Western Caribbean Cruise (Nov. 2011)

 

This page details information about the cruise we took on Royal Caribbean International (RCI) from 11/11/11 to 11/20/11 for 9 days out of the seaport in Galveston, TX. Several of the other passengers on this particular cruise where Escapees RV Club members.

We opted for an oceanview stateroom and purchased the cruise during a triple discount period; we received a discounted price from RCI during the last 30 days before the sail date, plus an extra  military discount, plus a one day super sale discount. We were lucky to get this cruise for $1,715.98 total cost for two adults (including cruise, port charges, govt. taxes, and gratuities). The advertised price for this cabin in the CCL brochure was $2,325.00 per person (not including any of the add on charges). During the last month or so you can often get a cruise at 70 to 85% off of the brochure rate. So it can pay off in big ways if you can hang on for the huge sales that occur during the last month or weeks before a particular sail date.

Since our RV was parked in a campground in Rockport, TX we simply drove our SUV to the port parking lot in Galveston, TX. We went online and prepaid our parking through the Port of Galveston for an additional savings. Cost for parking for this cruise is $75 if prepaid versus $90 if a person waits until they get to the port.

Our retirement goal is to take one or two cruises per year. Anytime we are near a cruise port, we plan on trying to capture some last minute deals. We love cruising and have not been on one for the past 5 working years. Cruises we have been on in the past (before taking this cruise) include Alaska, Hawaii, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean, Southern Caribbean, and twice to the Mexican Riviera. We are more than happy to go to the same cruise areas numerous times. We feel that cruising, especially at a discount, is one of the best bangs for the buck since cruises include your room, meals, entertainment, and most soft drinks. The only thing not included in a regular cruise package is alcohol, soda, day tours, and specialty restaurants. If you have never been on a cruise, you absolutely need to go on one. As full-time RVers, cruising makes for a great vacation destination that you really should take advantage of. You should be able to acquire most cruises at a discount price of $40 to $100 per person per day; port charges, taxes, and gratuities will always be extra so have some fun finding the best cruise deals you can.

Ship Stats for Mariner of the Seas (for additional info about this cruise ship on Cruise Critic, click here: Mariner of the Seas)
 
Crew: 1,185
Launched: 2003
Decks: 15
Tonnage: 138,279
Passengers: 3,114
Registry: Bahamas
Ship's Star Rating (1 star lowest/6 stars highest): 4.5

 

Mariner of the Seas

Click above photo for larger view!

Oceanview Stateroom

Mariner of the Seas

Click above photo for larger view!

 

Itinerary for this cruise:

 


Date

Port

Arrive

Depart

Fri., Nov. 11

Galveston, TX

 

4:30 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 12

Cruising at sea

 

 

Sun., Nov. 13

Cruising at sea

 

 

Mon., Nov. 14

Roatan, Honduras

8:00 a.m.

5:00 p.m.

Tues., Nov. 15

Belize City, Belize

8:00 a.m.

5:00 p.m.

Weds. Nov. 16

Cozumel, Mexico

7.00 a.m.

4:00 p.m.

Thurs., Nov. 17

George Town, Grand Cayman

10:00 a.m.

6:00 p.m.

Fri., Nov. 18

Cruising at sea

 

 

Sat., Nov. 19

Cruising at sea

 

 

Sun., Nov. 20

Galveston, TX

7:00 a.m.

 

 

Some of the wonderful destinations during this cruise:

Roatan, Honduras:

Imagine a place where lobster is a common lunch fare, traffic lights don't exist and you can hail a taxi on the water. Welcome to Roatan, largest of the Bay Islands, 30 miles north of Honduras. Almost 40 miles long and just 2.5 miles at its widest point, the remote island boasts white sand beaches, pristine bays and spectacular coral reefs.

Belize City, Belize:

Belize has been attracting steadily increasing numbers of visitors as it has become better known as a reasonably priced destination offering some of the best diving in the Caribbean. It also continues to increase in popularity as a cruise destination and is often included as one of the ports-of-call on Western Caribbean itineraries.

Cozumel, Mexico:

Although Cozumel is Mexico's largest and most populated island, it wasn't until the 1960s that this once-sleepy fishing village became a tourist attraction in its own right, following a documentary in which Jacques Cousteau declared it one of the most beautiful scuba diving areas in the world. These days, Cozumel is a major cruise port welcoming more than one million cruise passengers each year and as many as eight ships per day. But even with all this progress, Cozumel has held onto its non-touristy side; only one-third of the island has been developed, leaving large stretches of pristine jungle and sandy beach basically untouched.

George Town, Grand Cayman:

Imagine the stereotypical cruise port -- one with white sand beaches, a plethora of duty free shops selling jewels and liquor, and de rigueur water activities like snorkeling and scuba -- and Grand Cayman might just be the destination the cliché is based on. In addition to the lovely Seven Mile Beach, George Town's retail center and water sports galore, Grand Cayman celebrates marine life at Stingray City and the Cayman Turtle Farm and even offers a twist on island paradise with the town of Hell.


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