The Boardwalk by far was the most frequented neighborhood for our kids. Between the netted climbing structure and the carousel, the boys were in heaven. Sweaty heads, endless laughs, and fun for both fit the atmosphere of the Boardwalk perfectly. My older son did the Ultimate Abyss many times, my wife did it once, and I joined in a half a dozen times!
The entertainment staff, namely the theater performance group, was one of the highlights of our trip. We saw Grease very early on, and my younger son was entirely in love with Sandy (Jessica) and Rizzo (Laura). He had Sandy in is sightline for 2 hours straight! After the show all he could talk about was Sandy… We had the opportunity to connect with her after the Cabaret show on Deck 4, and he was so thrilled to have a picture with her. She later made his day meter up with us to watch the parade on the final day of the cruise. With colored pictures and shells he had found for her in hand, he happily enjoyed his time with Sandy this evening! We have continued to stay in touch via social media and have much appreciation for their part in our vacation!
Unfortunately, our scheduled showing of Columbus was canceled due to a malfunction with the ship used as a set in the production; however, it was later rescheduled for a late showing on the final night of the cruise. We thoroughly enjoyed the show albeit with a much smaller crowd. We were, however, able to sit in the front row for one more night with “Sandy” and “Rizzo”!
The family had some great “ooh” and “aah” moments at the ice show at Studio B. The main show 1887, was canceled due to an injury, but we were able to see iSkate twice.
Continuing with our unfortunate show cancelation luck, the Fine Line was postponed numerous time through our week due to high seas. They were finally able to have calmer waters near the end of the sailing and did an abridged showing for the performer’s safety. We were all amazed by the talent and athleticism by the performers. The boys loved every second! We did have the chance on our last sea day to see Hideaway Heist, with perfectly calm seas, the performers held nothing back. This show was breathtaking and is a can’t miss in my book!
We didn’t spend all that much time on the pool deck but here is what we did do. My wife enjoyed her books at the Solarium while the boys were at Adventure Ocean. The bar and buffet were conveniently located, and the glass roof was very nice to enjoy the sun while not being beat up by the wind. The boys enjoyed the pools, as well as the splash pad. My wife, older son and I all enjoyed the three water slides onboard! They were all a lot of fun and my son loved “racing” down the Perfect Storm. Little did he know, that even with his huge head starts it was tough to beat an adult! Even with a fully booked ship, we didn’t have any issues finding chairs although we didn’t spend too many days lounging.
Ports of Call
We had a short port stop in Puerto Rico, so we chose to walk around Old San Juan for a bit of eating and shopping. Our first stop was ChocoBar for a little snack, chocolate grilled cheese, cold drinks, and churros! To burn off the sugar we walked around visited a bunch of shops and did our best at stimulating the Puerto Rican economy by spending money! It was a quick stop, but we always love exploring Puerto Rico and always forget how close and easy it is to this beautiful little island.
Another day filled with eating, shopping and beach time! We paid for the roundtrip water taxi that departed from the cruise port. It was a quick 5-minute boat ride straight into town. After disembarking, we were greeted by enthusiastic locals all hoping to grab out attention for tours, umbrellas, and shopping. This stop showed more of the rebuilding process from the hurricane last year but all in all, we were amazed at the progress that has been completed and also illustrates the importance of tourism in the rebuilding of a place like St Maarten.
We walked down Front Street, poking in and out of jewelry stores and souvenir shops, ending out walk at a GREAT restaurant called the Lazy Lizard. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch that paired local flavors with fresh ingredients. It was a fantastic lunch, and I recommend looking them up! We took advantage of their umbrella and cold drink package and spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the sand.
This was our first ever visit to Labadee, and we did have a lovely time. We had reserved beach loungers and shades from the ship which were on Adrenaline Beach. We took the complimentary tram but unfortunately got off at the far end stop and had to walk back to the loungers. The staff were very courteous and helped us with our chairs. Unfortunately, due to the recent storms the beach and water were filled with plastic trash. It was to see our impact on the ocean and how our consumption directly affects the beauty of our world. Every wave brought in more and more trash, and even though the staff was raking it up, it was an uphill battle. After enjoying our BBQ lunch, we decided to head to the protected cove on the other side of the island and enjoy the clear, clean, wave-free water. Later, once back onboard we were automatically refunded for the chairs, I assume other complained about the trash. Labadee was a great beach day for our family, food was, and the boys had fun.
I took a few drone images while in port, Royal Caribbean recently changed their drone policy to allow them on board. However, they do say that they should not be flown while at their private islands. I ended up friending one of the ship security officers, and he permitted me to fly for a few shots!