Embarkation: My husband and I stayed at a Country Inns and Suites Hotel near the pier in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Our hotel package included a shuttle to and from the pier as well as one nights accommodations and free parking in a secure lot. This was an excellent deal with a very clean, comfortable room. The shuttle was efficient in both delivering us to the pier and picking us up at the pier after the cruise. Our auto was very secure on the hotel lot, and it was waiting for us after our trip. The price for this package was reasonable, and we both recommend this as an alternative to pier parking and intercity traffic.
Our Room: It was a postage stamp of a room, but it was clean, comfortable, and in an excellent location. Everything on the ship was easily accessible from our little cabin. We were close enough to the Promenade Deck to make a quick trip down the steps to the Promenade Cafe for brownies or tea or coffee or a fruit cup. A few steps from our door was a prime view of the Promenade on those days when parades, kiddy shows, or celebrations were occurring, but we were also far enough away to damper down any noisy celebrations. Our room attendant, Craig, was kind, personable, and attentive. The room was always immaculate. The closet space was wonderful. The bathroom was great with those semicircular shower doors. A nice little sofa was comfortable for reading and watching some tv. The privacy curtains allowed me some sleep time while my night owl husband stayed up to read or watch tv. This was an excellent choice of a room and I do recommend it for a couple.
The Ship: We loved this ship. The options for entertainment were numerous and varying. The personnel were always sweet and helpful. The Captain kept us informed daily in a way that made us feel that he cared about us each one personally. The decor was gorgeous. We loved the promenade deck around decks 4 and 5, and we spent many hours walking there, playing shuffleboard, watching the ocean from the bow of the ship, and reading. We also enjoyed the Cafe Promenade which we visited often after our exhausting walks.
We made use of the Chapel on Sunday, and we meet many nice Christians of various denominations who worshiped with us. We will remember some of the people we met that day for a very long time.
We also enjoyed the rock climbing wall. We are a bit older, and when we made it to the top of the easier course, others younger than us gave it a go.
The Food: The Windjammer and the Cafe were most enjoyable, but we found the Dining room food to be a bit too salty. We ate at My Time Dining in order to maximize our cruise experience every day. The waiters were super,and the hostesses were so friendly.
The Ports: Bermuda is so wonderful that words are not sufficient. San Juan is gorgeous. We did the walking tour with a retired Puerto Rican school teacher, Virginia, who showed us the Forts, the statues, the churches, the blue cobblestones! Labadee was a paradise, and the Haitians were employed by the cruise line to help the crew in many ways. This was good for us and for them, since they benefited from the employment. Also the cruise line kindly fed the native employees as well as the cruisers at a picnic buffet.