and all water sports.

The Seaside Village is the smallest and has five suite categories. These are the closest beach locations but furthest from the rest of the activities. There is a pool with waterfall here. Rooms have either concierge or butler service. Views are mostly of the pool but there are a few with oceanviews. Oceanviews are not guaranteed.

The beach is beautiful here and the restaurants are very good. Lots of activities.


Beaches Negril

If you can't go to Turks, this is the closest to the amenities offered at Turks. This resort is located about an hour and a half from the Montego Bay airport. Located on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, here are the highlights:

  • Set on the widest stretch of Negrils 7 Mile Beach
  • Pirate Island Waterpark with lazy river and kid's splash deck
  • 3 pools with 2 swim up bars
  • 5 restaurants plus a Beach Bistro
  • Supervised Kids Camp
  • Unlimited X Box 360 Game Play at the Games Garage
  • Exchange privileges with Beaches Sandy Bay, giving you 8 dining options between the two resorts.
Beaches Sandy Bay

Beaches Sandy Bay offers the best value in Negril but is also the smallest of resorts. One huge plus- stay here and use the facilities at Beaches Negril. There are complimentary shuttles that will take you to the Negril resort. This resort is about 90 minutes from the airport.


  • Best value
  • More intimate with ocean views from nearly all rooms
  • Full exchange privileges with Beaches Negril
  • Has X Box 360 Garage
  • Some suites have kitchenettes
  • 2 bars
  • Supervised kids camp
  • 2 pools
  • Water activities include kayaks, windsurfing, snorkeling, 1 whirpool, hydo bikes, water skiing, Hobie cat, scuba diving plus ping pong, shuffleboard, lawn chess, beach volleyball, board games a fitness center and spa.
One note: If you stay here and plan to go to the Negril resort, you will not be able to use the Kids Camp at Negril. You will have to keep your children with you at the resort, as the ratio of kids to counselors must be maintained.

Beaches Boscobel Resort and Golf Club - Ocho Rios

If you are looking for a resort that offers golf along with kids programs - this is your spot! Located 90 minutes from the Montego Bay airport this resort is also located in a popular tourist spot where there are many option activities that you can purchase, such a a strip to Dunns River Falls or a dolphin swim.


  • A new 27,000 square foot Pirates Island Water Park with giant water slide
  • Golf Clinic for kids
  • 5 specialty restaurants
  • XBox 360 Games Garage
  • 6 bars
  • Kids Camp
  • 4 Star rated Golf course, rated by Golf Digest. 18 hole par 71. Greens fees included, carts,clubs and shoes available for rent. Caddy not included but mandatory.
  • 3 pools, 1 swim up bar
  • Kayaks, wind surfing, glass bottom boats, water bikes, Hobie cats, 2 whirpools, water park with 11 waterslides
Important - if you are looking for the best beach, this is not the resort to stay at. Of the three locations in Jamaica, this has the lowest rated beach.

Remember, Beaches also offers Martha Stewart weddings - the perfect wedding for multi-generational groups.

If you'd like more information about Beaches or would like to book, contact us. 516-608-0568.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ship Review - Royal Caribbeans' Oasis of the Seas

She may not be the prettiest thing on the sea, looking more like a floating hotel than a cruise ship, but she sure is one of the most exciting ships! We waited two years to sail on her and we certainly were not disappointed. Oasis of the Seas is quite the cruise ship, a destination in itself.

A little background – we are in our mid 50’s and mid 60’s and were traveling with a group of 18 people. This was our 11th cruise. We sailed Oct. 9, 2010 on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. We chose My Time Dining and had a balcony room, 8130 on Deck 8 near Central Park. We’ll rate the cruise on various points with an A – F rating.

Embarkation: A+

I’ve read reviews that embarkation is easy and it certainly is. We were on the ship within 15 minutes of arriving at the port. Check in is by deck – you find the signs to the deck your cabin is located at. All the embarkation clerks are not the same though– we had to remind the check in gal to take our pictures for our Seapass card and she also forgot to give us a map of the ship. But she was pleasant and helpful.

One note – make sure you take the welcome aboard photo after you check in. That picture is used for facial recognition for the remainder of the pictures you’ll take on the cruise.

One thing to mention – don’t try to bring liquor or a travel iron in your luggage. A couple traveling with us never received one of their bags. They went to Guest Relations and were taken to an area that had luggage that had been confiscated. They had tried to bring liquor in their luggage and got caught. They had to hand over the booze. They were also told that bags that had been x-rayed and had travel irons in them were also having the irons confiscated.

Cabin: B

We had an oceanview balcony cabin on deck 8, cabin 8130 port side, near Central Park. The location was excellent as it was a quick walk to the Park Café for breakfast and lunch. One plus of this particular cabin is that there was no cabin on one side of our room, making it a quiet cabin, especially on the balcony.

There were two reasons we did not rate this cabin an A. One is the size of the cabin – it’s really small. Upon entering, the bathroom is immediately to the right. Next is the couch and a useless table in front of it that we banged into the first two nights until we moved it next to the closet. To the right of the couch was the closet, which had plenty of storage room and plenty of hangars. There were about seven shelves in the closet and the safe was also located on one of the shelves.

The second reason was the air conditioning in the middle of the night. With it turned up all the way it was comfortable during the day, freezing when we went to bed and sweltering by 2 AM. It seemed the air conditioning went off in the middle of the night. It wasn’t just our cabin – every one in our group had the same complaint and the cabins were in all different parts of the ship and on all different decks, so I can’t say it was due to our location.

Across from the couch is the desk. There are three drawers, one very small, and two deeper. There is a mirror and there are two plugs under the desk in an awkward spot. (I suggest bring an electrical wall strip – it was very hard to get under the desk to use the two plugs. Having the strip will allow you to use the plugs ON the desk and you’ll have more than two).

There is a hair dryer in the top drawer - you need to dry your hair at the desk as there is no plug in the bathroom. There were also some narrow shelves behind cabinets on the left of the desk which we used for storing small items, such as deodorant, sunblock, small toiletries, etc.

The bed was next to the balcony door, which for us was good and bad. The good was the great view from bed and the comfortable mattress – we slept so well! The bad was the long walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night – I can’t tell you how many times we walked into that little table the first two nights.

The balcony was small as well, with only enough room for a table and two chairs. Our in-laws were in the cabin next to us and we had the cabin steward open the divider between the balconies.

The bathroom was also very small. There are shower doors instead of a curtain (which we first experienced on the Celebrity Solstice) but boy, was it tight in there. I can’t imagine a large person having an easy time taking a shower. The toiletries in the bathroom were a bar of soap and the shampoo in the shower dispenser. If you need more than that – bring it with you. There was no shower cap, conditioner or body lotion.

If I could sail her again, I’d get a junior suite. We saw one and there was much more room.

Food: B+

Food is always subjective, but with the variety of food on this ship, it is hard to find much to complain about. We ate all of our dinners in the main Dining Room with My Time Dining and were not disappointed in anything but the coffee (more on the coffee later).

We had breakfast and lunch once in the Main Dining room during the entire week and were happy with those meals as well.

Our cabin was on Deck 8 next to Central Park so we did eat quite a few meals at the Park Café which was probably my favorite food venue. For breakfast, there was oatmeal, egg sandwiches, cereal, yogurt, fruit cups and more. At the “Make Your Own Salad” area, a Make Your Own Bagel option. Also a juice machine with a few types of juice as well as a dessert counter.

For lunch and afternoon snacks, there are many different delicious paninis, fruit cups, the famous Roast Beef Sandwich (which was indeed delicious) and more. I loved the Make Your Own Salad option – a server takes the bowl size of your choice and you tell him/her what you want in the salad and the dressing of your choice. They mix it and put it in a fresh bowl and hand it over to you. At lunch this venue also offers a choice of flavored water, which was one of my favorite things on the ship.

Another place we frequented was the Solarium Bistro for breakfast and lunch. This was all buffet style food but healthier choices. There were many interesting salad options here. The buffet food consisted of quite a bit of fish options, which are not my favorite thing to eat, but the shrimp was always great. They also had delicious wraps at lunch time too, particularly vegetable wraps.

We tried the Wipe Out Café and the famous hot dog in a pretzel. It was awful. The hamburgers and hot dogs here were just okay – I found I missed the usual poolside grill. There was always frozen yogurt here, but watching some of the passengers manhandle the machine turned me off.

We tried Johnny Rockets for breakfast once and were not impressed – our order was wrong and it was terribly hot to sit outside on the Boardwalk, all the time.

Never ate a touch of pizza (just didn’t have time), didn’t have anything other than cookies once or twice in the Café Promenade (I tried very hard to stick to eating just three meals a day to avoid gaining weight).

A few of us did the cupcake making class at the Cupcake Cupboard for $19.95. It was a fun class, lasted about a half hour and the cupcakes were delicious. If you are going to pay extra for anything, try the cupcakes - well worth the money.

Regardless of the venue we ate at, this ship has the worst coffee I’ve ever tasted in my life and I was not alone in that assessment. The coffee was 10 time stronger than Starbucks. I resorted to asking the waiter to give me half a cup of coffee and half hot water and that also left me with undrinkable coffee. In our group only one person could drink the coffee and many other folks we met on the cruise felt the same way.


I wasn’t expecting much in the entertainment area, as a cruise is a cruise. But I was WOWED by the quality of the entertainment.

Hair Spray was a Broadway quality show – not the second rate production I was expecting. We saw the first show by a new cast and they were just wonderful. The sets were excellent as well.

Our second show was Oasis of Dreams, the diving show in the Aqua Theater. It was heart stopping watching the divers on such a high platform diving into a small pool on a rocking ship. The divers were outstanding. There is also a comedy dive show during the week in the daytime called Splish Splash that you shouldn’t miss. It is open seating for this and seeing it during the day makes you really appreciate how high those diving platforms are. Another thing they do in this area is they have Dancing Fountain shows during the day. These fountains dance to music – it is a neat way to spend some spare time in the Boardwalk area.

Our next nights’ entertainment was a concert featuring The Coasters. I got a kick out of the number of people (youngsters??) who had no idea who they were. Most enjoyed this show, but I did see some people walk out during the show. I enjoyed the show but it was probably the one I’d rate the lowest on the entertainment scale.

Next show was the comedy show. The comics were very good, although the venue is was too tiny. And the NYC map on the ceiling of the theater was incorrect, too!

Our fourth show was the ice show, Frozen in Time. A great show as usual but the addition of the Sand Painter was excellent. I heard the most comments on how amazing this was from other passengers through the rest of the cruise. Keep an eye in the Aqua Theater towards the end of the cruise – they show this sand painting on the large LED screens during the day.

Finally, Come Fly With Me. Many people expected a Frank Sinatra tribute and boy were they surprised at what they saw! The acrobatics were excellent and the sets were stunning – nothing like you’d expect on a ship. We happened to choose seats on the top on Deck 5 on the left and one of the acrobats flew on a zip line right to the area we were seated.

The Cruise Director on our cruise was Richard Spacey. He was delightful. He did his famous “Evolution of Dance” routine, had a video he did about a Day as A Cruise Director that was hilarious (watch what happens when he flushes a toilet) and had a few video routines that played on the t.v during the day.

Most of the entertainment venues around the ship also had good entertainment with the exception of a three piece group that played one night in the Viking Crown Lounge. The group (who I won’t name) exemplified the term “Lounge Lizards” – they were truly awful.


We had excellent service in almost every aspect of the cruise. The first night in My Time Dining, while the service was okay at the table they directed us to but we could barely understand the Assistant Waiter – his English was incomprehensible. He tried very hard, but we all had to keep asking him to repeat himself several times to understand what he was saying.

On the second night, we were assigned to a table with two delightful servers – Medgi, our Head Waiter and Egi, his Assistant Waiter. We liked them so much that we requested their table for the rest of the cruise. I did hear complaints from quite a few passengers about the service they received in the dining room, though. It seemed that people with assigned dining had more complaints. Several friends said that their waiter or waitress seemed very unhappy doing their jobs – but we didn’t find this to be our experience.

We were told that two weeks after our cruise, 30% of the staff from the Oasis were flying to Finland to join the Allure of the Seas. And several of the employees we spoke to said their contracts were ending in November and they did not anticipate coming back at all. We wondered how the service on the ship would be after after Oct. 21 and then in November with this much of the staff leaving the ship. It isn’t easy handling 6,000 passengers!

Our room steward was also very good. He was so unobtrusive we rarely saw him. We asked him to remove the items from the mini bar on the first day and he did it promptly. We had relatives in the cabin next to us and asked him to open the balcony doors in between the cabins and he also did that promptly. The room was cleaned promptly every day as soon as we left for breakfast.

We found most of the bartenders and waiters at all the other restaurants we ate at to be very good as well. The only issue we had was with a bartender in the Viking Crowne Lounge one night when there was a Ladies Night two for one Martini Special. Three of us had ordered two martinis each. There was only one bartender and he couldn’t handle the volume. He started making our drinks and then a woman who must have had one of the Loft Suites came in and ordered a certain type of wine. He stopped making our drinks and proceeded to run around looking for the wine she wanted. He actually left the bar in search of her wine. We were very annoyed – the right way to handle it would have been to complete our drink order and then take care of her.


We only purchased one excursion, a Power Turtle Swim in St. Thomas. And of course, as usually happens to us, it was screwed up by the tour company. There were about 40 people who had booked the tour and half of us purchased the Power Snorkel. The boat that was on the dock to take everyone out did not have enough of the Power units. They split us in half and ordered a second boat to pick up half of us. Unfortunately, the program said we would be getting a catamaran, which was fine as three of us had physical issues and knew we could get on and off the boat if it were a catamaran.

Low and behold, the boat we got stuck with was not a catamaran – the second boat they sent to pick the rest of us up was a pirate ship. Which was fine and fun except one of us could not get down the ladder they put over the side of the ship to get into the water. She paid a lot of money for a boat ride and was unable to snorkel.

However – the staff on the boat, BONES, were delightful. They were a lot of fun on the excursion and guided us so we all got to see turtles. My only complaint was that on the way back to the ship, they gave us a very hard sell to buy their t shirts. Hard enough that they turned off the motors of the ship and kind of held us captive outside the cove where the ship was for a 15 minute presentation to their different t shirts. We finally asked if we would be back to the ship by 5 PM, as that was the scheduled time to be back and we had dinner reservations at 6 PM. Once we asked, they stopped selling and had us back to the pier by 5:10 PM – and made a little bit of fun of us for wanting to be back on time as well. They didn’t have to get out of wet bathing suits, showered and dressed for dinner in less than 45 minutes!

Evaluation of the Ship ItselfB+

It took a day but within 24 hours we all felt comfortable about getting around on the ship – i.e. we knew where we were going. I found the best way to figure out where we were was by breaking the ship into thirds – the promenade, Central Park and the Boardwalk. From Central Park forward we had the “adult” areas – the Solarium Pool and Bistro, the internet cafes, and our cabin.

From the Boardwalk back, we had the Boardwalk and the Sports Deck. And the Promenade was the center of gravity for us.

Some observations – the Boardwalk area was hot as heck. I don’t know what it was, but the heat just seemed to settle in that area and no matter what time, day or night – it was hot.

The Aqua Theater pool area was a delightful place to relax. There was almost always something going on, be it Music and Dancing Fountains, watching the divers practice in between shows, and even watching video of the Sand Painter from the Ice Show on the big screens the last day and then their delightful Splish Splash show (no tickets required).

The layout of some cabins and hallways is a little difficult to navigate, particularly in the very front of the ship. There are hallways that intersect in odd areas in order to put more cabins in every available space. One day two of us were in the Internet Café and a man walked in with a look of terror on his face. He had been looking for his interior cabin for 15 minutes and couldn’t find it. We tried to assist him using the interactive screens and it took us quite awhile to locate his cabin even with the guide.

If you decide to sit at the Beach Pool, I advise you not to sit in the first or second line of loungers closest to the pool. Because of the slope of the side of the pool, if the ship rolls a little, the water comes right out of the pool and washes under the chairs - just like a real beach. I was sitting in the second row of chairs when the ship pulled out of Nassau. As the ship started moving, the water poured out of the sloped side of the pool and washed all the shoes, drink glasses and anything else that was on the deck right back into the pool. It was quite humorous watching people jump up and run after their shoes as they washed away! And please – don’t put your drink cups on the deck floor. Those went over as well, leaving a sticky mess on the deck.

One thing many people complained about was the shopping on the ship. There was no place to purchase sundries and the shops are too high end for the average passenger. The logo shop had several sundries behind the counter, like aspirin, sunblock, etc.

I never saw anyone in Pets at Sea or the photo shop where you could dress up and take pictures dressed like a roaring 20’s dancer or a cowboy, etc. The candy shop was very overpriced for candy. I overheard many passengers complaining that there were not enough items for children. While there was a shop on the Boardwalk that had kids items, the shirts, hats and toys were overpriced.

The Logo Shop had a terrible selection of items. I wanted a small ship model- all they had was a model of the ship so large that I would need half a suitcase to fit it into to take home.

I did like the On Air Club being in the Promenade. It was great to be able to drop in to hear karaoke and some of the games that went on during the day at night as I was walking back or to my room.

One thing that I didn’t like was the Internet Cafes. These are located on several decks (I used the one on deck 7 forward). All these are is six computers set up in what seemed like half an interior cabin. It was hot and crowded and on the last day there was a line in the hallway of people waiting to use the computers to print their airline boarding passes. I had brought my laptop because I had to work on the ship but the wireless access in my cabin was too slow and it ended up costing me 10 minutes of time just trying to log in. And I tried using the wireless keyboard and the t.v. screen in the cabin and the keyboard was just very non-reactive – between two of us, we couldn’t get the keyboard to work. (I found this exact same issue on the Celebrity Solstice - the company needs to figure out why the keyboard in the cabins just don’t work well). The traditional big internet café would have been better.

Two excellent innovations on this ship – the interactive directories near the elevators and the way they handled the photo gallery. The directories had interactive maps where you could input your room number or a ship venue and the map would tell you how to get there from exactly where you were standing. You could also check the restaurant availability and the cruise compass to see what was going on at that exact time .

The Photo Gallery was very unique. On Deck 6, there were many kiosks that you could go to, swipe your room key and the pictures of you would appear right on the screen where you could place an order. There were also “notebooks” assigned to you with a location in a round kiosk. Your Seapass card had a number on it, and you’d go to the corresponding tower and then pull your book number out and your photos would be in the book – just pick what you want and pay for them. This worked okay for the most part as it is based on facial recognition and the first picture you take embarking. It’s from that photo the facial recognition for the rest of your pictures are trailed to.

For the most part this works – but we found that any picture we were in with a group of people were all in our photo book – not in any one else's. We were constantly cleaning out the pictures in our book and giving them to the others traveling with us. One thing that I didn’t like was the fact that if they made your picture in an 8 X 10, if you asked to have it reduced to a 5 X 7, you still had to pay the 8 X 10 price. I do not have any 8 x 10 frames in my house to put a giant picture of us in and I was outraged that they wanted $19.95 for a 5 X 7 if I wanted it made smaller. Royal lost about $150 from us because we ended up not buying any of our photos since the ones we liked were all 8 X 10.

Another great thing on this ship was the gangway process. The gangway has it’s own button in the elevators. No need to try to remember which deck we were getting off at – just push the gangway button and – whoosh – you are there. Another great thing – no steps in the gangway. It was all ramps and for those of us who were physically challenged, it was a breeze!


Because we had an 11:25 AM flight, we decided to do express disembarkation to ensure we would get to the airport with plenty of time to spare. With express disembarkation, you don’t put your bags out of your cabin the last night – you walk off with all your bags.

I was a bit apprehensive about doing this. On any other ship I’ve been on we’ve had to go down stairs when getting off the ship and I worried how I’d carry my heavy bag down steps. All I recall about getting off is the lines waiting on the stairway to get off. No need to worry about this on the Oasis, as again – there are ramps, no stairs.

We lined up in the Promenade around 6 AM and at 6:15, the disembarkation process began. By 6:25 we were off the ship and waiting for our cab that we had pre-arranged. If I were to do this again, I wouldn’t even bother arranging for transportation – there were plenty of cabs waiting.

Another wonderful thing that Royal offers on this ship is Luggage Valet. For an additional $20 per person when leaving from Ft. Lauderdale, depending on the airline you are flying, you put your luggage out the night before and then never have to touch it again until you get home. Royal prints your boarding passes and takes the bags directly to the airport and your airline for you. The next time you pick up your luggage is at your airport when you arrive home. Not all airlines participate (ours, Southwest, did not) and there were some restrictions such as your flight had to be at 11:30 AM or later. But you couldn’t spend $20 per person any better than not having to search for your luggage in the terminal and haul it to the bus or cab with you to get it to the airport.

Overall RatingA–

Is there a perfect ship? No. Was this as close to perfect as you can get? In our opinion, yes. The ship is so innovate, not only in the design but in the little things, such as the simplicity and ease of the gangways. Royal Caribbean has thought of things for these new ships that no one had done before.

I don’t like sea days. In nine cruises, I’ve always dreaded sea days as I never felt there was enough for me to do on the ship. Not on this baby! I was never bored and I really would have loved to do back to back cruises as I know there were many places on the ship I never had the time to see.

We are looking forward to the Allure in December – to see the difference in the two ships and perhaps have a look at the secret spots on the ship I never got around to.