Embarkation in Miami was a bit slower than last year in Ft. Lauderdale. Computers have replaced people, and the computer would not scan our passports easily. However, all that was quickly forgotten once we got onboard. The ship has the same layout as the Freedom that we sailed on last year, so we were quickly reacquainted with the layout. Food was waiting for us on Lido, and of course, alcohol as well. :) We prefer our room on Lido deck for the convenience of it. Our rooms were ready as soon as we got on the ship, which was a pleasant surprise. Our luggage arrived fairly soon.
The staff onboard were friendly and hospitable. We ate at the early seating in the formal dining room where we had a wonderful team to wait on us. Food was very good - lots of choices. We ate in the Steakhouse one night, which is well worth the $30 per person. The filet mignon was delicious, and I rarely eat red meat. For breakfast, my husband and I eat on Lido from the buffet. Sometimes the lines were a bit long, but they move relatively quickly. I love the omelette making station. The line typically moves fairly quickly. The guys loved the burger joint in the afternoon. The only problem was that a lot of the food stations were shut down in the afternoon leaving only burgers and fries as a choice for food at those times.
We tended to hang out on the Promenade deck where the band was playing outside the casino. We enjoyed the music. The bartenders were wonderful, and they knew our husbands quite well by the end of the week! They all had great senses of humor.
It was beautiful sailing into St. Thomas. We took the excursion to St. John's, which has breathtaking blue water. It was a bit disappointing as we had to wait over thirty minutes for the ferry so it cut our time down on St. John's. Our time there was rushed, and we did not get to shop near the pier. Returning to St. Thomas we had an enjoyable stop at Senor Frogs. In San Juan, we walked around old San Juan. I bought some jewelry from a local person who makes it. It was nice getting back to the ship early with no lines to wait in to get back onboard or for food. Sailing into Grand Turk was amazing. The water was so beautiful, and it was quite surprising how close to shore the ship was able to dock. We walked down the beach to Jack's Shack which is a bit less touristy than Margaritaville.
The shows and comedians were very entertaining. Jamie, the cruise director, was extremely vivacious and perfect for her job! I don't know when she sleeps! There are many activities going on all the time. There is no excuse for boredom!
Debarkation took a bit longer than expected since we had an early flight, but it all worked out.
We have already made deposit for a future cruise, and we are considering the Southern Caribbean out of San Juan next year.