This was our first cruise. Embarkation was a snap. We arrived early, around 11:30. It took about 10 minutes to get through the metal detector line and then a short wait to get ourselves signed in. I recommend you preregister on line once you have your booking number. We were at the counter only a few minutes and then we were logged in. Now all we had to do was wait in the lobby until it was time to board. They started boarding passengers shortly after we sat down. By 12:20 our group was called and we took that wonderful walk along the jetway to a real fantasy world.
Lunch was being served on the Lido deck 9, so we headed up there to begin our adventure. The buffet stations were going full blast and had a great assortment of foods. We ate here a lot throughout the cruise.
We then started to explore the ship while we waited for the cabins to be cleared for our use by 1:30. We were somewhat confused as to the theme of the ship. Now that I've read it is suppose to be a More
tribute to super heroes in all literature, it helps to understand what the theme was supposed to be. We found some of the decor a bit over the top, especially in the Bacchus dinning room. It reminded me of a high school prom decoration theme with way too many pink balloons. The over-the-top decor frequently clashed with the upscale service we received in the dinning room. It was as if the cruise line couldn't make up it's mind as to whether it was a fun ship or a high class elegant ship. That aside, the service in the dinning room was wonderful and our wait staff made dinning there an event we looked forward to every night. I liked the variety of selection of food although I had hoped for more opportunity for lobster. I understand other cruise lines have lobster available every night.
Our room was on deck four and had a partially blocked view through two lifeboats. Now don't feel sorry for us, we paid for an inside cabin on deck one, no windows at all. The fact that we had a window as an upgrade was great but to have gotten French doors that opened so you could smell and hear the ocean was a fantastic bonus. The room was still classed as an inside cabin but we didn't care. The bathroom was the biggest surprise in that it was about twice as big as what I had assumed we have. There was adequate space and the shower was a full size single stall size with lots of room to turn around in. The decor of the room was simple, like any motel room and was a nice change of pace from all the flashy decor on the ship. Room service was okay, but nothing special. When we first entered our cabin there were two dirty glasses still on the vanity and someone's watch. These did not get cleared out of our room until after the late seating of dinner. We also didn't get the towel animal our first night in the room either. That was a bit of a disappointment.
There are a lot of activities to do, but many of them didn't appeal to us to join in. Watching bare chested men parade around in a hairy chest contest is not my first choice of entertainment. There were plenty of Karaoke events but you can only listen to bad singers for so long before you just want to kill them because they can't sing. The stage shows were good but not spectacular. We enjoyed watching them though. The excursions were more than just fun, they were true adventures for us and we had a ball. Try the helmet water dive in Cozumel. It doesn't take long and gives you lots of time to shop downtown.
Arriving back in Tampa, disembarkation was the most uncontrolled event of the whole trip. They kept saying they would call for the no-assist passengers first, then call for those with early plane flights to catch. Well, they never called for anybody. People just starting showing up with their luggage at the exit on the main deck and they were let off. As others saw this, the stampede began. It was quickly halted by the Port authority who only had one elevator in the building to off load 2500 passengers and their luggage. There just was no control. They should have called us by deck or group or something. We had just a packed mob scene trying to get off the ship all at one point.
Overall, we did have a wonderful time with many high moments and fond memories. Although some things did not go smoothly, we would not let those things overshadow our whole experience. We would not have a problem recommending this ship and its itinerary to anyone. The staff members were always polite, respectful and nice to talk to. The ship was kept clean, and there were always things going on to entertain you. We enjoyed the change from our daily lives and look forward to another cruise hopefully in the not to distant future. Less