We just returned from our vacation yesterday. This was the most horrible expensive vacation we ever took.
I'll start with our pre-cruise plans. We left Tampa Saturday morning and headed to Ft Lauderdale . We had reservations at LaQuinta Suites off Powerline Rd. We arrived checked in and found that the spa was not working. I had searched the area for hotels with the hot tubs especially and called the day before the 24hr mark to make sure it was properly working. Was told all was fine. It wasn't , the lady at the desk said it hadn't worked for about a week. The room had little ants on the night stand.
Sunday we had reservations to stay at Day Inn on Ft Lauderdale Beach. We drove over there and my husband got a quick shore scuba dive in across from the hotel. He said the reef was great. The parking at this Days Inn is free for the week of your cruise. A shuttle picked us up for 6 bucks and returned us for the same. We tipped $5 each way too. The pool at Days Inn was cloudy and really small. So we stuck with the beach which was nice clear water.
Monday we arrived at the port around 12 noon. It is important to add that my cell phone had 2 bars of charge and my husband's had 3 bars of charge. We took the pier pictures, waited in line for the check in process arrived at the desk to be told follow them to have a resident check done. We arrived at a desk with a rude woman that looked at our documents and said you owe another 560.00. We went nuts. We had booked thru Cruise One Georgia office paid 1800.00 a year prior to this date for cabin 4526 Oceanview. The agent had only paid them 1300.00 and somehow did a wrong code.At first the woman did not explain exactly what the issue was. I had my Visa card in my hand from getting the sea pass at the other desk still. She reached out an attempted to grab the card to make the charge. I pulled it back astounded that this happened.
I immediately called the travel agency and reached the agent. he said that he paid them correctly and there was obviously a mistake. He talked with the woman and I cannot say what he said for sure but she was yelling at him on my cell phone, She layed my phone down across the workstation with him on hold for at least 7 minutes and walked off behind a room divider thingee. When she returned my phone was dead and he was lost.
She handed me the phone and said I lost the connection.
We called him on my husbands phone He said he had offered to put the 560.00 on his card and she was going to check with a supervisor. So I asked her what came of this could he? She stated no. We finally agreed that we were 1800.00 into this at this point and went ahead and paid the 560.00. Cruise One said they would mail a check out that day. And they did it was here when i got home. At this point both our cell phones were dead. I needed to call my sister in law and brother in law to tell them they were going to have the same issue most likely because they had booked the same way. There was no pay phones in the area and if you go outside you are not getting back in. Thier flight was not arriving until 3:30. We sat in the pier area until then waiting because I didn't know if they would be able to pay the amount and we may needed to loan it to them.
When they arreved they had no issues. straight thru we all paid the same at the same time.All live in the same area.
We finally boarded at 4:10 Starving and tired. I had no t smoked a cigarette thru this whole ordeal so i was crazy at this point
.Had lunch in Windjammer. It was great.
Two of our bags were at the room when we arrived. One was still missing. Later we called the Pursors desk to find that it was held there for security purposes. We went up there waited in a 50+ person line to be told that it had to be opened in front of a secuirty guard. We waited an hour for the security person to arrive. It's dinner time now. The bag contained a 12 pack of bottled water, scuba fins, a scuba mask, a few t-shirts from Ft Lauderdale. Some travel coupon booklets. We asked what was the issue. They didn't know. I still think it was the bottled water. We asked if it could be taken to our room by someone they said we would have to wait with it. We did for 30 more minutes. The porter arrived and said it was too heavy to carry he needed to get a handtruck. My husband just picked it up gave him a buck for at least coming and carried it himself. I told you what was in it. We were trying to avoid having to go back to the cabin again
We ended up eating in Windjamer that night. It was great.
Key West Formal Night.
Key West was fine. We walked down to the Most southern point took pictures and stopped at Green Parrot. We went the Mel Fisher Museum. A rip off save your 10 bucks.
Did some shopping. Found great prices on Hawaiian shirts.
We dressed for formal night. Arrived at our table. Waiter took order. We do not drink anything but tea, juice, water, and coffee. We ordered iced tea. Never had water glass filled. Never was given any bread. Appetizer arrived. Asked for tea again. Told he'd be there soon. Salad arrived. Asked for tea. Told one second. Entree arrived. My husband got up and walked to Windjammer and got 4 glasses of tea and brought them back.
After he came back the tea arived with the head waiter apologizing. People at our table that drank wine had it before the appetizer. They agreed it was wrong. We told the waiter we would not be back ate our dinner and skipped dessert due to agrivation. Several people kept coming over to say this has never happened and will never happen again.At this point I had tears in my eyes mascara starting to run. We couldn;t do formal pictures I was too upset.
they brought enough bread to feed a starving nation. But it was too late. I wanted one piece with my salad. So did our family and the other couple.
Cozumel was great. We had a charter planned with Blue Angel Dive Shop.(PRIVATELY)
They have a tour where snorklers and divers can go on the same boat. If you are ever looking for something like this It is the one to use. We arrived at 10:30 instead of 10 were the first ones off the Ship and still were late the shop left us. We were able to have the tour operator call the boat and they went to a pier and we had a nice mexican man whom did not speak english from the shop take us to that pier and we boarded the dive boat. The truck we rode in
was everythng you'd imagine minus the chickens. LOl
Very funny experience. The dive my husband said was wonderful. The snorkleing I did was great. The crew and the divemaster Tiki were so wonderful. We wanted to stay there.
If I was a millionaire I would have went back to ship and packed up and stayed in Cozumel.
Belize is a tourist trap. The shopping area they drop you off at is owned by RCI the pharmasist told us. There is no price bargining. But we did find what we wanted at reasonal cost. Purchased some antibiotics and a gorgeous leather hat with Corona stamped on it and a belize hard rock cafe shirt for our college age daughter. A couple hammocks and some neat beaded belts.
The day at sea we mostly laid around Video taped the ship. It is a beautiful ship.
We ate at Windjammer morning, noon, and night. We ran into the couple we shared dinner with they said they went to the dining room one night because windjammer
had a bad smell and they were waited on by 8 people and aske if everything was ok hundred's of times.
. We never went back. If we say never we mean never.
We still tipped everyone on our card because it was my understanding that the whole wait staff divdes the tips and the waiters at windjammer were great.
Our cabin steward was wonderful. The room was spacious. We never got sick on the ship. Although I felt pass outish in Belize. Think I had land sickness.
I just don't think Cruising is our name of the game.
We extended our vacation after getting off the ship. Oh wait we had a hard time finding our luggage. Do put something reconizable on black bags. When you debark the ship they are all in color coded areas and people are rushing it is crazy trying to leave. grab a sky cap and you dont have to wait in the long long line they wheel you straight thru customs and out the door.
ok back to the extention. We drove down to Key Largo we had planed to stay in Ft lauderdale but I asked huby if he wanted to dive in key largo. on another dive/snorkle boat. Sea Dwellers was thier name another outstanding operation.
There was no rooms available in Key Largo except for Travel Lodge. They wanted 145.00 a night plus 11.5% tax Hole in the wall dump. No smoking anywhere on thier premisis. The desk clerk said i'd have to cross the street or smoke in an alley way. So we drove back into Florida City.
25 minutes from the 9 AM dive charter. we stayed at Baymont Inns for 59.95. Very good deal. Nice room, pool, and service wonderful.
We had a bad experience for the first 3 days of a 5 night cruise. We tried to make the best of it. really we did. We seem to enjoy staying in destinations longer than the cruise offers. My husand is 40 I am 38. We found the average age to be about that. There were some older people very nice and some unruly younger ones. The people on the ship were nice and you never hardly saw children. I heard they had a wonderful kid's program.
Our bill when we left the ship 87.00
included 2 cartons cigarettes
Cruise in review DVD
misc gift shop purchases
We don't drink but my sister-in-law and brother-in -law do and they spent a total of 130.00 on alchol for the two of them and they had what they wanted. Thought I'd add that I know alot of people ask what bill charges are at the end. They also renewed thier vows for thier 25th. It was a shaby ceremony. Performed by some woman whom laughed while she read the vows to them.
We'll stick to all inclusive resorts I think.
Sorry so long.