Thanks, everyone! I had a great time. The weather was a bit iffy, off and on again rain (thanks Alberto!) and the waves were rough. They closed Cozumel port and we overnighted in Havana then left early in the morning and the ship just circled about 35 miles from Havana for the remainder of the day.
Havana was great! I'd definitely go again. Despite all the threats from Royal Caribbean, I was able to get on and off the ship whenever I pleased. I *assume* they are forced to tell US citizens otherwise.
The Majesty was very nice, if a bit tired-looking, and I was pleasantly surprised. Although there were not enough activities. They scrambled when we missed Cozumel, as they expected most people would be off the ship, and the activities were lacking big time that day. You would think they would have alternative plans in the event of missed ports.
Everything was on a smaller scale (compared to the Allure). The food was very good in the dining room and I did not visit any extra fee restaurants.
In Havana I hired a private tour company for two days (I Love Cuba Photo Tours) and was walked around the city the first day. The area (I asked for "off the beaten track") was very run down, but there is virtually no crime in Cuba, and I felt very safe. I loved seeing the way the people lived. We stopped at a couple of bars and "took a load off" (I had blisters) and I had the usual Cuban drinks (mojitos, daiquiris - the guide did not drink). The coffee was fabulous. One of the best cups I had ever had!
At night another guide took me out to a touristy dinner (my request) and I ordered ropa vieja with rice and beans (together with another alcoholic beverage - YUM) while a band played. After we ate, we walked the streets at night. I marveled at how pretty the city was at night all lit up. So much different than in daylight - almost magical. The city was lively with music and people dancing. I would have loved to have stayed longer.
The second day was spent driving around in a convertible to many other historic sites.
It was a fun and interesting two days.
The cruise overall was great and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, I have two cruises planned for 2019 and can't plan another for a while....
I booked a cabin with a porthole (my first), and, given the weather, I didn't miss a balcony. BUT, I would book a porthole/window again to save the money.
During the tour, I kept thinking about my handicapped friend (with whom I traveled on the Allure and will be with on the Radiance). Havana is NOT handicapped accessible. Anybody with a wheelchair would probably not be able to get off the ship, which is sad.
The absolute worst part of the trip was the flight home. I had booked a late flight out of TPA due to a lower cost. Hence, I booked an excursion on the last day to kill time which also included transport to the airport. At the last minute, Royal cancelled the excursion due to "lack of participation" (probably storm-related). Off to the airport I went with my luggage to sit and wait. And that I did. Sit and wait. And wait. And wait. What with the storm (which did not hit Florida at this point), my flight was delayed again and again. I sat at that airport for more than 10 hours. Ever hear of hari kari?
Thanks again for the stalk, everyone!
Kisses to Manuela!!!