Day one - Embarkation - went smoothly - no major issues here even though we used a cash deposit (sometimes this can be tricky.) We were told that we had to put down $100 per person per day (which would have been $2800 for the four of us on a seven day cruise). I thought this was a bit extreme, so I questioned it. The fact is you can put down as much or as little as you like. Once it is used up, if you want to put more down, you can do that by going to the credit desk on the ship after sailing. No other issues.
Day two - Our first sea day - There were some activities planned throughout the day, although not constant. We sometimes felt on other ships that there was so much to do that we came off feeling more exhausted because we were constantly on the go. This particular cruise allowed for some downtime between activities. We travelled in a group of 14, with only one child in camp age. The kids camp was small with fewer activities than my niece would have liked. (Keep reading to day 2 for more information on kids camp). The teen club (we had 3 teens onboard) was lacking at times. Because it was small, with little to do, we found our teens at the basketball court or in other venues most of the time. There were occasions they would all hang out in the club, but not often. The teens had a good time, but not great - there were times they felt bored as well.
Day three - Roatan, Honduras - Enjoyed the morning shopping in port, but because I am trying to focus on the ship itself, and not the shore excursions, I will leave it at that. Back to the kids camp - IF YOU ARE BOOKING A SHORE EXCURSION THAT YOUR YOUNG CHILDREN CANNOT ATTEND - be aware that kids camp is opened on port days, BUT there is an additional fee involved to leave the children in camp on port day (all 4 of them). This is important to know before booking shore excursions that might leave them out. You would need to add in the additional cost of kids camp if you are doing an adult only shore excursion, or spa service. If you are chosing to stay on board the ship on port days and not get off, this presents a problem for the kids - my 9 year old niece enjoyed getting off the ship and seeing the ports, but then when we got back on the boat later in the afternoon and she wanted to go to to camp to be with her friends, we told her she couldn't go because of the fee - this meant a lot of bored time for her. Just something to be aware of....
Day four - Belize - DON'T risk this one on your own. It is a very unsafe port to be in without a guided shore excursion unless you stay within the fenced in shopping area. (And don't eat the Chocolate with Lemon Salt - LOL) Again, enjoyed a little shopping, but then when we got back on board, the kids - teens and adults included were a little board - there are not a lot of on board activities planned for those that choose to stay on board.
Day five - Costa Maya - FUN port. Because you pull right up to the shopping area - no industry around - it is easy to get on and off the ship at your leisure. There is an area to swim with the dolphins for a fee, LOTS of shopping, and wear your bathing suits. There is a nice sandy area with beach chairs and a swimming pool. Gorgeous pool with a swim up bar and stools in the pool that goes right up to Carlos N' Charlies. Very enjoyable day, but again, if you get back on the ship - very little to do. Nice to have the ship so close by though so you can get back on for lunch if you like.
Day six - Cozumel - Nuff Said - been there - done that....Book a shore excursion to do something you haven't done before - otherwise, it is a lot more shopping, and more boredom on the ship.
Day seven - Sea day - again, much the same as the first sea day with the exception of the dreaded packing to leave! LOL
Food - The food on the ship was great - on day one when you first board the ship, I would advise you head to Versailles for lunch, as EVERYONE else heads to the buffet. There were very few people in Versailles, and we had a nice sit down relaxing lunch to start our cruise. It was funny because every staff person we met along the way tried to direct us to deck 12 for the buffet, but we kept telling them we were going to Versailles. Not many people know it is opened on the first day, and therefore head straight for the buffet. Not enough seating up there, and lots of people standing around with trays and nowhere to sit. YUCK! I was less than impressed with the beef dishes (steak, prime rib, hamburgers, etc) but everythinge else was pretty good. I just started ordering chicken the whole time. My hubby is a lobster lover, so be aware that lobster night is the very first day of embarkation. I don't eat seafood, but trust his judgement - he rated the lobster as too small as they only give you a 1/2 tail per order - they spilt it down the middle (although he did order a second one) and he said it was very dry like it had sat for a while. NONE of us went hungry - we did enjoy the food but I wanted you to be aware of the few issues we did have with it.
The cabins - hit or miss. My sister and I both booked two cabins each (adjoining). My hubby and I were in one and our two teenage boys adjoining. Her hubby and her were in one with her two daughters adjoining. Her and I both had the same issue with the beds - they tilted - towards the center of the room and we felt as if we would roll out. Rooms were clean - however the stewards were inconsistent. She never had towel animals in her cabin, but her daughters did. The rooms were turned down at inconsistent times, so when we were ready for bed, sometimes the room steward was just getting there. Always cleaned every day though.
The ship in general was clean although a lot of the public spaces were showing their age. Some of the ladies restrooms only had one working stall out of 3 or 4 because of broken doors. Some of the carpets looked very worn and you could even see the backing through some areas on the stairwells. With all of the different specialty restaurants onboard, we sometimes felt that the ship was very compartmentalized. On other ships, the decks felt open and airy - even the casino on this ship was a closed in room (although this wasn't really an issue for us as we are not gamblers.) Just wasn't an open concept the way we like, but it was tolerable. They need to enforce the "no saving deck chairs" policy - there were a TON of deck chairs with towels in them for most of the day on the sea days, with no one in sight. There was no where for us to lay a lot of the times.
That's it in a nutshell - and remember - even a bad cruise is a good escape from reality sometimes.