MITSUGIRLY has a JEWEL of a time on my 1st RC cruise in years!
Day 2: Cruise Day
Rise and shine...or sweat I guess it was. I woke up in a pool of sweat. Yuck! It was 7:30am and I just couldn't bring myself to wake the family up because if they had a night like mine, then they needed their rest.
It was so hot and humid that there was condensation on the floor, which made it very slippery and you really had to walk with caution.
Shower time to clean up and smell fresh again...and of course to cool down. There was also a weird step up into the bathroom...which I immediately tripped on yesterday when we arrived, once in the middle of the night, and just because third times a charm...this morning headed to the shower. Hey, at least no one would be peeking in the glass door this early morning hour right?
After showering, I went outside to take more pictures of the areas I didn't get the night before because it was too dark. Time to head to the roof, where it's rumored (according to Da House) that there's a nice roof top terrace and swimming pool. Of course remember that they also said there was a/c, phone, t.v. and so on as well and none of this was true.
Yep, you guessed it...up the flight of stairs I went...around and around and around. Whew!
Right outside the door...
Wait, there's MORE stairs to climb?
Some people had their own private terrace off to their room. I'm pretty darn sure that the pictures showing my particular room showed me as having one of these too! But it didn't.
So here we are at the top. Do you see a pool?
What about now?
Oh wait...there it is! Or is that a hot tub?
Well I just had to go up and check. Yep, it was the pool!
I kid you not, it looks much bigger in the picture than it was. Now I know that you couldn't have some big pool up on this roof top because there just wouldn't be enough room (and I didn't expect it). However, I thought it might be a little bigger than this. But, had I stayed another night (shy of stabbing myself in the eye for booking more than 1 night), I would have actually gotten in here with Sakari. It would make a good "cooling station" for sure. It was hot out and I would have put it to use!
I was thinking that I also read something about a hot tub. Now there was something that was covered up with wood and I have no idea if that is what it "was". You can see the box in this next picture.
The "view" (hey I see a whale tale over there).
And there was another ship docked too!
Remember the broken skylight?
We were fairly close the fort in the distance.
Now take a close look at this picture...is it just me or do you see 2 satellite dishes on the rooftop? So what are they hooked to because it definitely wasn't my t.v.
Here's another picture just to the left of there...yet ANOTHER satellite dish there as well. Somebody's getting some viewing pleasure...it's just not me!
Now let's take a look at some of the chairs they have for you to sit and relax on up here. Did you notice anything? Let's take a closer look...
Yep, mold! It was pretty disgusting and this just shows me that this hotel had to have had some water damage from the hurricane.
It was hot and I needed to get out of the sun. Back down all the flights of stairs I go.
The fam was finally waking up and it was almost 10am. I was ready for some breakfast and I knew exactly where I wanted to go! MALLORCA!
Kendra and the kids went here with me on our last cruise and I enjoyed the mallorca sandwich and I knew I wanted another...plus the hubby hadn't been there yet.
It was only 1 block over and a very quick walk.
I was told that they were out of mallorca's but he could whip me up another sandwich that would be just like it and even throw some powdered sugar on it. PERFECT!
It was yummy as well.
The hubby is not too adventurous with his food and plays it safe. I always forget that their "toast" consist of something that looks like garlic bread.
Sakari felt like pancakes today.
It was all yummy and the service was good.
Sakari remembered the park across from Mallorca and wanted to go over there to see if there were any pigeons. We headed over while the hubby stood in line to pay the bill.
She just loves birds.
We left off after breakfast at Mallorcas.
If anyone read my review from the Fascination cruise the last time we were here, there was a morning that "B" (my grandson who is very hyper) pissed off pawpaw (my hubs) and we all went to breakfast at Mallorcas minus the hubs. Well, he has been a skater all of his life and we own a sports store (inline skates, skateboards, bmx, scooters, wakeboards etc) and he found a skate shop, located there in OSJ, that he went to visit that morning. Well...they were closed.
This time he was on a mission to check them out again since he didn't get to see the store last time. We decided to walk down to the store, truth be known, I really didn't want to walk back to the hotel quite yet either and we had time to kill before checking out.
There was a cute little restaurant along the way called Marilyn's and they had a neat little set up on the sidewalk with tables and chairs and flowers.
We finally made it to the skateshop and it was closed again. Eh
Someone sitting outside in a truck told the hubs that it's not open on Sunday.
I assured the hubs that we'd try again after the cruise since we were staying until Wednesday. We had plenty of time left to see it and off we went.
Down the street there is another park-line setting.
It was one of the trolley stops too.
They had this gazebo contraption blocked off last time we were here too. Sakari would call this pigeon park the 2nd.
Her and these birds! She actually got one to walk on her hands and she screamed with excitement.
A fountain in the park..I just wanted to jump in.
We finally decided to head back to the hotel and gather our things and check out.
Once at the hotel, we packed our things and gladly left the room to check out.
Once at the front counter, I asked if the guy there was the manager and he said yes. I told him about our lack of a/c and what had happened the night before and that I was told to talk to him about the pricing. He said he would gladly take some money off of my bill. He said I would find a refund on my charge for $79.35. So, the room actually ended up costing me $77.72.
Meanwhile, Sakari volunteered to drag our luggage down the 4 flights of stairs to the entrance. I wasn't putting up a fight about it and let her do her thing.
We asked for him to call us a cab and he did. He said they would be there in 7 minutes and to wait "out front". Hmm, out front as in the front of the hotel on the side or out front as in the main street, which actually isn't the front of the hotel? We decided the main street was best.
We waited and waited and nothing. Finally we just flagged down a taxi coming by and asked if he would take us to the port and he paused and said "oh sure". In we went and off to the port.
Along the way I was snapping pictures. Only a few interesting ones though.
The fort in the distance:
A beautiful church
A firehouse with some old fire trucks.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON DA HOUSE!
I'm sure you can all tell my final thoughts (and your own conclusions as well) but thought I'd give a breakdown/list of things that just makes this place not worth staying at.
1) Mobility limited-no one with ambulation problems could ever stay here. The steps were horrid to carry luggage on.
2) No help from the staff when we were checking in or out...with luggage. It does list concierge service.
3) NO A/C and some BS story about our room being the only room in the hotel, of 4 floors, that was on a different system...ALSO, I did talk to the manager about that and he said "Nooooo, it's all on the same system". LOL
4) roaches-need I say more?
5) filthy floors and torn up with tiles missing and it looked like the room was unfinished with mudding/drywall.
6) Uneven floors: from one room to the next and into the bathroom
7) Glass bathroom door for everyone to see everything that goes on in there. Also, not appropriate for people that might be traveling together that are not a "close family". Site says "private bathroom" :')
8) Mold around the vents
9) Mold on the cushion on the chairs at the roof top
10) Broken skylights that looked like it could fall in on someone.
11) No t.v, No phone, No hairdryer, No iron...all listed as amenities included.
12) Work desk that was unusable (unless you were about 3' tall) and no plugs.
13) Slippery floor d/t condensation on the floor from the heat.
14) Plunge pool listed??? It says rooftop pool AND plunge pool. Hmmm
15) No ice machines. I forgot to mention this one. We wanted ice and I asked at the front desk and he grabbed an ice bucket and opened up a Styrofoam cooler and started scooping ice out of it. Weird.
16) Very hard bed and mattress. Site says "premium bedding"
If there's anything else I have forgotten, I'm sure I mentioned it in the review.
WOULD I RECOMMEND? NO WAY!!! Not now, not then, never again. :(
I do want to plead my case on booking this place however...I didn't completely go into it blind and not knowing what the rooms looked like. I did check their site and this is what I found...
When you look on their website, THIS is what you'll find for the pictures of the rooms that they advertise:
Wait, is that a phone and tv I see on that desk in the above picture???
Now tell me, did my room look anything like any of these pictures? They are definitely misleading for sure!!! What? Do they have 3 rooms set up like this to take pictures and the rest look as bad as mine? Or did I just get the raw end of the deal? Who knows.
GETTING ON THE SHIP
It cost $12 for the cab ride to the port and we arrived at 12:20pm.
Our driver was CRAZY! At one point he pulled out into the road with oncoming traffic both ways. Then all of a sudden a huge bus was coming and I thought I might just tinkle myself. The bus wasn't stopping and he wasn't moving out of the way. He floored it and barely made it out of the way. The bus would have hit my side and I kinda like my side and would like to keep it intact.
At that point, I put away my nice tip I had for him. Like seriously, almost the entire ride there was like that. I wasn't in a hurry and I did say that when we got in the cab "no hurry, we have until 7 tonight" lol.
He sang all the way to the port...ALL.THE.WAY. Of course it was in Spanish and we didn't understand. My husband asked if the taxi job was just a day job and he was really a singer. He laughed and said "I only sing to my customers to welcome them to our beautiful place and entertain them". Then started talking more. So, since he was going out of his way to sing to us, I put the tip back in my hand. He got lucky.
So the first thing I notice here is that we didn't have a place to drop off/check in your luggage and you had to carry it with you in the lines. This just must be a PR thing.
We went and got in line. It was moving FAST!
We checked our luggage in and went through security by 12:50PM. Prior to putting our carry-on's on the security/x-ray belt, I asked the lady about what do we do with our wine we had brought. Do we leave it in our bag or take it out and carry it. She said leave it.
At the end of the security belt, we picked it up, noticed that they had pulled a few people over to a table to check their wine and we were told "that way please"...which was to the lines to check ourselves in with Royal. Hmmm...ok, so they didn't check us for some reason. I'm good with that.
Now let's talk wine. I have NEVER liked wine. It just taste bitter to me. I like the fruity fru-fru drinks that taste like cool-aide. People on here have given me suggestions of things to try and I have just never liked it.
Kendra is the same as me with wine. However, last year she found a wine at a party and told me I had to try it and try it I did and liked it! Thank goodness it's a cheap wine.
We have been drinking this ever since. Then about 2 months ago, we went to Olive Garden and they were giving samples of their wine and we liked it too... probably more than the Arbor Mist.
So now I have 2 options. We decided, for the first time, to bring 2 bottles with us and I decided it would be the Poggio!
After checking in with Royal and flashing my RC-Anchor-bright-pink-tee-shirt-with-all-of-the-ship-names on it that my neighbor let me borrow, we had our pictures taken by the ship photographer.
Then we headed to the ship. This was the weirdest way I have ever gotten on a ship that I can remember. It was on the ground level and you walk out to the deck and around to the ship and on the ship. I'm used to walking up the ramps that wind back and forth leading up to the lobby area.
Here's a picture of where you get on.
SO WE ARE FINALLY ON THE SHIP!!!
It was a super fast experience from stepping out of the cab to walking onto the ship.
For those of you with munchkins:
And the Daily Planner
So let's talk internet for those that are interested.
When we are traveling, we must have internet. I know a lot like to put away the devices because it's vacation, but we have 2 businesses that we need to still have internet access for and communication. I also have to have it for homework for school. Without it, we wouldn't be able to vacation like we do.
I purchased the VOOM (internet package) and the soda package together. You can buy them separate or together or several of them. You save by buying them as a package.
Prior to vacation, I had asked how it worked. I only bought the 1 VOOM package (and 2 sodas) and know that only one can be logged on at any given time. But, I wanted to know if the other person actually HAD to log out before the next person could use it. NCL...makes you log out first. CCL let's you log them out as you log in. What makes the difference you might ask? For us, because we could have been on the computer in the room and forgot to log out and tried to get on upstairs on our phone and couldn't without going back to the room to log out. So, big difference to us.
I was told by members here that you did in fact have to log out of the device that it was logged on.
Well...I'm here to tell you YOU DON'T. Just by logging in, it will automatically log the other out. Woo hoo.
There are several wifi's available on the ship...they trying to confuse me. You want royal wifi
Pick you language
When you check-in at the port, they hand you a piece of paper that will give you an access code for your log in.
This is where you put that code.
Once you are logged on, you get this screen and you are good to go.
Just a little ship info passed out.
Ok, so I have been dragging my feet lately and trying to get my pictures organized and done for the ship.
Doing the pictures for the ship itself is always my least favorite part of the review. It takes forever to make so many folders for the pictures, note what floor it was located on, the name of it and then going through the hundreds of pictures I have and trying to determine where the heck that was and what place.
I may get some of them wrong, but I've tried my best. Some may be grouped together as well. I probably also missed a lot, but I'm sharing what I have.
So, you can click this link to find all of the ship pictures.
After getting on the ship, we just went around exploring and checking it out (and of course taking pictures).
Well hello there Puerto Rico.
SaKari got a kick out of the SaFari club and said it was named after her...but just spelled wrong. For those that don't know how to pronounce her name...it's just like safari but with a "k" as in kari not fari. Sometimes when I yell for her I actually say "kari" instead of sakari.
At 1:45pm, we headed to our room to put our things down. Hubby was carrying around the laptop in his book bag and I still had my shoulder bag I use for vacation loaded with all the "important" stuff.
I decided I would take the plunge and carry my pop cup with me to see how this this works. Now normally NCL gives you a cup with the soda package, but I never want to carry it around with me and leave it in the room. However, give me the chance to have unlimited pop and I can help myself...yep, I'm carrying it.
Still exploring...this is the teen center across from the arcade.
Sakari has been telling me a lot lately that she can't wait to get to this age to be in here. Idk, looks boring to me.
After dropping our things off in the room, we decided we would head inside to see what they offered for lunch.
Now I'm just going to put this out here now...I knew going into this that it seems like there wasn't much option for food late in the evening and I had been warned by everyone already that the options are limited and I would probably starve to death. (We are very late eaters normally). I was also told the pizza was terrible and the premade sandwiches wouldn't be the greatest.
But...no one told me just how GOOD the food was on RC! Amazing! I didn't find much of anything that just wasn't GOOD! I AM VERY PLEASED with the selections and the taste! Absolutely amazing! I would venture to say better than NCL and Carnival...at least in the buffet so far!
Now...for the after hours food...we'll discuss that later.
So, here's lunch, which almost looks like dinner to me but everything just looked so good and it was!
So a little history. From me doing reviews here on cc, I made the most wonderful friend! During one of my St Maarten reviews maybe 2 or so years ago, she messaged me with info because she had actually lived there for 7 years, but had moved back to the US. She told me if I was ever to cruise to St Maarten again and she was there on land vacation, she would show me the sites.
Well, we cruised together last Spring Break (even though we don't live in the same state, our children have the same spring break) and we had a wonderful time. She and her children are amazing and wonderful friends!
We knew last year that we would be cruising again at the same time, so we made plans to cruise together again. Yes, she had the Mexican Riviera booked too and we decided to do this cruise instead and rebooked.
Kia (Thrilled) on here and her beautiful children Xander and Michaela were going to be with us again. We desperately tried to book the same hotel she had pre-cruise, but it was already booked. So, it was a waiting game to find her on the ship...but it didn't take long! We met up on the pool deck and Sakari was so excited to see her that she went running up to her and threw her arms around her and hugged her so tight. Sakari had told me for months that she was more excited about this cruise than any other cruise and it was because Kia and her family were coming "with us".
We hung pretty much the rest of the day there, periodically checking for our luggage in our room...which didn't seem to be showing up.
Finally we decided to head to the kids club to sign Sakari up and check it out. They asked me if she would be allowed to have privileges to sign herself out. Big sigh...."no". I'm not ready for that...not yet. I let Sakari have a little more leeway this cruise than ever before. But I'm not willing to let her sign out on her own and come and go as she pleases.
Sign up was quick and easy and they gave her this to put her card on...
She wore it almost the entire cruise. I'm giving her a little more responsibility these days...she's about to be 10 and has been very responsible with her choices up until now (unless she is with someone that is influential, such as Brayden).
We headed back up to the pool deck to hang out until it was time for the safety drill, which was 6:30pm.
We checked in and before long it began.
The kids club informed us they would be having a Easter Scavenger Hunt from 7-8pm and Sakari was excited to join. Well, the safety drill was not even over until 7pm and then the hoards of crowds made it impossible to move quickly to get all the way back up to the 11th floor to participate.
Once we made it, they handed the kids their "Easter Bag" to decorate. Anyone recognize these bags?
Yep, they are barf bags. LOL
They had us running all over that ship (as all of the ships seem to do every year)...you'd think I would lose a lot of weight cruising.
Of course the other side of her bag had to have a peacock...because it's her favorite bird.
When we made it to the last 2 places on the list, there wasn't anyone there. We were all disappointed! It wasn't even 8pm yet like they said. They had also told us the ending spot was in the Arcade and I guess I'm used to Carnival having a huge party at the end...and there was NOTHING here. Nothing. No people, no nuttin! Well that was a disappointment.
What they handed out was very tiny little plastic eggs. I didn't realize they even come this small. Inside was 1 sticker, 1 pack of very small round pieces of candy and a dinosaur (with each egg being a different type of dinosaur). Hmmm.
Not sure it was worth my time racing around the ship for that, but at least Sakari had fun.
We headed back to the room to find our luggage had finally arrived. I broke the rules of immediately putting our contents from the luggage away and just let it sit. Then I would see what "probably" took so long to get our luggage...
There was obviously something in my luggage that looked suspicious. However, the paper said it wasn't taken. I have no idea what it was.
We found a fruit and cheese plate left in our room. But, we have no idea why or who it came from. Usually there's a note or something and there was nothing. I wasn't even sure it was delivered to the right room. I would later ask our room steward about it and he said "It's yours".
There was also 8 bottles of water. Obviously someone who doesn't know me left it? Because everyone who knows me knows I don't drink water (however, I'll let you all in on a little secret...I have been drinking water right before going to bed and I keep one on my nightstand at night in case I get thirsty). <---shhh, that's a secret. I have a reputation to live up to as being a pop drinker only!
Now knowing that we could possibly starve on this cruise, I decided it would be best to go get our bellies full at the buffet for dinner. I also knew that the kids club WAS OPEN tonight for 1 hour and I was going to take advantage of that! Carnival does NOT open on the first night, NCL does.
Off to the buffet we went.
They had some awesome displays to celebrate Easter. Chocolate fountains, carved bunny fruit, chocolate everything else.
I couldn't believe the amount of huge chocolate eggs and stuff laying all over the place for the taking.
They also had some HUGE chocolate bunnies (not in the picture below and I forgot to get a picture) and these are one's that are bigger than the ones you find in the store!
I guess it's probably a good thing that I don't like or eat chocolate or I would have needed to grab several of those.
But, it was a very impressive Easter display.
Dinner consisted of a baked potato with bacon, cheese and sour cream and a salad and I was very pleased...
until I went to find some desert and decided loaded fries with bacon and ranch dressing would also need to be consumed...along with the desert.
I was happy with the food selections and the taste of everything was great...including the deserts (one thing that NCL can NOT get right).
We were pulling out of OSJ for a week adventure and the party was on!
There's the Fascination...what an amazing vacation we had that time around on her! I was hoping that this would be no different.
Sakari had been begging to go swimming but for some reason, we just never swim in the pool on the first day. It always seems too crowded and I'm just never in the mood.
I knew I wanted Sakari to go to the kids club tonight so that we could head to the casino to check it out. So, I made a deal with her. If she went to the kids club for 1 hour (how long they were open), then when I picked her up, I'd let her swim for awhile. She agreed and off she went.
The hubby and I high-fived each other after dropping her off and skipped happily to the casino...wait...where is everyone? Why are the machines all disabled? FAIL! They weren't even open yet. I assume we just wasn't out far enough yet. Darnit. Night one was a complete failure.
I decided if we can't have fun at the casino, we might as well go back to the room and unpack. Sounds like fun right? Blah
It felt like only minutes after dropping Sakari off that it was time to pick her back up. Sigh. We headed to the pool and gasp...it was closed. Oh no, now I'm the bad mom. Oops. I had no idea they would close by 10pm.
I must think quickly on my feet, I must come up with something equally as fun to do to make up for it. I know...putt-putt!
We made the mistake of taking too long to pick out our putters and balls and a huge group of teens went ahead of us...and stayed and stayed and took forever. We finally decided to skip #1 and head to #2.
I can see the improvement in Sakari's game with each cruise. She actually made several hole in ones...and so did I...and so did(n't) daddy.
By the time we made it all the way around...guess what group of teens were still on #1? Yep, still there...just hanging out. I'm glad I didn't decide to wait on them. It could have been an all night thing.
We decided to hang out in the sports area for awhile.
Sakari insisted in playing a game of basketball. Do you notice anything?
Sakari insisted in playing a game of basketball. Do you notice anything?
I stopped at the buffet to fill up my VIP fancy pop cup and back to the room we went.
It was time for the shower and packing our beach bags for our very first port...TOMORROW!
Sakari would do a quick drawing while waiting for me to finish packing and then I hear a "mom, I have something to tell you"....oh no, I have only heard those exact words twice in my life from my children and both times it was from Kendra and it followed with an "I'm pregnant". Well, I know this can't be the case in this scenario, so...I felt a little relieved.
Sakari continues "For about 2 years now, I've had an imaginary friend named Gola. She is a girl and I talk to her in my mind". Allllrightyyyy then. "This is a fast picture I drew of her, well not really her, but something like her. My picture I drew on the plane was her"
On that note...it was time for bed where I would now dream of dragons racing around in my daughters head.