We booked this spring break trip with another family just 90 days prior. While our friends chose to book a family stateroom (pullman bed to allow for everyone to sleep on their own) we splurged again on adjoining cabins as we like the space and bathroom flexibility for getting everyone ready. That said, they still have not fixed the deck plans: these ARE adjoining, map is wrong. It also proved to be a great way for the four kids to hang out and watch the boardwalk at night! We flew in the night before and stayed at the courtyard cruise port, free transportation from FLL AND to cruise port the next day. Embarkation was a breeze, don't forget to stop with your child for their color coded bracelet at the top of the escalators that they wear for the week and designates their muster station. We waited about an hour to board but once on the ship we planted ourselves up by the pool with a drink and the kids were in the water as we already knew the layout of the ship. If you have kids, be sure to get to the Adventure Club on Deck 14 to get your kids signed up.
A few points:Dining- we dined with another family of 4 and pre-booked our reservations, the time was later than we would have like but they accommodated us very well. The magic by one of the wait staff was a riot! Shows: book in advance, they are crowded and do "sellout". Don't miss the OceanAria, and the belly flop contest was painfully funny. Avoid the pool area with the sexiest man contest with the young kids or have the dads take them for ice cream.....and Adults, the Quest and love and marriage show made for great laughs. Private beach at Haiti: get there EARLY. we booked the first water park opening after tipping to secure 4 chairs for the adults on the edge of the cay facing the ship. No waves, other beach under zip line is VERY rocky. Stay out of the market, too intense and we could see locals on other side of the barbed wire during lunch banging plates for food. Service: The service, especially hanging monkey towel animals for kids, was very good, drinks were pricey. Do not miss sunset from Viking Crown Lounge. Best view and drinks on the ship.
Overall, yes it can be crowded after bingo, parades and shows. But this is the best value, safest, floating resort in the world. Where else can you swim with dolphins in Cozumel, (Dolphinarius, book direct and take a cab for first time available. It gets crowded with ships!) then ice skate the next day. Great shows, great food selection, and who doesn't love Ken Rush as cruise director. Oh, and we won playing bingo :)