The ship still had the famous cruise buffets, the only difference was that servers gave you the food, rather than you touching the utensils and serving yourself.
The ship app made it easy to order drinks at poolside or to get room service. You could also use it to make reservations for restaurants and shore excursions. The app had a map of the ship and an event calendar so that you could figure out where activities were and make a choice of what you wanted to do next. Certain activities were open to vaccinated guests only – which I appreciated for safety reasons.
Andrea: Since I have three children, I was amazed at all the family activities onboard. There was a water slide, mini golf, day care, splash pad, movies for kids and a rock-climbing wall. So many activities. I was so excited to see them all and took note for a future family vacation.
Can you give a perspective of the actual trip itself?
Andrea: Our first stop after leaving Miami was for a “Perfect Day at CocoCay,” which is a man-made island that is exclusive to Royal Caribbean. There were so many activities and the island was something out of a movie. You could rent jet skis and kayaks, go snorkeling or swim up to the floating bar. It has one of the highest water slides in the northern hemisphere. What a fun slide it was! There are hammocks everywhere and lunch was free for the entire day. I felt safe the entire day and had a truly magical experience.
Jasmin: We were on the island from about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. when we went back to the ship. They had trams for those who needed to get to and from the ship or to make their way around the island. The cruise line placed hand sanitizer stations around the island in convenient locations, there was social distancing, and chairs and tables were several feet apart.
The next day we were in Nassau, where we hopped on a 30-minute boat ride and visited the Blue Lagoon. When boarding the boat, attendees had their temperatures taken, were given assigned seats within their groups and wore masks. When we arrived at the island, there was an aquatic park where you could interact with dolphins. You could hug them or watch them dance. It was so fun.
Now that you’ve been back, home for about a week what are your thoughts and impressions of this cruise?
Andrea: I’m a true-blue cruiser now. I told family we’re going to go. It was so nice and it would be great to bring my husband and our kids. I would love to try a cruise to another Caribbean island or Alaska.
Jasmin: This cruise was a lot of fun. I was definitely anxious before we went, but I was happy to have experienced the cruise to see how the ships have adjusted—and what remains the same—as the world navigates a global pandemic.