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GALVESTON TX & Enchanment of the Seas August 28 - 5 nighter PROGRESO & COZUMEL Semi Live Blog

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Howdy Folks!!

In six days we will be heading to the mediocre city of Galveston, Texas for an adventure of nominal proportion. This is cruise #26 for me and first out of the Port of Galveston.

Who:

Me, My beautiful wife Brenda, and our 20 month old son Zander or Z as he's been nicknamed....Oh and this is his 3rd cruise. Side note... I am the OCD planner in the family and use to plan vacations down to the foot step....almost. Now I/we have plans but nothing in concrete with a flexible timeline.

 

Why this cruise?

Research of course...We had Symphony booked for last month for a business conference (We flip houses in San Antonio as a side hustle) but weren't able to swing the massive final payment in time so we rebooked Enchantment for the five nighter, so not to lose all the deposit from Symphony, and sill make to Diamond (only needed 5 points) this year....everyone needs goals.

Also...I feel Galveston has not been represented much and typically has been given a bad rap (I'm from Jersey and don't care 'that' much... but still). Galveston is going though a revitalization and I'll cover that further dawn and next week when we get to town.

...and even more so the cruise is going to the 'up and coming port' of Progreso, Mexico. It a little town up the coast from Cancun, on the north shore of the Yucatan. I hear the pier is 4 MILES LONG!!!!

 

Itinerary!

Day 1: Galveston, Texas

Day 2: at Sea

Day 3: Progreso, Mx

Day 4: Cozumel, Mx

Day 5: sea day

Day 6: Galveston, Texas

 

Cabin:

We are slumming it and maybe a little over cautious. We have a bare bones Inside GTY stateroom on deck two (Never been on deck two). Inside because it is least expensive, balconies were twice the price, and with a 20 month, who is into everything, it scares me that he may find his way on to the balcony.

 

Excursions:

We ae not big excursion people. The Mrs. loves the shopping aspect of cruising and not a fan of the cattle call that sometimes happens with group activities. This time around with a new port to explore, Progreso, we are just going to explore the city and hit the beach. Z loves the water. It is my understanding it is a brisk one hour walk just to get off the 4 mile ship pier. a shuttle bus is provided free so we will be taking that with concern that we will not have a baby seat. Once in town, we will explore the shops along the beach and hit the Corona Beach Club...There is an excursion for this place BUT all the reviews I see say it is a waste of money. It consists of a shuttle ride and two chairs and an umbrella for $35 pp.  The shuttle is free and you can go to the beach for free too. An umbrella and chairs are negotiable I'm sure.  Something is fishy. I'll ask at the excursion desk...maybe.  My understanding that the locals can be extremely pushy with their wares that are set up along the walkways at the port and beach areas.

Bing map of the pier.

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This will be probably my 10th trip to Cozumel and we have done all there is to do there from buying to much jewelry to Senor Frogs and Carlos and Charlie's to swimming with the dolphins & Mayan ruins. With advice I received from y'all we are going to hit up Nachi Cocom at $55.00 per adult and Z will be free of charge. Unlimited drinks, 4 course meal... I am very excited to visit here especially knowing they limit the number of guests to 130 per day (I'll believe it when I see it)

http://www.cozumelnachicocom.com/

Extras:

In my older younger years I am not the big drinker as I use to be and have opted for the Soda Package. We will bring the allotted wine on board that we love from Lake Ridge Winery near @Matt place in Central Florida. As much as everybody LOVES the WindJammier on embarkation day is blows my anxiety off the charts. That whole part of the day where EVERYBODY is clustered in the Centrum/Royal Promenade/Esplanade & the WindJammier drives me a little nutty when I should be relaxing. Ok...focus...I went ahead and pre-booked Chops for lunch to hopefully avoid the whole waiting for 1 o'clock for the staterooms to be ready crowd dealio. Our little guy loves steak and since he's 20 months he can order for free of the kid's menu and help daddy with his ribeye or filet and maybe mommy's salmon. I also pre-ordered some branded RC toys for Z for a surprise for him.

 

Pre Game:

We will be taking the 3+ hours drive from San Antonio to the port area the day before and staying that a quirky looking hotel adjacent to the two cruise terminals aka terminal one and terminal two... The Harbor House at pier 21.  https://www.harborhousepier21.com/. Granted this hotel is owned by Wyndam and the Mrs. likes to do 'local' things, yet this hotel appears to have a mom and pop charm to it. we will walk the two blocks the next day to the terminal. 

We are big 80's rock fans (8 Monster of Rock cruises under our belts) so we will be stopping at the Hard Rock Café in Houston (Right off the interstate) for lunch, on the way, to break up the ride for the little guy and hit a one off restaurant called Shark Shack (unless I get vetoed) for dinner. Side note...Landry's OWNS the food and Beverage industry in Galveston. (Landry's Rainforest Café, Cadillac Bar, Fish Tales, Kemah Pier, Bubba Gump even SaltGrass) we want to eat local fare and enjoy fresh local seafood, and we want to avoid that Landry's chain food...be aware. We will be parking overnight at the onsite parking for the one night fee and leaving the car at the Harbor House's sister hotel, the Galvez Hotel, for free parking during our cruise. I will take the car there day of and they have a free shuttle to take me back to the terminal. I will go solo to retrieve the car upon return.

I have been studying the port and the surround area for months. I go to Google maps and tour the streets and read reviews (with a grain of salt) to lay out my plan of attack of Galveston.

I will be Periscoping our trip the day before and up to sail away day of. I typically put the phone away and do not get the internet package...1. because I'm cheat and 2. I like the disconnect aspect of cruising. I an MOTELYBRUE on periscope.

the link below is a PowerPoint of the master Plan for the harbor area. You will see the plans for the new terminal 3 at Pier 10. Notice the ship that is placed in the rendering is an OASIS CLASS SHIP!!!!! Looks like the Texas market is growing!!

https://www.portofgalveston.com/DocumentCenter/View/2607/Strategic-Master-Plan-Preliminary-Draft-Presentation-Website

Notice upper right Oasis Class!!

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This is how close the Harbor House is from the Whale Tail Cruise terminal... RCCL is one block behind.

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Strategic-Master-Plan-Preliminary-Draft-Presentation-Website.pdf

The Landry's family of restaurants

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We cruise out of Galveston and New Orleans ports. We have been to Progeso & Cozumel many times. Yes, the pier is very long and you take a bus to the bus stop on land.

We will be on the same cruise!  We only live about 3 hours from Galveston as well.  This is a girl's trip for us.

Have a great cruise! 

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T Minus 2 days

Packing has started and house is clean so the pet sitter can take over animal duties.  Just found out Avengers End Game is playing onboard. Need to do a once over on the car tonight. The 240+ mile drive tomorrow from San Antonio to Galveston in 100* heat will take it's toll on my 5.0 Mustang.

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T Minus 1 Day

 

Having a 20 month old give you no chance of sleeping in and today I have ZERO issue with that. Zander is going on his 3rd cruise tomorrow and my incredible wife is 22 weeks pregnant and a trooper. We woke up about 6AM with expectations to be out the door a 9am for the 4 hours journey to Galveston Texas (8:50 we were heading to Burger King for breakfast). This will be my 2nd time to the City of Galveston (I am from NJ and did 11 years in Central Florida too moved to Tx in 2011). My last trip to Galveston did not leave a good impression….Gray, Hot, and Extremely humid!!!  This time Galveston was much nicer. Yes, it was hot but blue skies and a nice breeze along the harbor. We stayed two piers away from Enchantment’s terminal at the Harbor House. It is a Wyndam hotel and worth the $161.00. We are able to park at there sister resort The Galvez for FREE while we are away and had a free shuttle.  For lunch we made a pit stop at the Hard Rock Café in Houston. We belong to ever restaurant email club and had a free entrée for the wife’s birthday coming to us, and we love HRC so we stopped at the Houston location. We checked in to our hotel around 3pm ish and rested up before we headed out to explore and find dinner.

 

 

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Dinner

 

We hit up the Shark Shack on The Strand. The Strand is Galveston’s tourist district/French Quarter/Downtown Disney area. Local shops and mom and poop restaurants. It is also loaded up with Landry concepts… don’t fall for fancy names…it’s only Landry’s in disguise. I did the stuffed shrimp, wifey did fish tacos, little guy did the mac n chz. Real good meal, good staff, and decent prices.

 

 tomorrow we sail!

 

 

 

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View from our room window. Whale Tails typically dock where the Blue ship is. RCCL's terminal is right behind that

 

 

 

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Shark Shack!!

 

 

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Stuffed Shrimp

 

 

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Zander's Mac N Chz

 

 

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Wife's Fish Tacos

 

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Cruise Day 1

 

It’s Time!  Having a toddler is always an adventure let alone traveling with one. Typically, I would not set an alarm on cruise day but guess who was up at 5:30 AM.  I checked the Galveston Web cam and chat feed and Enchantment was on it’s way into the channel.  I headed out to the pier and watch my ship come in.  It took roughly 45 minutes for it to make it to the dock. I will post the periscope link once I find it.

 

https://www.pscp.tv/w/1ZkKzADzdwdxv?t=3s

 

A little side note, yesterday Aug 27, as per reported on RCBlog.com Enchantment was having propulsion issues. It was very confusing. Matt reported the issue but Royal made no mention of it on the website. The Enchantment Aug 28 2018 Facebook page said nothing and nobody on the page confirmed that they received any email about port time changes or issues of any sort. I didn’t get any email either.  Very Odd?!.

 

Plan of execution

 

  1. Out the door at 9:30
  2. Drop wife and son at port with luggage
  3. Drive car to sister hotel for free parking
  4. Take hotel free shuttle to port
  5. Get inside and check in

Total time 1 Hour

 

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The waiting area was a little convoluted, but nothing to complain about. It seemed folks just sat wherever regardless of C&A status. Terminal is nice. No real difference from a Florida terminal. We approached the check in desk with only one couple in front of us. Galveston only has a separate check in line for Suite and Pinnacle folks. At 10:30 AM it didn’t matter.  We boarded exactly at 10:57. It must have been high tide for I have never seen a gangway ramp as steep as I seen today. Poor wheelchair pushers .  First item of business R-Bar  to take the edge off with a Texas Tea, and casual walk to Chops for lunch. I had made reservations for 11:30  and paid for it a few months back (as per @Matt advice to break Up the cost of the vacation).  Arrival time 11:26 and was told Chops does not open until 12 noon. Not happy!! & HUNGRY BABY ALERT!!.  We took a quick tour of the ship and made it back for noon lunch

 

Lunch:

 

Chop’s Grill.

 

Me:

                Wedge Salad with Ranch not Blue Cheese

                6oz Filet Medium

                Key Lime Meringue Pie

Wife:

                Charred  Beef Carpaccio

                Scottish salmon Steak

                Apple Pie

Zander:

                Ate the side of Mac N Chz, some French fries and some of daddy’s steak.

 

We ordered ALL the side dishes. Inside info that they let you do. I tried to remember to take pictures. I remembered…sometimes.

 

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Sail away Periscope 

https://www.pscp.tv/w/cEBA-Tk2ODQ4MTJ8MXJteFBYYUVFUHl4TlHaJLhAP0HV4laJqxU1sF4shmuHUiClVYD9vyJAEbYr?t=1s

 

Our stateroom was ready shortly after lunch and were greeted by the cup for the soda pkg, chocolate chip cookies and 4 bottles for water all complimentary from either C&A or our TA. Couple things needed attention. One  water was delivered for my CPAP machine but no extension cord, the beds were not pushed together, amenities that we order for the baby were not in the room upon arrival, no crib that was requested by email beforehand and we needed the ladder for the bunks removed from the room. They were the first thing the baby ran to.  None of these were any big deal and were taken care of immediately by Humberto our steward.

 

With my wife being pregnant she tends to nap often. Zander likes his naps too. So they did exactly that then I took Zander up to the kiddie splash zone on deck 9.

 

This is my first time ever having early dining.  My wife pitched a fit in September that we had late seating for dinner. Even though 5:30 is a typical dinnertime on land, on a cruise it is too early. It is  rush to get to the MDR on time and interferes with shows, activities, and being in port, and especially today when we had lunch close to 1pm. With late dinner you can snack at the Windjammier or Park Café for a roast beef sandwich.

 

Dinner:

 

MDR 5:30pm

 

We have an incredible wait staff. Michael from the Philippines and his assistant Arroyo (sp) and Head Waiter Petar. I helps crew to remember you, I think, When you have an adorable baby with you. No pictures of the food tonight.

 

Me:

                French Onion soup

                Classic Caesar Salad

                Prime Rib

                Royal Chocolate Cake

 

Wife:

                Classic Caesar Salad

                I don’t recall

                Sugar Free Dessert

 

Zander

                Kid’s Pizza and daddy’s Prime Rib

                Cookies

 

After dinner we took a stroll around the pool deck and headed to the room. We hit the hey early as we were all exhausted from our travels thus far. Tomorrow. Day 2 Sea Day

 

 

               

                PICTURES TO FOLLOW SHORTLY

 

 

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Cruise Day 2 A Day at Sea

 

Let me back up a little.  In reference to check in…My wife is 23 weeks pregnant. RCCL limits pregnancy to 24 weeks on Disembarkation Day,  but no one ever asked if she was pregnant, (it would be rude if they did) and most likely no one would if she was 30 weeks either. I guess this is a rule that is only a concern if you go into labor but then again that is too late.  Anyone have any experience with this??

 

Another early day with the baby Zander. We always do breakfast at the Windjammier. I noticed RC is now cooking their bacon to my and most folks and likely everyone’s liking…crispy!  Another observation. They do not serve bananas in the Windjammier in the morning….odd.

 

Beautiful partly cloudy day.  We are not ‘lay out by the pool’ kinda folks.  We attended the Art auction as we occasionally do. Free Champagne is always a plus. Wifey likes the art and I ended up surprising her with a Thomas Kinkade portrait of the American Flag and Statue of Liberty. She completed 30 years in the Navy Reserve last year and I found the portrait to be fitting for her.  Lunch at Windjammier then a quick donation to the casino while mommy and baby napped.  

 

Many folk complain about the age of this ship. The only things that, to me, make it appear dated in the exterior has a lot of rust and that cigarette smoke has just permeated everything around it. You can smell smoke all the way to the Centum on deck 5 and the forward elevator atrium on 4 5 and 6. Everything else about Enchantment is fantastic.

 

I find it odd that the run movies in the room that are 3 hours long. Today was Aquaman. I never got to see the full movie for it always ran into other activities

 

Day 2 is formal night and we didn’t overdo dressing for it. Khakis and a dress shirt for me, fancy slacks and blouse for the misses and a Tuxedo onesie for our son.  I am an extremely picky eater, but I am consciously trying to “try” new things. This trip it’s escargot eh the garlic

 

Me:

                Escargot

                Classic Caesar Salad

                Filet

                Royal Chocolate Cake

 

Wife:

                Classic Caesar Salad

                Filet

                Sugar Free Dessert

 

Zander

                Fruit cup

His own Filet

Cookie & ice cream

 

 

 

After dinner we headed for the pool deck to walk of some calories and enjoy the peacefulness of the outdoors.  It early to bed for mommy and baby, and I headed to the casino for some Roulette and had to shower to get the smoke off me upon returning to the cabin.  Wifey is highly sensitive to it.

 

PICTURES TO FOLLOW

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                Cruise Day 3

 

Today We get to go to a new port that we have never heard of before this booking let alone been to.  Progreso Mexico!! 

 

Breakfast was at the WindJammier as usual.  I have never done breakfast in the MDR. Breakfast is more of  grab and go type situation for me.  We docked later than a typical port.  So we had plenty of time to eat and get down to Deck 1 to disembark the ship.

 

As previously mention Progreso has a FOUR MILE long pier.  It is not a typical wooden/cement pier. It is land extended for four miles into the Gulf Of Mexico. Two lane road and multiple turn offs and building along the way.   Progreso offers and free shuttle to the downtown area and then you are free to explore. Right where the ship docks there are some chatzky stores and the usual Duty Free shops offering free tequila shots. The shop owners and hawkers are relentless everywhere here. Worst I’ve seen. A simple No thank you does the trick most of the time. The heat was unreal. 88* F but is felt like 110*F. Oppressive is putting it lightly. The bus drops you a central bus depot and it is a 4 block walk to the beach area IF you can find your way out the maze of shops. After doubling back 2 times we found our way.

 

RCCL offers an excursion for the public free beach.  $35 pp will get you a bus ride, access to the beach and two loungers and a palapa.  Umm,  bus is free for everyone… beach is free for everyone…lounger and palapa you can haggle to $10.  Am I missing something??  Along the beach are mostly restaurants that offer seating on the beach. We have a simple beach tent to protect us from the sun. This ‘tent’ folds up into a sack that is ¼ the size of a shoe box. Quick set up and tear down. We bought is on Amazon real cheap.

 

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https://www.amazon.com/Venustas-Umbrella-Outdoor-Shelter-Lightweight/dp/B07PNW1WPB/ref=pd_ybh_a_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=7MGHW9HQSFG72NJ0BKZQ

 

I hit up the convenient store across the street for some soda and water.  I was thrown off for a moment when saw a 1.5 Lt bottle for water for $14.50….Yes with a dollar sign. BTW the Peso uses the dollar sign also.  Easy translation 20ish pesos to a dollar….so 85c. The diet Pepsi Black was .5 Lt for 40c.  Prices for locals are amazingly inexpensive….Tourist areas not so much!!

 

We spent about two hours at the beach and headed back to a restaurant that was handing out little flyers on the way to the beach. Barlovento Restaurant and Bar had little dollar margaritas so that peaked my curiosity. Since my wife is pregnant I had four, two for her and two for me. Quesadillas and fries for me and the baby, enchiladas for the Mrs. she also had some Mexican flavors fruity water. $47  DOLLARS!!!  Return bus ride was quick and painless for I hate shuttles and waiting on them to fill up to capacity.  This one filled up quick.  We were back to the ship by 1:15.

 

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That's the NOT the ship in the distance....that not even the half way point to the ship!!!

 

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Check out this old school high chair!!

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One question I had right off the bat was will the casino be open while in port?  The ship is docked 4 miles for the coast of Progreso….essentially International Waters?  Nope not open.  Upon return it was nap time for the baby and mommy. I walked around a bit, then before you knew it was time for dinner.   

 

Dinner

 

Me

 

French Onion Soup

Caesar Salad

Chicken Parm

Royal Chocolate Cake

               

 

                Wife

                IDK

 

                Zander

                Fruit Cup

                Steak off kids menu  NY Strip

 

After dinner walk led us to the ventriloquist show at the theater. I was a little hokey and nice and lighthearted.  Zander being your typical 20 month old got bored real quick and we made our exit to explore some shops and head to the room.  I then headed to the roulette table to turn $40 in to $240. Now I’m even. Of to bed. Tomorrow Cozumel and Nachi Cocom!!!  1st timer here

 

 

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someone is sleeping.

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this is part of the dock/pier in Progreso

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Zander waiting for steak!!

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These were cool. Fold on this sailing's FB page talked about hiding Rubber Duckies around the  ship.  They had dozens we found one for Zander. It took us to day 4 to find one, but we did!!

 

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Enchantments "added" 70+ feet of ship that was added after the original build

 

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25 minutes ago, MotleyCruiser said:

We have a simple beach tent to protect us from the sun. This ‘tent’ folds up into a sack that is ¼ the size of a shoe box. Quick set up and tear down. We bought is on Amazon real cheap

This is the tent I just brought on Freedom! It works so well. There are thousands of Amazon options, I am surprised we got the same one. Took me 5 months to decide on which! haha

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18 hours ago, DDaley said:

This is the tent I just brought on Freedom! It works so well. There are thousands of Amazon options, I am surprised we got the same one. Took me 5 months to decide on which! haha

I got the idea from either this board or another a was reading. Most likely I got the idea from you...lol  thx maybe??!!

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Cruise Day 4

 

Cozumel today.  Another late docking.  We watched as we approached the International Pier from the WindJammier.  First thing I noticed was that Harmony was in port.  With all the itinerary changes, I compared everything @Matt had posted and none of the rerouted ships were supposed to be here. More itinerary changes had Harmony docked right with us.  No problem we were booked at Nachi Cocom that limits the guest experience to 130 people (more on me being OCD and that later) 

 

 

 

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Breakfast was the usual, BUT I want to point out again that bananas are STILL not available on the WindJammier buffet. My guess is folks grab extra and waste them.  Zander is a banana fiend so day 2 I saw Petar, our MDR Head Waiter, and he grab one for him. Everyday since, once he sees us he runs and grabs one or two for Zander.  A+ service.  Never seen this from any head waiter in 25 previous cruises.

 

Disembarking was easy breezy. We hailed a cab  at the street. They had zero issues with a 20 month old with no car seat, he drove like a maniac (I was born in NY), but we got there fast.  Upon entering and paying your balance and grabbing my first Rum Punch and Virgin Pina Colada they escorted us to a great shady area under two palm trees and brought us two little tables for our drinks and lunch once it came.  Water was great. There was a lot of seaweed but no big deal.  Waitstaff was always around and willing to get you your drinks. A menu was provided for lunch.  That’s a plus I was assume it would be a buffet like Playa Mia provides. Food was delivered to our loungers. Food was decent quality. We had no complains.  As far as me being OCD.  I count things and there were 146 guests at Nachi today.  No big deal. It was NOT crowded.  A few people in the ocean and a good amount in their fresh water pool …with swim up bar I may add 😊.  More Rum Punch (probably 10 in total). They weren’t icky sweet like Mia Tais and Bahama Mama can be and not heavy like Pina Coladas are.  This was the highlight of the cruise and I am not impressed easily at all.

 

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This is a crowded as it gets!!!

 

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Little too much seaweed

 

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Your entrance podium at the far right. your first drink 10 feet to the left!!

 

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WiFi password.  worked perfectly!!

 

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Zander's first doo rag...lol  have to protect the baby skin

 

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Beat this!!??

 

 

We had issues with the return time. Between the Cruise Director’s morning show, the Cruise Compass, The plaque at the gangway, and the Captain’s announcements we were given 3 different ‘All Aboard” time. 3pm, 4pm and 5pm. The plaque at the gangway said 5pm along with the CC so we went with that.  Also, comes out Harmony was here overnight at least one night. We made it back with plenty of time to spare.

 

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Taxi ride back knocked someone out!!  ZZzzzzz

 

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Size does matter

 

 

 

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Dinner

 

Me

French Onion soup

Caesar salad

Prime Rib

 

Wife

IDK

 

Zander

Fruit Cup

Ny Strip Steak

 

 

 

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I use to collect books of matched from the mid 70's until 2003 when smoking was banned everywhere in Orlando. They I started collecting Casino chips as souvenirs and now collect them. I must have 100 or so. Mostly $1s & $5s

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Wow that seaweed was terrible.  We will be there on a future sailing.  I am skeptical booking now.   The whole experience and limited number of guests sounds fantastic, but it kind of rules out the beach experience of being in the water and chilling up on the sand.  I know there is a pool and bar etc, but I can do that on the ship and its already paid for.  This is just my own personal thoughts when seeing the pics.  Ive heard they are working on the seaweed issue so hopefully its resolved by the time we are sailing. 

Loved the hotel and saved it for when its time for us to reserve accommodations.!

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