Endless memory making adventures in the comfort of a luxury cruise liner. Debbie was keen for a Caribbean cruise, so we sent her with Royal Caribbean’s new Allure of the Seas (the most awarded ship in the world). How did she fare with her voyage at sea? She’s here to fill us in…
“From checking in at Gatwick Airport to arriving at Marriott Miami Biscayne Bay, the journey was pleasantly uneventful.
The Norwegian Air Dreamliner meant that even in economy there was plenty of legroom and comfy seats. The check in at the new RCCL Miami terminal was very quick and having completed all the paperwork online prior to departure there were minimal queues to get on board.
The Allure of the Seas is a very large ship but it doesn’t take long to accustom yourself to the facilities and where everything is located. Minor issues were ironed out quickly by our cabin staff although our first stop was customer services as we had forgotten that you can only order drinks packages ‘per cabin’. We rearranged our occupancy so that the two members of our family who wanted alcohol packages were ‘officially’ in a cabin together.
First stop was Nassau, Bahamas where our excursion was a coach tour around town. The pier at Nassau had three large cruise ships docking around the same time, which made it very crowded.
We loved the new wristband system for the excursions as we often found it hard not to lose the stickers given out on previous tours.
Our coach trip was very interesting but it was sad to see the discrepancy between the new Paradise Island with their mega yachts and villas to the rundown residences that the Bahamians live in. It was a very informative trip, visiting the John Watling Distillery (used in Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale movie) and The Queens Staircase, which had been cut out of limestone rock by slaves in the mid 1700’s.
Cozumel was next where we went snorkelling and visited a private beach by catamaran. There were three other groups snorkelling at the same time so you felt a little corralled to keep together but the beach break was fun with the chance to kayak, paddle board, sunbathe or swing amongst the trees on hammocks.
At Costa Maya, Mexico, it was an early meet in the theatre for our trip. We were delayed disembarking by 30-40 minutes due to very rough seas and another cruise ship coming in to dock alongside us.
We had a small coach party (11 people) to the Chacchobben Mayan Site. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the subject and the hour and a half drive was filled with information on Mayan facts, discoveries and calendars.
A short trek into the forest and our first temple appeared in a clearing. Our guide kindly took photos of us with the temple in the background and by the time we had finished the large coach parties had started to arrive.
Meandering around the site was comfortable until we came to a set of 30 steps which took us up to another level. Having climbed up and down the steps everyone felt decidedly hot and we suddenly realised how hot and humid it really was. We heard a commotion in the trees and were rewarded for our patience with the arrival of a baby spider monkey.
During the week we went to see the Aqua Theatre show, which was stunning and the high divers/acrobats were amazing and very talented. We also saw the headliner show, Mama Mia!, which delighted everyone in the audience. There was a great party atmosphere and a lot of audience participation with the songs. There was also a very memorable scene of the bachelor party about to leave dressed in snorkels, wetsuits and flippers - to be able to do a complicated dance routine dressed like that must take loads of practice – they definitely got a big cheer at the end!
The Cruise Compass, the daily information sheet, provides everything you need to know about what is happening onboard. From fun and games, restaurant and shop opening times to port maps and seminars. It is worth keeping a pen handy to mark off what you want to do as the amount of options may result in missing out.
We have cruised with Royal Caribbean before and they never disappoint. All in all it was a great and memorable holiday.
As always Abbotts Travel provided a fantastic service. All the ladies (on this occasion Sophie and Carly) were very helpful in providing a smooth booking process and doing their best to get us the best deals and sort out any queries.
Now we are back in the UK we are already looking at our next RCCL cruise…”