Our 2018 Brilliance of the Seas Cruise – Day 3: Day at Sea

As much as I love days in port, I love days at sea. They are our chance to relax and enjoy the ship. We hang out in our room more than our days in port, sometimes we even get a nap in! We also walk around the ship a lot, check out the fun activities the cruise director and staff have prepared, and browse the shops. Our first day at sea was delightfully relaxing.

 

As usual the day started nice and early!

At least the day started with some room service at 6.30.

We filled out the room service card the night before so that we had some coffees, pastries, and fruit for us and the kids. (The continental breakfast is free, other breakfast items will have a service charge for delivery)

Hunter was already out for his first nap of the day but the time that Autumn and I were ready for breakfast, so Price hung back with Hunter to watch some news while he napped.

 

Autumn and I headed up for breakfast around 8am since our room service was basically a snack for Autumn and we still needed to eat.

Even though Autumn had already had room service and breakfast at the Windjammer, she was hungry again for a snack to enjoy before we dropped her off at Adventure Ocean to play with the other Aquanauts (3-5yrs). We hung around Latte-tudes coffee shop while she enjoyed another 2 croissants, and I enjoyed a specialty coffee. (Extra fee)

As soon as the Adventure Ocean program was open at 9am, Autumn was sprinting through the doors. She was ready for a morning of fun.

Peace Mom. BYE!!!!!!

I then met Price, who had been walking around with Hunter after he had taken him to the Windjammer for breakfast. They enjoyed their breakfast and now I was going to get in lots and lots of steps walking around Hunter for his mid morning nap. We looped the walking track over and over again.

Step Goal… Crushed!

Price and I just enjoyed getting to relax and walk around the ship, we walked all over from the running track to the duty free shops.

We picked up Autumn from Adventure Ocean for lunch time, just before it closed at noon. She had a great morning session as they crafted and made super hero capes. There even was superhero face painting. It was a real honor so have lunch with Wonder Woman!

For lunch, I went with the Indian Food since there are no local places to us, so I am always craving it. Also, I had to support the head chef who plans all the Indian dishes, that we met in line getting back on the ship in Key West.

After lunch, we went back to the room to get Autumn changed for some splash pad fun.

The Brilliance only has a kids splash pad, so Hunter was not able to go in. Kids need to be fully potty trained to use the pools and splash pads on this ship. (Some ships have splash pads that infants can use.)

Our afternoon was pretty relaxed with hanging out in the room after Autumn had fun playing at the splash pad. It was just what we needed after all the walking we had done in Key West the day prior. Plus, Autumn getting a change to relax is needed so that we all have a great time, even if that means we watch the same Sheriff Callie over, and over, and over again throughout the cruise.

We all got ready Formal Night!!

It’s a great chance to snap some family pictures together all dressed up.

Ah, the guys!!!

While these are just quick phone pictures, I really treasure these pictures together. Life is busy so we often just snap pictures of the kids, so it’s nice to take a moment to get dressed up and take pictures with the kids and as a family.

(I don’t and won’t buy a photo package, I just don’t like the posed prom style pictures that they do in front of a backdrop.)

Even if the kids aren’t looking AT the camera, or even in the same direction, they are still great pictures as we are

 

After pictures we headed back to the room to change Hunter because we wanted his outfit to survive more than him wearing it 30 minutes. We also changed so he wouldn’t ruin our outfits with messy dinner hands as well.

Then it was time for the kids to have dinner in the Windjammer.

Autumn was starting to be a pro at the soft serve machine.

She was really in her glory with all the ice cream we were letting her have since we only do “special treats’ on Fridays when at home.

Love this fool.

We dropped the kids off at the Nursery and Adventure Ocean when they opened so that we could go back to our room, get ready again, and have dinner in the Mistral Dining Room.

Dinner, with one of the bottles of wine, we brought was fantastic!

 

After dinner, we got the kids and headed back to the room to crash after another busy, fun, sun- filled day!

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Our 2018 Brilliance of the Seas Cruise- Day 2: Key West

Price and I had been to Key West in 2013 for a day as part of our “Babymoon” in the Florida Keys when I was pregnant with Autumn, so we were really looking forward to going back to Key West. We had so much fun the first time that I was really excited that this was a port of call for us on this cruise.

The day began as it typically does with the kids getting up and politely requesting demanding breakfast. ha! Timing didn’t work well with getting ready at the same with with both kids, so we did our typical divide and conquer strategy and Price took Autumn to breakfast first, then I followed with Hunter.

Once we were all together and organized we really began our day.

The Adventure Ocean Kids Program was open starting at 9am, so we heading right up then so Autumn could have fun in Aquanauts (3-5yrs) before we went to port.

While Autumn was at Aquanauts, Hunter napped and we got ready.

 

As that time in Key West was limited, at least compared to some other days in a port (11.30am -5.30pm), the line to get off the ship and on to the free transportation to Mallory Square, was fairly long, but it was well organized and moved along fairly quickly.

Our first stop in the port was Cuban Coffee Queen’s waterfront location, that Price and I had been to before, and had been dreaming of ever since we had been there years prior.

The coffee is strong and the sandwiches are fantastic. We couldn’t pass up getting them while we were in Key West again. It brought back so many good memories too.

While we waited for our food, Autumn and I wandered around the shops around there.

We decided to take our sandwiches to go so that we could walk and eat, allowing us to get back to sight seeing as soon as possible.

We wove our way over to Duval Street , checking out the amazing architecture as we went. I love getting to see the details of a house, fence, gate, garden that wouldn’t be noticed if we took at trolley through the town. Granted, we are missing out on the history of some of these places that we would hear about during a guided tour. But we think it’s an okay trade off to get some miles under our feet. Helps work off the sandwiches!

 

Can’t resist a good pineapple spotting.

Our main destination for the day was the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.

Price and I had been there previously and we knew that Autumn would enjoy it. Plus, we would enjoy getting to go again as well.

 

Walking through the hot, humid conservatory makes you feel like you have been transported to a tropical jungle. It really felt like that on that day since Key West was rather cold that day too.

The butterflies fly all around you as you walk through the conservatory. They sometimes even land on you!

Autumn was doing her best impression of flamingos Rhett and Scarlett.

Price and I loved the Butterfly Conservatory again. It’s so fun getting to see all the different butterflies flying around, sitting on plants, and eating from fruit and flowers.

I think that Autumn appreciated the butterfly conservatory but her main interest was the gift shop. She picked out a big kit of butterfly and insect books, coloring books, stickers, and tattoos. It, unfortunately, also came with a big fake spider that has scared me on the cruise and at home more times than I’d like to admit.

You can’t visit Key West and not get a picture at Southern Most Point, so we headed over there after we left the Butterfly Conservatory.

It was fun to think about how the first time we were there, Price and I were starting our family, and now we are visiting again and our family is complete.

Florida. Ah, you have my heart now.

 

Then we headed back up Duval, working our way back up to Mallory Square.

The are times when the crowds can make the sidewalks crowded  and the pace slows way down (I do walk quickly- so this is torture!)  or just plain difficult to pass but it’s still really enjoyable to check out the shops and the beautiful architecture along they way

Stopping at Rum Bar was another must do for us.

We went last time,but I was unable to drink as I was pregnant at the time. But nothing was holding me back this time!!!!

We sat outside on the beautiful wrap around porch, I ordered a big, glorious mojito, drank half and then Autumn knocked it over. #kids

Since I basically forgot to pack Hunter pajamas for the cruise, we ran into the Gap on Duval Street. And then we made another quick stop into Walgreen’s before we headed to Key West Key Lime Pie Co. on Green Street. Getting a slice of Key Lime Pie on a stick was a must do for us.

The Chocolate Dipped Key Lime Pie on a Stick was perfect!

Only then, were we able to happily head back to the trolley to take us to the ship.

The lines to get back on the ship were a bit crazy, but we happened to hop over into a line that was near empty. We think that most people thought it was a staff line since it was so empty, but our risk of getting redirected to back where we were paid off.

Bye Key West!!!!!

 

The kids were hungry when we got back to the ship, but the Windjammer was not yet open (opened at 6pm), so I headed over to Park Cafe to grab a soup and some fruit to carry them over until it opened.

By 7pm, the kids were fed, cleaned up, and ready to go to Adventure Ocean.

Price and I then got ready for our own dinner in Minstrel Dining Room at 7.45. It was great to have some time to ourselves without having the kids interrupt our meal. It felt just like a Date Night!!

Our sweet room steward made a sting ray beach towel for us. Autumn got a real kick out of it.

We all got ready for bed and crashed. It was a long, fun, extra delicious day. Thank goodness we walked all those miles!

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Our 2018 Brilliance of the Seas Cruise- Day 1: Embark

Woohoo!!! Cruise Day!!!!

The day is finally here!!! We’ve been looking forward to going on our Royal Caribbean cruise since we booked it in October. We were counting down the days!

We were so ready for the day to come.

Except we forgot to buy our wine (2 750ml bottles per cabin) that we can bring on the ship, so I had my dad stop on the way over to get us wine. (And then I also made them go to the post office for me while I was gone since I am on top of things- not!)

We dropped the dogs off for boarding at Tampa Bay K9 Solutions on our way to the port. It was tough leaving them for the week, but we knew they were in good hands.

The check in process was fairly quick and painless with fast moving lines and friendly port agents. Hunter even fell asleep on my in the carrier. It made for a funny ID photo of half his face and most of my boobs. At least it gave everyone a laugh every time we had to scan his ID.

Made it through check in and before we knew it, we were on our way to board the ship!

 

As rooms are not ready until 1pm, we went directly to the Windjammer for lunch with our stuff.

It was difficult to find an available table but 2 really nice women let us crash their table and then we were ready to dig in.

After lunch we went to our stateroom (#8500) to get settled.

With it being flu season, and there being recent Niro-Virus outbreaks on cruises, we brought cleaning supplies on the cruise and gave everything a good wipe down. Impressively, every wipe was still white after using it. I wish my house was that clean.

Besides that, we unpacked our bags and put all our stuff away.

Don’t we all attend our Muster Station Drills in the theater in our bathing suits and sunglasses?

You certainly can’t tell a determined 4 year old who is in V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N that she can’t go in the pool, even if it is cold.

Tampa was pretty chilly (upper 60’s) that day, so Autumn got a big cheer from the people around the pool when she jumped.

Cheers!!!

Price’s favorite cruise drink is a Miami Vice (half pina coloda, half strawberry daiquiri) so that was his first drink on the cruise, while I enjoyed a Pina Colada. The best way of kicking off vacation!

Autumn didn’t last long in the pool, but that didn’t seem to bother her as she was then able to enjoy a Virgin Pina Colada.

 

And then we were on our way!

Our stateroom was located right at the bow so we had the most amazing view of our journey from port to port.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten that you could reserve your time for dinner online so I never did that for our “My Time Dining” dinners, which apparently a lot of people did not. We got to the Mistral Dining Room (MDR) right when it opened, but it was packed, and there was no availability until 7.45. So we snagged that time for the rest of the cruise and made our way to the Windjammer for our dinner.

While it was a bummer to not get dinner in the MDR, it was still great to not have to do dishes and enjoy a good meal with my family.

The exciting first day of our cruise really wore Autumn out and before we knew it bedtime was upon on us!

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Our 2015 Vision of the Seas Cruise: What We Ate

We took a 7-day Royal Caribbean cruise on the Vision of the Seas to visit the Western Caribbean for my 30th birthday/pre-wedding honeymoon. We visited Cozumel and Costa Maya in Mexico, Georgetown in Grand Cayman, and Belize City in Belize, sandwiched between 2 days at sea cruising.

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{Saturday: Embarkation Day}

Lunch

We got on the boat right around the time that Autumn eats lunch (12-13.30) so we immediately went up to the 9th deck to grab food in the Windjammer restaurant.  Plus, we couldn’t get into our room until after 1pm anyway.  So we grabbed some food and some chairs by the pool for lunch.  They offered a lot of options but we just grabbed some burgers, fries, and fruit.  Plus, on a whim I grabbed a hot dog which Autumn actually enjoyed, which was a big win and a first. As well, she ate almost a whole Kiwi. Where does she put it? I wish I had her secret.

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Autumn had her first taste of ice cream!

Dinner

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We selected My Time Dining which allowed flexibility in dining time.  We weren’t too sure how Autumn would do at the end of long days full of activities. Ultimately, we always picked the 5.30pm seating since it was the closest to the time that Autumn normally eats dinner and allows us to eat at an adult time.

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We arrived right at 5.30 for our My Time dinner reservation at the Aquarius dining room. We were seated pretty quickly and from there our waiters, menus, and bread arrived shortly after that in succession. Our server Peamkait and his assistant Shandy were great the whole dinner, and every subsequent dinner.  Quick, friendly, and really sweet to Autumn, youngest of 4 infants on board and therefore youngest person on the entire cruise 🙂

I wasn’t too sure what the policy was for ordering dinner for a baby, but Peamkait reminded me that we did pay for her and to order whatever we thought she would like.  We took advantage of his generosity and went for yogurt and fruit.  So that worked that night and from then on.

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Each dinner is a three course experience with mainstay entrees and special menu items for each course that changes from one day to the next.  Our first course begin with their coconut soup with seafood in it while Price got the shrimp cocktail, and we ordered the fresh seasonal fruit for Autumn.  I think that because she ate so much fruit at lunch she didn’t want it for dinner but we tried and it was really good with the lime syrup.  As for my soup, both Autumn and I loved it.  She probably had more than me! It was creamy, with the exception of the pieces of seafood in there and the thin vegetable garnishes on top. Price’s shrimp cocktail was simple but really good with 6 fairly large shrimp.  Once served to you they quickly follow up with the cocktail sauce, serving you how much you would like.

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The theme for the first night dinner was ‘Mojo’, in reference to the seasoning.  While the pork, using mojo sounded great, we stuck with some ‘classics’ and ordered chicken and prime rib. I loved the chicken breast with the gravy and steamed veggies and backed potato. The chicken was very juicy and the sauce seasoned perfectly (I often find that sauces tend to be too salty but it wasn’t). The side of vegetables were steamed perfectly, not soggy at all which quickly.  I shared my dinner with Autumn, who wasn’t into it as much as getting it on my phone (youtube!) and eating ice cubes (I think she learned that from the dog…)

Price’s prime rib was a hit as well.  It was cooked a perfect medium rare with enough sauce for each bite but not swimming in sauce to overwhelm the steak.  The baked potato was a wonderful side along with the same side vegetables as me.  Excellent!

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Autumn was antsy (to be expected) so I took her out of the restaurant to help her walk loops around the main atrium (this was a constant occurrence throughout dinner each night and many people stopped by to comment on how cute she was). She loved to watch everyone and listen to the live music being played below.

Dessert took the longest to arrive, but I don’t fault our servers or the kitchen, everyone hustles. Had we not had Autumn we probably wouldn’t have minded or even noticed.

I got the BB crème brule and Price got a berry cobbler. The crème brule was fantastic but Price’s was the clear winner of the night.  The cobbler was full of fresh berries with warm cobbler topping and vanilla ice cream.

{Sunday: Day at Sea Cruising}

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It was my Birthday!!!

Breakfast

We headed up to the Windjammer (9th deck) to grab breakfast.

There are several large stations to give you plenty of options ranging from deli meat and cheeses, bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs, French toast, beans, fritatas, cereal, oatmeal, fresh fruit, and yogurt. Plus, there is an omelette station which usually has the longest line but moves quickly.

I enjoyed a veggie omelette with some potato tots and fruit.

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The best thing about having a lot of things to select from is that it gave us plenty of options for Autumn to enjoy.  It’s tough to know what she wants to eat so making one thing at home then have her not eat one bite compared to an entire buffet of choices so she can find something is a huge relief!

Lunch

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We had lunch at the Park Cafe, which is in the area were the adult only serenity pool (9th deck) is located.  The cafe is very small, similar to a concession stand, in size, section, and food preparation.

We tried Park Cafe as the lines were long at the Windjammer and I was interested in the salads that they freshly prepare for you.  While in line we saw that they had sandwiches as well.  In trying to pick something that Autumn would like we got a grilled cheese, a quesadilla to go along with the salad that was assembled from the things we picked, similar to ordering a sandwich at a Subway restaurant.

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To say that this meal was a disappointment was an understatement. It was just a bad meal. The salad was good but the grilled cheese and quesadilla were tepid, if that. Both were prepared in advanced and then microwaved, and not well at that. The items on display made it appear that they were assembled and then put in an panini press to warm/cook, but looks were deceiving as the grilled cheese wasn’t grilled or melted fully.

Price ran to get us more food from the Windjammer, which was much appreciated.

Dinner

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With Autumn at the nursery we were able to enjoy dinner at Izumi, the Asian restaurant on board.  It was my 30th birthday so we decided to change things up and go out to dinner at one of their specialty restaurants instead of dining in the main dinner room.  Royal Caribbean has amazing dinning services in their main dining room but does offer other specialty dinning areas.  Izumi was new to Visions and had an excellent selection of Asian cuisine.

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We started with some complimentary edamame and cocktails.  The Lychee martini was very strong but a welcome pour for a birthday drink.  Plus, the loveliest hue of pink!

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Complementary miso soup soon followed to entice our paletes.  We perused the menus and settled on a few rolls, sushi, and a hot rock entree.

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All of the food was tasty and fresh.  The delivery and presentation was quick and pleasing to the eyes.  Once we finished our sushi and rolls when started with the hot rock.

The hot rock is just what it sounds like. It is a 575 degree square rock (not toddler complant!) used to cook meat and veggies.  We chose chicken and steak and had fun with the interactive experience for dinner.  It was similar to a shabu dinner but with really hot stones instead.

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We ordered the Dorayaki Pancake for our dessert. It was a pancake, but the flavors and textures were elevated so it wasn’t your normal breakfast pancake.  Plus, it had some red bean paste in the center of it.  So good! It was served with large wedges of caramelized banana and ice cream.

The restaurant sent of their Asian-Inspired Caramel Flan to celebrate my birthday.  I loved the pancake but the flan was good too.  It was a ginger infused caramel flan set atop a banana leaf.  It was a lovely simple presentation.

{Monday: George Town, Grand Cayman}

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Breakfast

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In addition to dinner and lunch in the Aquarius dining room, they also serve breakfast.

We opted to try the Aquarius dining room for breakfast to see if they offered anything different than the Windjammer.  Generally, it was the same, but the food was served to you.  We did notice that they had the most amazing airy sugary donuts there that were not served in the Windjammer.  I couldn’t have eaten 6 of those little buggers!

Lunch

We were at the public beach along Seven Mile beach in Grand Cayman at lunch time.  I debated getting some freshly made conch salad ($7) but wasn’t too sure if Price would like it and we had limited cash for plan B.  So I just got some fries sprinkled with a seasoned salt ($4).  They were made to order from the Native Delight food truck, which was run by 2 very serious women.  They were efficient in the small space, like they were on a mission to make your food.  It was pretty cool to see them in sync.

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We did grab some food from the Windjammer once we were back on board as we had only split the fries.

Dinner

We did a 5.30pm My Time dinner reservation again.  This time we arrived a bit before 5.30 to get in line and get in quickly.  We quickly figured out what we wanted for dinner to keep things moving along- important with a fidgety 14 month old!

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I started with the BLT Salad with Blue Cheese dressing and Price had the escargot.  We both loved out starters.  Price especially loved how buttery, garlicky, and cheesy the escargot was.

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Normally Price and I don’t order the same thing for dinner so we can share/split, but we were both craving steak so we broke our rule and ordered the same thing.  It was worth it to both order the NY Skirt Steak.  The steak that was served with sautéed mushrooms, wilted spinach, a roasted tomato half, steak fries, and a sauce made with Portobello mushrooms, which was the ingredient theme for dinner.

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 I will always love roasted tomatoes.  And steak fries dipped in a pan sauce never hurts.

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And Autumn thoroughly enjoyed the yogurt that our servers brought for her!

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Of course by then Autumn had to stretch her legs so we took turns walking her around the Centrum and outside while our plates were cleared and out desserts were brought over. Price had the Drunken Kahlua Cake and I had the Honey Walnut Tart, which was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I think that we both thought that we ‘won’ that round of dessert since both were great in their own ways and both were exactly what we wanted.

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Oh damn, these photos melt my heart!!

Side note- If you happen to not want to eat in the main dinner room but prefer the flexibility of dinner at the Windjammer, don’t worry about missing out on the amazing desserts featured in the main dinner room as they are served there as well. I noticed on a trip to get some tea later on at night that they had the Drunken Kahlua Cake and Honey Walnut Tart as well. Of course, the presentation is different but just as good.

{Tuesday: Cozumel, Mexico}

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Breakfast

Since Autumn had gotten up so, so early we had to wait for the Windjammer Café (9th Deck) to open at 7am with a crowd of people.  There was some confusion as to what side of the Windjammer would open up so whole queue had to move to the other side. I think some better signage would have helped.

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We just grabbed a bunch of stuff since we had been up for a few hours already.  We grabbed some of the same things we had before, like the eggs, bacon sausage, bran muffin, tater tots, etc, with a few new things.  The almond pancakes were good but I don’t suggest the biscuits and gravy at all- way, way too dry and bland on the biscuit front.

Lunch

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We were off the ship in Cozumel when it was time for lunch so we went to Palmeras Restaurant, which was along the main street that hugged the coast. It was on our walk from the Forum Shops towards the boat.

I don’t really like to spend money on food while in port as we have already paid for our meals on the ship, but when it’s lunch time, it’s lunch time! Thankfully, lunch was good and affordable. We shared some chips and salsa, fish tacos, and a chicken Caesar salad.

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Everything was really good.  The tacos were seasoned nicely and stuffed full as well.  It was served with some guacamole, which Autumn ate up.  I was craving a Caesar Salad and the salad we had satisfied that craving.  The lean chicken breast was juicy and the salad was dressed perfectly.

Dinner

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The ingredient theme for the dinner tonight was ‘shitake mushrooms’. They used the ingredient in a few dishes,including the entree that I ordered, in different cuisines.

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Both Price and I ordered seafood appetizers; he ordered the shrimp cocktail and I ordered the ceviche. This was the second time he ordered it and felt it was just as good this time. I really enjoyed the ceviche, I only wished the portion was larger.

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We ordered the chilled peach based soup for Autumn to try.  She did but was more satisfied with her basket of bread.  I enjoyed the soup that I stole from her.  It was smooth, silky, and enjoyably sweet.

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For the entree I ordered the Asian Dumplings and the featured ingredient was used in them and in the sauce that was served with them.  While the flavor was good, this was my least favorite dinner on the cruise.  It sorta reminded me of the dumplings I get from Trader Joe’s, but with a fancy sauce.  Plus, the portion was small, I could have eaten another whole plate of these.

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Price had the lamb chops with mashed potatoes and vegetables.  A side of mint jelly was offered for this dish.  The lamb was cooked a prefect medium rare and with the salty pan sauce and sweet jelly made for delicious bites around the plate.  The portion was huge and along with the mashed potatoes and vegetables made for a satisfying dinner.

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We don’t often have dessert at home so the desserts on the cruise were a real treat.  A lovely treat.  Price went for the chocolate and I went for the fruit.  Both were so good in their own ways.  While I was drawn to his Chocolate Lava Cake, I loved my pavlova. Thankfully both are easy to make so I can recreate them at home.

{Wednesday: Costa Maya, Mexico}

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Breakfast

Breakfast at the Windjammer in the same area; bow of the boat right at the windows. It feels like we are regulars and it’s enjoyable.

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Generally, the options served at the different meals tried to appeal to cultures and palettes of all kinds.  Amazingly, they served a really, really good fried rice with breakfast.  I really liked it as it soaked up the runny egg yolk from the over-easy eggs I ordered at the omelette station.

Lunch

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A cool beer while sitting on the beach will always been enjoyable.

We spent most of our day at the beach in Costa Maya. We took the trolley to the beach and got off at the first stop which stationed us right in front of Senor Frogs.  There were 3 servers there that served the beach goers in the area in front of the restaurant.  Carina and Chico both did a great job taking care of us with quick deliveries of beer, water, and food.

The beer was really cheap with 4 beers for $5, but the food was $$$ so we only grabbed a plate of chips and guacamole ($10).  It was satisfying but very overpriced, which is why we opted to go back to the boat in time for Autumn to take a proper afternoon nap while we took turns getting food from the Windjammer.

Dinner

Each dinner had a welcome change from night to night but always had regular bu also very good options.  We both ordered salads as our appetizers along with the usual bread basket.

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Price went back to the prime rib that he had for our first dinner.  Sometimes old habit are tough to break!  This time it was served with a fried mashed potato- like a kick butt tater tot!- and roasted tomato.  The whole plate was covered in the delicious au jus.

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I wasn’t feeling that great (the dreaded cruise stomach curse!) so I ordered the lighter fare being the roasted chicken on rice.  While I would love to write raves reviews for this, my own illness prevented me from fully enjoying it.  It was a beautiful presentation and smelled terrific.  I slowly picked at the chicken and rice which settled me for the time being.

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Oh man, she is the best!!!!

{Thursday: Belize City, Belize}

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Breakfast

Oh boy, oh boy, it was PACKED at breakfast today!! Plus, they opened up breakfast a half hour earlier (6.30am) than normal as the time in Belize City was limited from 7.30-2.15, so people were up early to maximize their time in Belize.

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The Windjammer dining room was too full so we took our food outside and took a table along the windows to enjoy the view.

Price made a triple meat breakfast sandwich with bacon, sausage, and ham. Men… ha!  It should be called the pig sandwich or pig plate, patent pending!

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There always was plentiful fruit, which worked out well as it gave us plenty of options for Autumn to eat at a meal, or to take later for a snack.  The fruit was very fresh and flavorful.

Lunch

Belize City was just too hot to hang around in for lunch so we headed back to the ship early so we made it back to have lunch at the Windjammer.

I still wasn’t feeling that great so I ate plain pasta with some grated cheese.

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Price enjoyed a fun mix of fried chicken, a ham and cheese slider, pork tenderloin, and corn salad.  They were all really good but what a mix.  Sometimes I have no idea what he is thinking…

Autumn had her first taste of jello and she loved it!

Dinner

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We took the opportunity to have another ‘date night’ while on the cruise by having Autumn go to the Nursery for a few hours. It was nice that the amazing waiters didn’t have to shove all the plates and glasses to one side of the table and out of Autumn’s reach as soon as she was seated in her high chair.  Ahhh a civilized dinner!!

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Royal Caribbean allows two 750ml bottles per stateroom so we took a red and white with us for the cruise (it’s x-ray’d when you get on the ship when you board on your ).  They used to have a corking fee but at some point the recently removed that fee.  Hooray for us! Another glass? Yes, please!

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We enjoyed the caprese salad and aranchini appetizers.  Great mix to go with the Italian theme for the evening.

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I enjoyed the chicken entree since it was pretty ‘mellow’.  I was just starting to feel better again, I tried to keep things simple without tons of spice so this was a good fit.  The mashed potatoes were soft and creamy, the asparagus was crisp and yet tender.  The chicken and its sauce were comforting.

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Price had the pork tenderloin with baked mashed potatoes and vegetables. Reading the description above, how can you pass it up!  He wished there was more tenderloin but after his pig plate and pork tenderloin from the previous meals what more could he want?!? Oh well, we were on vacation 🙂

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Of course I couldn’t resist dessert no matter how I was feeling.  Plus look how fancy and pretty this is. Little petit fours with a chocolate stick as an edible garnish, a little taste of heaven if there ever were three heavens on one plate. That chocolate cake on the right was the BEST dessert I had all cruise.

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Price got the tiramisu.  We both thought it was flat.  The lady fingers were dry and there was not much booze.  Considering all the wonderful meals and other desserts we had perhaps our standards were sky high but this was by far the most disappointing of one of the courses for dinner.

{Friday: Day at Sea Cruising}

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Breakfast

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As what had become the morning routine on the cruise, Autumn was up early so Price took her up to the 9th deck to allow our neighboring rooms a bit more sleep.  While I got dressed to meet them up there, Autumn ate a yogurt.

Price has quickly solidified his love of grapefruit and I was feeling better so I got an omelette.

The best part is the overall attentiveness of the Windjammer staff related to refilling juices, getting a highchair, clearing tables, or saying ‘hi’ to Autumn. Especially Kenny (from India), he is always so sweet to Autumn.

Lunch

To avoid the big crowds at lunch in the Windjammer, we opted to go to the Aquarius dining room.

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She loved the olive studded rolls that were delivered to our table. So adorable!

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We relaxed on our overindulgence of ever meal and got salads for lunch from the salad bar.  You walk around the bar and point to everything you would like for the guys working there to chop together.  This salad was loaded with chickpeas, walnuts, onions, special greens, and a nice vinaigrette.

I also ordered chicken sliders that I had on Wednesday afternoon from the Windjammer. They were much better at the Windjammer as they were served with a garlicky aioli, but the sliders in the Aquarius dining room were very bland without it.  Autumn was not really interested in any of those options and stuck with a banana and bread roll.

Dinner

Wah! Our last dinner!! So sad to leave the cruise, our amazing waiters, and all the great food behind.

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How ever will we go back to normal life with out multiple dinner courses!?!?

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Just looking at the picture above definitely screams MAN!  The bone-in beef shank looked like it was cooked over an open pit and huge flames surrounding it.  Price’s eyes lit up when this was put in front of him.  Good thing we had those lunch salads!  The always good mashed potatoes and vegetables completed the plate but the star was the shank. Price noted it might be the best entree of all the dinners which is saying a lot since he had so many great entrees.

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I enjoyed the featured pasta entree.  It was a generous plate of pasta in a cream sauce that was topped off with a crispy, crunchy slice of pancetta.  The pancetta made the dish as it provided a nice salty flavor and fun textural contrast from the pasta.  I think that the sauce could have been a bit thicker, but the flavor was really good.

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Price and I had some great Key Lime Pie while we were on our Babymoon in the Florida Keys so I feel pretty confident saying that this was really good Key Lime Pie.  What a nice way to end our wonderful cruise.

{Saturday: Disembark}

Breakfast

We were up early as usual.  But extra, extra early.  Autumn’s sleep was rocky the whole cruise but the last night was even worse as the time changed back to Eastern Standard Time.  It was a mess!!  But we got to be some of the first people in line to get into The Windjammer when it opened.

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The day is super hectic for the staff as they have to unload and then reload the ship just a few short hours later so they try to streamline things so they don’t offer as many things for breakfast on the last day.  I was happily surprised that they still offered the omelette station though.

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We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and the food we ate on the cruise.  The food and the service we experienced were both very enjoyable.

Amazingly, I managed to lose weight on the cruise.  No joke.  It was magic.  Most people gain a few pounds but I lost about 3 pounds.  And I got to eat dessert.  That right there was a great birthday present. ha!

Our 2015 Vision of the Seas Cruise: Day 7 & Disembarking Recap

We took a 7-day Royal Caribbean cruise on the Vision of the Seas to visit the Western Caribbean for my 30th birthday/pre-wedding honeymoon. We visited Cozumel and Costa Maya in Mexico, Georgetown in Grand Cayman, and Belize City in Belize, sandwiched between 2 days at sea cruising.

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{Friday- Day at Sea}

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While it would have been so nice to have been able to sleep in, it was always so enjoyable to watch the sun rise over the Gulf of Mexico.

We headed right over to the Windjammer Cafe when it opened at 7am. We did our usual divide and conquer with us grabbing plates of food on our way to the table to have things at the ready for Autumn to eat. And then we’d take turns getting whatever else we need for ourselves, like omelets.

As a birthday gift to me, Price sent me off to the Spa for a massage while Autumn napped. I had seen a flyer earlier in the week for a special package called “Top to Toe Heaven”. It was a 75-minute package that included a Full Body Ginger and Lime Exfoliation, Full Body Swedish Massage, Foot and Ankle Massage, and a Scalp Massage. Some of the prices for things in the spa can be really expensive (manicures!) but this was a real deal for $149, down from $291.

The spa is located at the aft (back) of the boat, just off the Serenity Pool. The waiting room overlooks the back of the boat so you have a clear view out to watch the wake of the ship while sipping on some chilled lemon water. My room also had a great view but I didn’t enjoy it very much with my head down in the passage table. At least I really enjoyed my massage. Pure bliss!!

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After my massage we went to lunch in the Aquarius Dining Room. Autumn loved the olive studded rolls they served but I decided that I much more preferred to eat lunch at the Windjammer Cafe. I liked the lovely service that was provided by the waiters and waitresses but I much more preferred the selection at the Windjammer Cafe. While they had a great salad bar, I found that the meals they served were similar to the Cafe, but just slightly off. For example, the sliders I had enjoyed on Thursday were served in Aquarius dining room on Friday, but without the aioli, which really made the sliders.

We headed to the Nursery after lunch so that Autumn could enjoy the Open Play time that afternoon. We then left her there for some time so that both Price and I could enjoy some time by the pool. It really worked well for all of us as Autumn got to nap and play at the nursery and we got to enjoy some fun in the sun!

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We spent some time packing up all our stuff just before dinner. This allowed us to sort the the clothes we wouldn’t need for that night and next morning into the big suitcase. We left it outside of our room later that night so that it would be round up by the ship staff to be unloaded into the Port of Tampa building the following morning. Packing up the night before you leave can make the morning of departure much more efficient and smoother.

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We had a lovely last dinner together in the Aquarius dining room.  It was bittersweet as we had to say ‘good-bye’ to our amazing servers. They really made the dinner experience with Autumn so amazing.

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Dinner was great, but so was the sunset.

I took a walk after dinner while Price stayed with a sleeping Autumn in the room. I caught the end of the cruise celebration put on by the cruise crew in the Centrum (7.45pm). Representatives from every country that the staff participate in The International Parade of Flags. Every country is announced and they wave flags while there there is fun music playing. It was so cute. I loved every second of it.

{Disembarking}

Autumn must have been super excited about getting on dry land again as she was up bright and early to start her day. How early? 3.30 in the morning!! No Joke. Her abnormally early waking hours while on the cruise was compounded that morning with the time change back to East Coast time. Ugh!

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Thankfully the 24 Hour Windjammer Cafe Coffee Bar was well stocked!!

We hit the cafe as soon as it opened to avoid the crush of people having breakfast before the trip was over. I was going to miss all those options!

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Oh, nice nap eh?

Thankfully, everyone was busy with breakfast or doing last minute packing in their rooms so I could walk loop after loop around the 5th and 6th decks while Autumn snoozed.

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We had to wait in our designated area outside the theater on Deck 5 until we were cleared to disembark the ship.

Thankfully the process was painless as we followed the crowds, grabbed out big suitcase, and joined the (well organized) line to get through customs. They estimated the processing taking 45+ minutes but it took us less than half the time. So easy.

And then all we had to do was wait for my dad to come to pick us up.

We were all worn out from the cruise but it was so worth the vacation and experience. It was a good feeling. Tired but relaxed. We felt accomplished that we visited every port. And very full from all the great food. It was so special that we brought Autumn on her first cruise and I got to celebrate my 30th birthday while on vacation. The Royal Caribbean experience was a blast. We can’t wait for our next cruise!

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Check out my other cruise recaps!

Our 2014 Vision of the Seas Cruise: Days 1 & 2 Recap

Our 2014 Vision of the Seas Cruise: Days 3 & 4 Recap

Our 2014 Vision of the Seas Cruise: Days 5, 6 Recap