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We had a pre-cruise for one day. Our flight left LaGuardia airport at 7:50am on Friday 12/03/04. We hired a limo to take us to the airport about 80 miles from our house. It arrived at 3:30am. We got to he airport about 5:45am. We were absolutely clueless as to what we were to do. Not to worry, the airport people are very well trained with newbies like us. We did curbside check in and said goodbye to our luggage. We then went to find our spot at the airport. They had us seated two seats apart, so we had them change that so we were together. Finally they started calling us to board. It was a packed flight and it was tight. Not knowing if we would get airsick or not I was prepared. Not to worry. Our flight was fairly smooth, with some slight turbulence. Got to Florida at about 10:45am. Claimed our luggage and went to look for our transport. We booked everything thru RCI being new at this. The took us to our Hotel. The Embassy Suites. Wow It was great. After dropping off our luggage we went to eat and explore Fort Lauderdale. It was fun. We were on the 12 floor so we had a great view. From the balcony on the otherside of the Hotel we could see the ships all docked. We even seen the Jewel the next morning. Time tocheck out and get transport to the docks.
Embarkation: Again not knowing what to expect I think it went rather well. We got to the port about 12:30 and were thru everything by 1:30. We went to the Windjammer Cafe for lunch. We did not get our luggage till about 8pm. So we spent time exploring the ship.
Cabin Stewart: We had only one Virginia. She was effcient , but not overly friendly. We tipped her daily. I gave her the reqired amount, but upped it a little after a couple of days, because I wasn't getting my towel animals and was disappointed. That night I recived a rabbitt, and got one each night after .
Food: Was fantastic. Everything was great. we ate most of our meals in the windjammer. We had chosen the early seating, not good. We just couldn't get back from excursions and what not in time to get ready for dinner at 6. Next time it will be late seating.
Ports of call: Puerto Rico we did the El Yunique rainforest. We had a delay getting off the ship due to a medical Emergency. We got started about 45 mins late. They drove us what seemed like the slums. It was very run down and poverty stricken. We finally made it to the rainforest, the observation tower was closed already, so we went on further. The waterfalls were nice. all in al;l it was disappointing, we saw no wildlife at all and it started getting dark because of the delay. Back at the ship we bought my son his requested bottle of Puerto Rican Rum.
St Martin's: It is 83 degrees and beautiful. We have a tour around the island and a catamaran cruise. The Island is very nice . We stopped for some shopping.
St John's Antiguqa; We had a wonderful tour guide, We learned alot about the Island. Of course we did some shopping.
St Thomas: our favorite Island. It was just beautiful. We have two excursions planned. A panaramic tour in the morning. The Island is so beautiful and in the afternoon snorkling from the catamaran "The Castaway Girl" I chickened out on snorkling but DH went. This was our first time . I really like being out on the Catamaran. I should have went snorkling.
Bahamas: We hated this stop most of all. It was raining so we could not go shopping in the morning. @0 mins later it stopped . we went out briefly but had to get back for glass bottom boat tour. We went down to the tour 15 mins early and they were gone. We aasked around and were told they left 5 mins earlier, we went up and down and could not find them, so we went back to ourroom and watched the boat go buy our balcony. Boy were we pissed. When Explorations opened for the evening we went to complain and we gotour money back. That made us happy.
Sea Days: We had two. They were filled with all kinds of things to do.
Entertainment: We thought was great. The magician and his wife were awesome and the juggling comedian, we laughed so hard when he fell of the stage and got up saying I'm ok don't everyone get up to help. All the showes were great.
The Gym: What an awesome Gym. We spent 1 hour here every day from 6 am to 7 am. We did the bike and treadmill for 1/2 hour and then a 1/2 hour on the machines. Let me tell you it is possible to keep your weight in check. I actually lost 4 pounds!!!
Pools's: Great we found no hogging of chairs. We had our pick anytime. We bought some snorkel equipment and DH taught me how to snorkel in the pool. I'm now ready for the next cruise.
Debarkation: Went rather quick and smooth. We were taken to the airport and got our flight at 11:45 to La guardia. The Limo driver was waiting and we came home to reality.
We have our next cruise planned for Jan or Feb of 2006.