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Boston Mom

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About Boston Mom

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Royal Caribbean, and just booked with Carnival
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  1. We arrived at Ocean Blue a little before our 6:30 reservation and enjoyed a drink at the bar (glass of prosecco for me and a beer for my husband). We were then given a choice of eating inside our outside, and being an absolutely gorgeous night we chose an outside table for two. The service throughout our meal was impeccable; our waitress brought over another prosecco and beer for us right away as we started perusing the menu, and remained extremely attentive throughout our meal. We both started off with the iceberg wedge salad, which was extremely fresh and beautifully presented. We then both had the shrimp cocktail - three absolutely enormous shrimp with a very nice tasting cocktail sauce. We hardly ever get the same thing as we like to try each other's appetizers and salads, but we were both so happy with what we ordered. For our main course I opted for the grouper, accompanied by a fruit salsa, potatoes au gratin, and asparagus. I am drawing a blank on the exact name of what my husband ordered because I didn't have my little notebook with me that night, but it was like a seafood paella - scallops, shrimp, and calamari in a red sauce. We both polished off every bite of our meals. As we were debating whether or not we were too full for dessert, our server returned with a beautiful chocolate mousse cake, in honor of our anniversary. I was really impressed that the dining services manager that we had met on Monday night at the Manhattan Room followed through to find out where we would be dining on Wednesday night and sent over the beautiful cake. We ended up sharing the cake with another couple that we had met on the cruise that were also dining at Ocean Blue at night, as the cake was really large for two people that had just eaten such a large meal. We did MANY laps around the deck to walk off all that we had eaten, and as we passed Syd Norman's we heard some familiar music. We both love Bruce Springsteen and wandered into Syd Norman's to listen to the tribute band for awhile. Solid entertainment and I loved the variety of music playing on the ship.
  2. Sorry for the hiatus, it has been a crazy busy week at work. Back to my review, picking up where I left off which was Day 4, Belize. We got back onto the ship hot and tired after a fun beach and pool day at Harvest Caye. We were also starving, as by the time we got back on board it was 3 pm and we hadn't had lunch. Since it was so late in the day we decided to head up to the Garden Grill buffet and get a little snack to tide us over until our 6:30 reservation at Ocean Blue. Once we got up to Deck 15 our appetites kicked in and our "little snack" turned out to be sharing a plate of made to order pasta. We hadn't really been eating at the buffet other than a couple of quick salads or ice cream cones and hadn't noticed the made to order pasta station until Wednesday. We shared a yummy concoction of fresh garlic, red pepper, chicken, and mushrooms, tossed in a mix of marinara and alfredo sauces with parmesean cheese on the top, and it was wonderful. If we weren't so close to dinnertime we would have polished off another bowl, along with the mixed green salad that we assembled and shared. After lunch we went back up to our stateroom to relax a bit and to change for dinner.
  3. If it's Splash Academy you're near, they must have very good sound proofing because we heard basically no noise, just some happy laughter if we happened to be at the elevators right near the pick up and drop off area. I am thinking you should be okay. And I am totally with you about not understanding why parents feel it's okay to let their kids run around wild on vacation. Luckily we didn't run into much of that on our sailing, other than that one night in Taste, and the most annoying child in the world that was on our shuttle from the hotel to the port (and who thank God was sailing on Carnival, LOL).
  4. I am pretty sure it was 8:30. We had a 6 pm reservation at Teppanyaki and had time in between dinner and the show.
  5. I was kind of disappointed also; they were seated kind of diagonal from me and I didn't see any senior restaurant staff go over to the table, other than their own wait staff who I am sure were getting frustrated with it. Although I was kind of trying to not keep looking over there and to focus on enjoying my meal and talking to my husband. Fortunately for us we weren't right next to it. I have three kids really close in age and when mine were little we usually just got good takeout after they were in bed to prevent the crying or bickering in restaurants issue. And if someone did start acting up one of us would just go for a walk with the child. With these people it looked like the grandparents thought it was cute.
  6. Must have been an itty bitty baby since they have to be at least 6 months to cruise! Oh wow, must have been a real preemie when she was born because she was super tiny and still in one of those front carrier swaddler things that I only used when my kids were newborns. But then again my two boys were big babies. She was adorable and they also had a 2-3 year old that was super well behaved.
  7. Day #4 - good morning Belize! Because it was our 25th anniversary, and because we both love just chilling by the pool and beach, we decided to not do an excursion and to just relax and enjoy Harvest Caye. Because we did not have an excursion and had all day to be in port we slept in a bit, rather than getting right off when we docked at 8 am. We went back to our usual Moderno breakfast buffet and sat outside enjoying our breakfast while we watched the ship pull in, and other passengers disembarking. They had smoked salmon on the buffet that morning which was a nice surprise, as I love smoked salmon on a bagel. That, combined with fresh fruit and a hard boiled egg, made a yummy breakfast for me. My husband also had the fruit, along with a cranberry chocolate muffin (unusual combination but he said it was really good) and a side of bacon. We went back up to our stateroom to put on our swimsuits and were disembarking in Belize about 9:30 am. It was extremely hot that day and I could see that many people were finding it a long walk from the ship over to the resort area. We were prepared for it to be a walk, having read it on Cruise Critic prior to sailing. The cruise line did have golf carts shuttling anyone that was having difficulty walking, and those looked to be running really efficiently. When we got to the pool area we did have to hunt around a bit for two loungers, as there were towels on basically every chair. We kept walking and managed to find two loungers in what to us was a perfect location - in the shade near the pool but with a perfect view of the beach. It was so hot that we spent basically all day in either the pool or in the water at the beach, coming out to hang out on our loungers whenever we got too waterlogged. Other people were doing the same thing, and although there were hundreds of people at the beach and pool the pool was large enough to not be crowded. They had a LOT of lifeguards walking around the sides of the pool to make sure nobody was rough housing, or unruly, or bumping into each other. At no point did I ever see anyone unruly, and for us it was a really peaceful and fun day at the beach and pool. We stayed at Harvest Caye until 2:30 at which point we made our way back to the ship. More later....
  8. Back to our Day #3 dinner at Taste. Dinner that night was a little bit of a blur because there was an extended family group sitting a few tables away from us that had a toddler that was literally screaming his head off the entire time, and a preschool aged child that kept running around the restaurant. At no point did the parents or grandparents take out the screaming toddler (Grandma kept bouncing him up and down on her knee which seemed to make him scream even louder) or try to get the preschooler to sit down and be quiet. I just felt sorry for the parties sitting directly next to them, and even worse for the wait staff that were just trying to do their job and carry heavy trays of food while maneuvering around a little kid racing around. There were basically no teenagers or middle schoolers on our sailing, probably because it was September and many people are reluctant to pull their kids out of school when school has just started. But there were many families with kids ranging from newborn (we kept seeing a family that had a baby that looked to be about a month old) up through elementary school. Our stateroom was located near the Splash Academy program for the younger kids and it was hopping all day long with people picking up and dropping off kids - and every time we walked by it sounded like the kids in the camp were having a wonderful time. For the most part the kids we encountered were pretty well behaved, the exception being that night in Taste and a few other instances where the kids were obviously overtired and being kept up for a late dinner or show. Back to our meal at Taste. I started with a glass of wine and my husband with a beer while we perused our menus. We both ordered the classic Caesar salad as it had been so yummy the previous evening, and my husband ordered the stuffed mushrooms which was one of the appetizer specials that evening. All were delicious, as was my chicken and my husband's fettucine alfredo (evidently he enjoyed what he ate of mine the previous night because he ordered it again, hahaha). The screaming baby was still screaming so we decided to skip dessert and went out for a walk on the decks. We were tired after the snorkeling and, after making a quick pit stop at the Garden Grill to grab some dessert, we went back up to relax on our balcony and enjoy dessert (bread pudding with vanilla sauce for me and flan for my husband). It was so peaceful to sit out there and just watch the ocean waves at night. The middle of the night wasn't so peaceful however. At 2 am we were jolted wide awake by someone running up and down our hallway, banging on doors and making weird bird noises. I was pretty startled by someone pounding on our door like that. After the guy ran up and down the hallway a few more times a guy from one of the cabins near ours went out and took care of the problem - we met the guy later in the week and he was about 6' 5" and built like a linebacker. All became peaceful again and we fell back asleep until our alarm went off telling it was time to get up and get ready for our day in Belize.
  9. Back to Day 3, Tuesday 9/17, Roatan. When we got back to the ship it was already mid afternoon and we had a 6:30 dinner booked at Taste, so we made a quick pit stop at the Garden Grill to get some fruit and cheese to bring up to our stateroom to munch on while we showered and got ready for dinner. We wandered down to the Atrium area and grabbed a pre-dinner glass of wine in the Atrium bar before heading over to Taste for dinner. We had scoped out the menus ahead of time, and the menus for Taste and Savor, located right next to each other, were exactly the same. Each had a selection of entrees that were the same each night, as well as nightly specials. This was also the case in the Manhattan Room, I neglected to post that when I was talking about the Manhattan Room dinner the previous night. More later....
  10. When we were in the cabin we could hear that the captain was saying something (and we figured it was "thirty minutes to muster" because it was 30 minutes to muster, hahaha) but it was so crackly that we couldn't make out exactly what he was saying. I am thinking it was something with our speaker because we had no problem when we were in the common areas of the ship.
  11. We wore our bathing suits, although there were rest rooms at the animal sanctuary where we could have changed into them if we weren't wearing them.
  12. We love NOLA also, we have cruised out of there on Royal many years ago. When we booked our balcony we were able to get 3 "free" options in our package. We chose the Unlimited Beverage Option, the Specialty Dining Option, and the Free Air option. We definitely chose wisely, as we weren't bringing family and friends to sail free (it was our anniversary so it was just the two of us) and I did not want WIFI on the ship, as we are slaves to our phones at home and I wanted to just hang out. We ended up getting a fourth perk "free" from our travel agent - $50 off per room for each excursion booked through NCL but by the time we got that I already had our excursions booked and we did not end up using that. With the Unlimited Beverage Option we basically got any and all drinks from any bar or restaurant on the ship completely free, up to $15 per drink. If we got a drink over $15 we would be charged for the excess over the $15, but that didn't happen for as as we are not big drinkers and mostly had wine, beer, or the drink of the day. It included wine by the glass, beer, mixed and frozen drinks, and sodas. It did not include specialty coffee, although one night we made our own specialty coffee by getting shots of Bailey's and then pouring that into coffee we had gotten from the buffet. Apparently there are also fresh squeezed juices that it does not include, but I never saw the juices anywhere. The wine by the glass list was extensive and I was able to try some different things. There is an upgrade available to a higher beverage package but since we aren't big drinkers it definitely was not worth it for us. I was happy with my glasses of pinot grigio at dinner at dinner and the different frozen drinks I tried from the bar. It does NOT include drinks at Harvest Caye; although that is operated by NCL the government of Belize apparently will not let them extend the drink package to the port. Drinks in Belize seemed to be around $10. When we ordered drinks the bartenders would just scan our ID cards to verify that we were who we said we were and that we did have the package. At dinner the waiter checked the card when we sat down and it covered drinks for the rest of the meal. With the Specialty Dining option we got to do 3 meals at the "specialty" restaurants that normally have an upcharge, instead of eating in the included MDR's or buffets. The three we chose were Teppanyaki, Ocean Blue, and Cagney's. Teppanyaki and Cagney's were completely free with our package, and Ocean Blue did have another upcharge even with the package (I think it was around $15 additional per person but it was awhile ago that I booked it so I don't remember the exact amount). When we arrived our cards were scanned and the meals "deducted" from the three that were included in our package. Had we not had the package we would have paid individually for everything we ordered (Ocean Blue and Cagney's), or paid a flat fee for dinner (I think Teppanyaki was a flat $39 per person, plus drinks if you didn't have the drink package). I hope that helps
  13. OP here - and now I get what the comment meant. Yes, they did take a quick photo to verify identity when we were showing our passports at boarding. I thought she was asking about the photos that the ship photographer was taking for anyone that wanted them, as we were embarking.
  14. We were aware of that - the announcements that we expected to hear and did not were the ones that we were supposed to hear in the cabin, like the one about muster as opposed to the more social ones from the cruise director.
  15. When the other couple arrived we were on our way, after walking a short distance from the port over to where our guide's passenger car was located. He was a great driver and a super nice guy, very informative about life on the island as he had grown up there. He pointed out points of interest and told us a bit about local history and politics as we made the 25 minute drive from the port over to the animal sanctuary. He explained that he was going to be our driver throughout the day and was going to wait for us as we (and the other group) did the sanctuary and snorkel, and then drive us back to the ship afterward. After a 5 minute wait in a covered seating area at the sanctuary while the previous group finished up their tour, we were brought in to see the sloths and the monkeys. I thought that both the tour, and the sanctuary itself, were extremely well done. All of the sloths and monkeys at the hangout looked to be extremely healthy and well cared for. Many of the animals were not in cages at all and were freely moving around the habitat. Our guide explained that the animals form their own "family and friends" groups as to who they best get along with, and that they are housed with their own group and allowed to freely roam with their group to keep them exercised and happy and safe. We entered the sanctuary area in small groups (11 people in our group) so as not to crowd or overwhelm the animals, and took turns holding a sloth one at a time, with a trained guide acting as a spotter to safely transfer the sloth from person to person. Each sloth is only held once a day, by one small group, and are then free in their own habitat for the other 23.5 hours a day. Same thing with the monkeys; our small group was brought to a special tour enclosure with one monkey who was playful and interactive with us, and the monkey was then let outside to play freely on his own with the other monkeys in his group. Great job with allowing the tour groups access to the animals while still allowing the animals to live their best life. After our animal tour we were brought down a pier behind the animal sanctuary and out to the snorkel excursion boat. There were 6 tourists snorkeling and 3 crew members, which to me were great safety odds. After being fitted for fins and masks we set off for the reef. One crew member was in the water with us and the other two remained on the boat, spotting to make sure everyone was safe in the water. The snorkeling was different than what I had done on previous cruise snorkel excursions in that we were in very shallow water (I could basically touch at all times) and in many instances the coral was almost touching me as we floated on top of the water. This for me was kind of a weird feeling. We did see some interesting coral formations, many tropical fish, and an enormous lobster, but I was a little disappointed in that we didn't see any sea turtles or any of the more unusual and brightly colored tropical fish that I have seen on other snorkeling trips in the Bahamas or the eastern Caribbean. It was a lot of fun though, and the scenery was gorgeous. On our way back to the dock we did a little detour over to Little French Key to see the tigers in large cages along the water. Not sure why they have tigers in captivity there but it was interesting and unexpected to see. Our tour guide was waiting for us when we came back off the dock and drove us right back to the cruise port. More later....
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