September 8, 2003
We had a wonderful time on our Holiday 5-day cruise last week. We left out of New Orleans on Monday, 9/8, and returned Saturday, 9/13. I really mean if we could have hidden in the closet and gone back out we would have done it. My husband and I were just not sure that the next folks who were assigned the cabin would appreciate it!
We arrived in NO Airport about 10AM Monday morning and after getting our luggage headed straight to the docks. We were there before 11AM. (Cost of cab, one way, is $28 for 1 or 2 passengers or $12 pp for 3 or more.) They took our luggage right at the curb and we went inside the terminal. There was no one in line so we breezed right through the check-in process. We had our Sail & Sign Cards in our hot little hands before we knew it. We were directed to seats to wait for about ½ hour before boarding. By 11:30AM we were boarding the ship.
We dropped our carry-on bag in the cabin and headed to the Lido Deck for some lunch. Then we did our "get to know the ship" walk. I must admit after some of the things I have read, we were thrilled at how great everything was. We kept cruising by the Bus Stop to see if I could recognize Cotton, who I had corresponded with on the boards, and finally found her out by the pool. (We had said we'd meet at "the Bus" - but never set a time. Real smart!) So fun meeting someone new and have them turn out to be every bit as delightful as I thought she'd be. Got a good hug out of the deal too!
Entertainment: The Pool Bar, the Wharf Bar (with Roger on the steel drums in the afternoon), the Bus Stop (great people watching spot), the Tahiti Lounge (karaoke), Rick's Piano Bar - all wonderful. Doc Holiday's was always very quiet and we didn't stay up late enough to take in the Reflections Disco, although I heard a number of people telling how it was rocking until 2:00 - 3:00AM every night and what a fun time they had. We enjoyed the pools and that great huge slide that my dear husband with all the other adults enjoyed more than the kids! The casino is always a draw for us. I must say it liked our money and wasn't real generous about giving any back. But we had fun there too. One of the women won $1700, so I guess that is where our quarters went. Ha
There was a great Captain's Cocktail Party on formal night (Tuesday) with free drinks and hors d'oeuvres served in the Americana Lounge. Of course, dear hubby and I decided that they had thrown this little party just for us since it was out wedding anniversary! They introduced the Captain and crew and fun was had by one and all.. There were two shows also in the Americana featuring the Holiday dancers and singers. Thoroughly enjoyed both. "Shout" was Tuesday night after dinner with some great old 50's and 60's music. This was followed by a comedian at midnight, who was R-rated and hilarious. Then "Fuego Del Caribe" on Thursday night with Caribbean music and Las Vegas style costumes. We really enjoyed all the shows!
If anyone gets bored - it's their own darn fault. Bingo, shuffleboard, music, ping pong, talent shows, art auctions, dance classes, ice carvings, tours, the pools and casino - I could go on and on. There is always something (usually 4 something's) going on and something to do. Or you can sit on the deck with a good book, which is what I enjoy. I totally enjoyed the relaxation!
Cabin: We had been upgraded from a 4A inside to a 6D outside cabin. Had lots of room. I didn't notice any weird odors in the cabin, but had my "Bounce" sheets along just in case. Put a couple in the bathroom for good measure. The bathrooms had obviously just been redone and were very nice. Big showers, lots of hot water, a bowl full of all kinds of toiletries. We had the most wonderful room stewardess, Joan. I was trying to figure out how to put her in the suitcase and take her home with me. She cleaned up the cabin each morning after we went out, made the bed, changed out towels, filled the ice bucket and even lined my husband's shoes up all nice and neat and folded clothes. I take a nap every afternoon and, of course, mess up those nice clean sheets. We'd go out for a while, wander around, have a few toddies and when we came back to dress for dinner - the bed was all remade - fresh sheets again and more ice. We'd shower and dress for dinner and our evening out and when we came back at night - clean towels, bed turned down with chocolates on each pillow and the sweetest towel animal sitting on the bed waiting for us. We mentioned it was our anniversary and she made a really neat heart with chocolates inside one night. There was a seal, rabbit, pig and the heart. What a wonderful touch!!
Food: What can I say! We were assigned to the Four Winds Dining Room. It was late seating at 8:30PM for dinner, which is a little late, even for us, but we really enjoyed all the meals. Lobster, escargot, chateaubriand, salmon, wonderful breads, soups and salads. Steak every night, if you want it. A whole menu to choose from for each meal including breakfast and lunch. Room service 24-hours a day, the Wharf Grill with hot food buffet, salad bar, the fantastic pizza parlor and ice cream machine. The food and service were WONDERFUL! This doesn't even include the midnight spread up on the Lido Deck every night. It's like the entertainment - if you don't have enough - it's your own fault.
Cozumel: We had decided to go to Mr. Sanchos for a few hours. We disembarked after the crowd left and walked through the mall area to the taxi stands. Lots of nice shops to wander through, for those who like shopping. I'm not a shopper - which my hubby loves! Ha We got to the taxi area and realized that a cab fare to Mr. Sanchos one way would be $14.00. That being $28.00 round trip for the two of us, we decided to rent a little VW bug convertible for the whole day for $32.00. What fun! The guy gave us a map and off we went. First we headed to Mr. Sanchos. (Go to their website mrsanchos.com for all the info.) A beautiful beach, lounge chairs, tables w/umbrellas, showers and lockers provided, all free. There's a huge trampoline in the water, snorkeling, parasailing, bananaboats, and horseback riding. We had great margaritas and beer for hubby (get the coupon from their site for a free margarita or free ice cream if you order food) and the quesadillas and nachos were delicious and very reasonable. Service was great too - not pushy, but there when you want them. We ended up staying for about 4 hours then took off in our "bug" and went all the way around the island. I have to tell you there's not a lot to see but beautiful scenery. Lush green and beautiful blue ocean everywhere! A few places to stop, shop, eat and drink along the way. Also you can go into an area with ruins for free - just drive through. It was a wonderful fun day!
Calica/Playa del Carmen: We ended up docking in Calica. Talk about desolate. A few vendors were set up at the dock, but everyone had to be bused or take taxis into Playa del Carmen. Since I had gotten a little on the sunburned side the day before, we decided to stay on the ship and relax. Everyone had to be back on board by 3:00 anyway. Ate, drank and read. Another great day!
Friday was our last day at sea. We were sad to be heading home already. We met some wonderful people. Were lucky to have nice tablemates - a great couple from Baton Rouge, Louisiana who were also celebrating their anniversary the week before. We met them a number of times for drinks too. And it was great to meet someone from these boards, so I really enjoyed Cotton. Nice people, great service, wonderful food, fantastic entertainment - I mean what else can you ask for in a vacation?!? We REALLY enjoyed the Holiday. She's a GREAT ship!!
Debarkation on Saturday morning was a snap. Waited our turn, picked up our bags and sadly headed back to the airport. We're ready to go again!!