My husband and I (and another couple - all in our 40's) bought this 2 night cruise/2 night resort stay through groupon. We have cruised 7 other times before on 4 different cruise lines (Carnival, Royal, Princess and Holland) and were a bit anxious as to the quality this one would be especially after reading some bad reviews. We were also concerned with the size of the ship and how much sway we would feel in the ocean. We were pleasantly suprised in all areas. We had a great time and I never felt the ship move at all - we did have smooth seas but I usually do feel some movement...not this time.
Valet parking is $15 per day (cheaper than self parking at 3 other ports we've cruised from). The boarding process moved quickly. You can get on the ship at noon but not into your rooms until 2pm so make sure to pack a beach bag so you can enjoy the pool, lunch and have drinks! (This is also typical of other cruise lines). They had a buffet going on for lunch and drink service was great! We spent both afternoons at the pool - it's an above ground pool (which is different than other cruise lines) - looks like a human fish bowl :)but was plenty sufficient to cool off or sit up on the ledge with drinks and dangle feet. There were also pool games which were fun. There is also a kiddy pool area with a water slide separate from the 12 and over pool above ground pool. Drinks are the same price as other cruise lines. If you buy a drink in one of their souvenir glasses, you keep the glass and refills are cheaper. They also have daily drink specials and happy hour.
The rooms are basic cruise ship sized (we stayed on the 8th floor in a Category 4 Window Room). I've been in smaller and larger rooms but there was plenty of room for 2 of us. The bathrooms are also cruise typical - in fact the shower was larger than some ships I've been on). Nothing fancy. Decor is very basic but the rooms were plenty clean.
We had dinner the first night in the Rio room and the second night in the Crystal room. These are the 2 restaurants included with the cruise cost. The food was good in both. There is also an ice cream shop, pizza bar open until 3am and "snack food" on the pool deck during the day. They also have 2 "pay extra" restaurants on board but we didn't eat there. Included food is good enough for us.
The shows aren't as great as other cruise lines but still entertaining enough. There is a casino, a pub, and 2 other club areas at night...karoke and dancing.
The port at Freeport is industrial - there is a straw market there but not much else. The resort side is nice. Take a group cab for $5 per person and go to the other side where the beaches are. The Grand Lucayan Resort was great! Beautiful rooms, beaches, casino, bars, infinity pools. Restaurants on site and the Market area across the street had everything - shopping, bars, music restaurants, excursion, straw market etc. Felt safe and everything is in walking distance. We stayed 2 nights here and would go back in a heart beat.
If I had to say something negative - the ship beds are not very comfortable and the disembarkment process back in West Palm is slow (prepare for it to take 1 1/2 hours.)
One important thing to note (which I knew before hand so was prepared) - the ship runs on 220V so your hair dryers, razors, curling irons etc not only have to be convertible from 110/220 you also need a European adaptor to plug them in. If you don't have these things I think you can borrow them from the front desk but it's just easier to bring it with you.
So after reading all the reviews before going and now that I've cruised them, I've come to the conclusion that many of the complaints you read might be from people who haven't cruised much before as drink prices, food options, excursion prices, etc are completely typical of all the cruise lines. Or from people who expect luxury at a discounted price. If you want fancy ritz carlton like lodging - this is not the cruise for you....if you are fine with plain but clean, want good service and just want to have a good relaxing time -you can't beat the price for a short get away. We would definately do this cruise again as a quick weekend get away and we would also definately stay at the resort on the island again.