Trip report: Sovereign of the Seas, 3 day Bahamas Cruise.
A group of 35 from work went on Jan 10. Left from Boston on Delta. Early am flight. Were there 2 hrs early for 7am flight and needed the time. Long lines. Airline checkin went well, especially since the Florida flights on Delta Express have their own check in area. The security lines however were off the wall. There are not enough scanners to process all the people. They do call for people to "jump the Queue" as their flight is about to leave. Flight was on time. No food service (we all knew this and were prepared). Plenty of time to get bagel prior to boarding.
Transfers to Port: We had transfers (prepaid. Did Air on our own and got great rates). Royal Caribbean Has someone meeting you in baggage claim. Got our baggage and were quickly whisked off to the but. Whole thing only 15 min. (Since we were a group, Delta arranged for us to have "group checkin" on return--see below). Bus trip uneventful, about 45 min. Ship Check in at port went very smoothly. Very well organized. Lots of check in agents. Got our Cruise Cards then off for the Embarkation picture and thru security to ship. Were on the ship by 11.30. OUr cabin not ready so up to Windjammer for lunch.
The ship: Sovereign is older but in great shape. A keen eye will catch areas of aging but overall spotless. Lounges, pool area, bars, casino all "standard issue" for Cruise ships. Lifeboat muster and sailaway were fun. Right at sundown so great view over the Fla landscape. Could also see the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) at the Cape and the Shuttle Launch pads. 2 other ships leaving at same time (Disney Ship and Carnival). The seas were calm the entire trip. No rocking to speak of. It was "cool" when you weren't in the sun but overall nice (temp in low 70s). First night a sea was casual and there was a good song and dance show in the Show Lounge. The usual shipboard activities. Day 2 was Nassau. Ship docks about 11am so you can "sleep in" more easily. Leaves at 2am so evening activities ashore can be done. We went to Atlantis to tour and see the Aquarium and beach. (Did this as ships excursion. Can do it more cheaply on yur own.) Atlantis Resort is unbelievably plush/opulent. Large casino, impressive pools and grounds. Nice beach. They have "excaved" a mockup of finctional Atlantis and you walk by looking at "ruins" with all the fish. I have been to many Aquariums (we have a good one here in Boston) but his was the best (they even tell you this). Fantastic acquatic life. Most impressive were the tanks of Moray Eeels, 2 different tanks of jelly fish, a fresh water tank of piranha, and the shark tank, also the large groupers, tarpon, and many many large schools of reef fish. Don't miss it. 2nd night aboard was "formal/semi formal night" (you get what we call your "prom picture" taken.) RCCL has relaxed the "formality" a bit. I saw no tuxedos. Mainly suits, sport coats, and a few "casual" types. No big deal. Anything goes. Evenings entertainment a good Comedian. Day 3 was to RCCL private island of Coco Cay. Anchored and took tender and had a great/idyllic "day at the beach". Lots of loungers, hammocks to laze in. Also lots of more active water sports available. Water temp about 75 which my South Carolina blood feels a bit cool. Spent the whole day there. Beach BBQ was good. Evenings entertainment "farewell show". We didn't go. Day 4. Disembarkation was smooth. Whole ship emptied in 1.5 hrs and we were off the ship by 9.30. Bus to Orland airport quick.
Return trip. Delta had arranged for us to have "group check in". THey took our tickets when we landed and had preissued our boarding passes. Separate checkin area to check luggage. Very quick and convenient. Orland security efficient and quick. Flight back was delayed by the typical New England bad weather. But we arrived safe and sound.
Comments: We have done many cruises and this was our first "short cruise". I would not recommend a short cruise unless you are money or time limited. On the short cruise you don't get to build the relationship with cabin steward and and wait staff as on longer trips. The ship offerings are less and more compressed. And the main problem is 2 travel days for 2 days at sea. (well 2.5 days at sea). Security aboard ship has increased. They now get a digital picture of you as you board to "marry" to your cruise card info. Each time you go on or off ship you pass your cruise card thru sensor and all bags pass thru scanners getting back aboard. It slowed down getting on and off but not objectionably. Everyone was pleased at the increased level of security and felt "safer".
If anyone has questions, let me know. John Cuttino, Lexington, MA