The adventure began early at 3:00 a.m. on Wed. October 29th when we woke up in our hotel room in Indianapolis. I, of course could not sleep, but then again what else is new. We gathered our bags, hopped on the shuttle, and enjoyed an uneventful flight to La Guardia.
Our hotel shuttle picked us up, we then dumped our suitcases and walked to the nearest subway station and took it down to the Bowling Green Station in the financial district and found the restaurant Delmonico where we had made lunch reservations. The food and service were great. The decor is very nice and I would not hesitate to return. We left, then walked down to Battery Park and enjoyed some of the performers there and looked at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the distance. Unfortunately we didn't make it in time for the last ferry out. But it was fine.
We then hopped back on the subway and made our way to Times Square/42nd Street. We walked around there and found a bakery that had a canolli for d/s... we just didn't have enough time to go everywhere we wanted to go (like Ferrera) and do it all, but d/s was satisfied and enjoyed it never the less. After a while it was nearly time for dinner.
So we walked to 51st and Lexington Ave. (D/S's feet did great with all of this walking, wish I could say as much for mine
) to Mr. K's which was very nice. The interior decor was very posh, art deco style covered in mauve velvet tapestries and marble. Gold chafing dishes and gold table service made for an absolutely beautiful presentation. The food quality was average though and I am sure you would be able to find chinese food that tastes much better for a fraction of the price. However I cannot complain since I was able to get a package deal for $183.00 from SkyAuction which included the $100 dining certificate for Delmonico and $100 dining certificate for Mr. K's and the 4 tickets to the Broadway show "Burn the Floor" Produced by DWTS's judge Carrie Inaba. and starred performers from Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance.
We took a cab to the Longacre Theatre and sat down and enjoyed an evening of the best dancing I have ever seen in my life. Keep in mind that we had been up since 3:00 a.m. and the show was so engaging none of us had a complaint or nodded of during the show that lasted until almost 11:00 p.m. The kids loved it and I am so glad we were able to swing it. We took a cab back to our hotel and everyone quickly fell asleep (except for me...the insomniac).
One thing though, I had a last minute pedicure before I left town on Wednesday. Evidently I got some sort of cootie from the pedicure equipment because my right foot started feeling strange, and began to swell very quickly and a lesion formed between my 4th and pinky toe. So I went to the CVS near the hotel and got some stuff to kill the cootie and went to bed. The next morning my toes looked like sausages and the swelling was spreading into my foot. So I decided to see the ships Doctor once on board.
We hired a nice town car to take us to the port and the Driver was wonderful, we enjoyed hearing about him and his children, how he immigrated to NYC from Colombia. We arrived at the port around 11:00 a.m. Dropped our bags on the conveyor as we walked in the door. We were directed to the priority check in for Balconies/Minisuites. We checked in very quickly, were given a card with the #60 on it and were directed to sit in a section of chairs, just as we walked toward the chairs, a gentleman came out and called our number and then we walked on board. It doesn't get any better than that. We found our Aft minisuite which was ready for us and dropped off our bags and rested for a bit.
Lots of highlights, very few lowlights. I typically avoid the buffets. On this cruise it was probably better than average and we often found ourself there for lunch and breakfast. They had a few issues keeping certain items like the sausage gravy at proper temperatures on the buffet, but all in all, they did a pretty good job, better than previous experiences. One thing about the buffet, during peak times there was a shortage of seating. I thought it strange because there was at least 12 feet of empty booth space that was unused because the tables and chairs had been removed. They had an area called "kid's Cafe" that had kid food and small tables and chairs for families to sit together. Unfortunately, it was often full of adults simply because they had no where else to sit.
The biggest winner of all the specialty restaurants for us was Chin Chin. All of the offerings there were huge hits with us. Sushi, Mongolian Hot Pot, Asian Fusion, Teppanyaki, all terrific. We absolutely fell in love with the sushi chef's Jeffery and Romeo. They just took such good care of us and we kept coming back night after night, and sometimes for lunch. Hari, the Maitre D there, was a bit annoying, as he would turn the ringer on his portable phone up full blast and stand in the doorway of Teppanyaki while you were dining at the grill and talk to whoever was on the other line. He simply lacked the people skills and finesse of the other Maitre D's we met on board.
Tango's was fantastic. Le Bistro was good too (though I do admit it is much more scaled back and lacks the presentation it once had)the food was good and we never left hungry.
The biggest loser for us was Cagney's, the prime rib was tough and full of gristle. The fries which used to be infused with truffle oil, with Parmesan sprinkled on them, and now coated in a powdery substance that sticks to the inside of your mouth like a paste.
The biggest surprise for us was Azura, one of the two main dining rooms. The food was good, the service excellent. The steak we had in Azura was better than the one my husband had in Cagneys. We sailed with Boris the MaitreD previously on the Spirit and he took good care of us, as did the servers.
Blue Lagoon was OK, service was OK, food was OK.
One thing that was very tacky was salespeople coming into the speciality restaurants trying to gin up business for the Jazz Brunch, Taste of India, and to try the other speciality restaurants. As I explained to the MaitreD at the time, I thought it was wrong for them to take advantage of a captive audience that was paying for a nice upscale meal, to interrupt our nice dinner to give us a sales pitch. I felt that should have been done somewhere else like the atrium, or the buffet entrance.
I know the specialty restaurants are hurting. There just weren't that many people paying extra for their meals. On previous cruises it has always been a challenge to get into many venues, especially Teppanyaki. On this cruise I never encountered a wait, I never had to make reservations. It was very easy to get into any restaurant at just about any time. I never saw a full crowd at Teppanyaki
I did eventually make to the Ship's Doctor and all I can say is wow! He fixed me up. He gave me an arsenal of medications to kill the staph infection I got from the pedicure. Within a day it was showing remarkable signs of improvement. I was so happy to get cared for so well.
Our room stewards were great. Our aft minisuite was very nice and I had to say aside from some chair scooting early in the morning after I had already awakened, I heard no noise back there. Sometime in the first few days of our cruise they replaced the patio furniture on our balcony. Which was appreciated.
Regarding ports. Honestly, I can't complain much about any of them. We had a great time, and I always look at this part of the cruise as an adventure, a learning experience and use the knowledge acquired on previous trips to fine tune our next trip plans to those port should we return in the future. The weather was beautiful every day. We were very fortunate to make every port and have days full of sunshine.
Samana: Went to Playa Rincon with a bunch of our CC pals which we enjoyed. It was a day of adventure, seas were a bit playful. Next time we'll likely do Cayo Levantado again or a day pass at a nice resort. This is our third trip to Samana in 13 years, and it still has a way to go before it is really tourist friendly, but it is beautiful country and still has plenty to offer if you have an adventurous soul and the ability to go with the flow.
Tortola:We planned to go out to Virgin Gorda and the Baths on our own but since the ship tours were cancelled due to rough seas, we also cancelled our own plans. and we just shopped a little along the waterfront, then headed down to Pusser's Outpost for a cocktail that knocked me on my butt. We met up with Mary and her husband and another couple who were all delightful. We also met a another couple who had rented a sailboat and were sailing from Island to Island, which we thought sounded like a lot of fun. It was a great way to spend some time with some wonderful folks. Did a little shopping and checked email at the internet cafe.
St. Kitts, I loved it. Beautiful as you approach Frigate Bay where the Carribean is on one side of the mountains and the Atlantic on the other. Cockleshell Beach was nice. D/H and I would love to live there some day.
Curacao, rented a car and spent the day at the Sea Aquarium and the nearby beach. Very educational for the kids, good time was had by all.
Aruba, hopped on the bus and ended up at Boca Catalina Beach. Nice beach with some trees for shade. The water was clear.
Roatan, Went to Maya Key (formerly Fins & Flippers) all I can say is WOW! This place knocked my socks off. Great snorkelling on a coral reef, beach, pool, meticulously manicured grounds, animal rescue/preserve, good food, excellent! This is a place I highly recommend!
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