Booked directly through the cruise line and went on the cruise during the last week in July. We booked a balcony room on the 9th deck and were pretty psyched to discover how big the room was. The bed & pillows were firm and comfy and we felt there was enough closets & drawers to put our stuff away for the week. Although the bathroom was small, the shower had really great water pressure. You are allowed to smoke (cigarettes) on your own balcony. We had a gorgeous view of the Commissioner's House while docked in Bermuda. There was a minibar we never touched. We could control the temp in the room and we never heard our neighbors.
I titled this review "Mediocre" because of the staff, the food and the lounge music on board.
STAFF: They looked & acted haggered and totally exhausted. I mean it - everyone we came in contact with were working really, really hard, but every bar & restaurant appeared to be totally understaffed. The ship was totally sold out (over 2800 passengers) so every restaurant, pool, bar, hot tub & activity was really, really crowded. We could hear the staff bickering & complaining to each other as well. Very little eye contact. There are LOTS & LOTS of things to do on the ship, everyday, which was cool, but the activities staff frequently appeared to have a flat affect and appeared to be tolerating the various activities instead of facilitating them.
FOOD: I also titled this review "Mediocre" because of the food. We ate at the Garden Cafe, Blue Lagoon, Aqua, Venetian, Cagney's Steakhouse, Bimini Bar & La Cucina. Cagney's was the best ($25pp cover charge). The best food & the best service. Everywhere else was mediocre. Mediocre food & mediocre service. Not horrible by any means, but just not that great either: just......mediocre.
LOUNGE MUSIC: Every music venue (Star Bar, Java Cafe, Spinnaker, Gatsby's) had live music every night. The Spinnaker had a band called "Southside" which played only 2-3 lines of a song for 20 consecutive songs. I never heard them play one song all the way through. That was awful. The performers at the Star Bar & Java Cafe had beautiful vocals, but they used pre-recorded electronic drum machines, background vocals and bass lines which ruined their obvious vocal talents and made everything sound uber cheesy. Again - not horrible, just not great either: just... mediocre.
1.) The guy on piano at Gatsby's. Very, very talented guy. I think his name was Ariel. The ship's band joined him one night, a Broadway singer another night, it was awesome. The service at Gatsby's was outstanding as well. Perfect place for a nightcap after dinner or a show.
2.) The shows were pretty fun as well, after the nightly 20-minute pre-show sales pitch. Get there early (at least 30 min.) for a good seat - they serve drinks there. Balcony seats are deceiving. Sit in the pink seats down low. We went almost every night and loved it. Good stuff.
3.) Drink prices were pretty reasonable; $5-$6/beer (12-16oz), $7-$12/wine, $8-$15 for mixed/blender drinks. Free water, milk, juice & lemonade during restaurant meals and also in the Garden Cafe all day. We also purchased one adult soda package, which was worth it. Make reservations for any of the speciality restaurants before 6pm and they give you a free bottle of wine (house merlot or chardonnay), which was really cool.
Some things we learned about Bermuda:
1.) Get ready to sweat - the humidity is oppressive.
2.) Plan to spend a long day at Horseshoe Beach - it's absolutely gorgeous.
3.) Do Snorkel Park on the last day - it's a smaller beach & walking distance from the ship.
4.) The transportation pass is worth it - the busses & ferries are frequent & efficient.
5.) Scooters/ mopeds are overrated and really, REALLY slow.
6.) St. Catherine's Fort, The Unfinished Church & Tobacco Bay are worth the trip. Fantastic.
7.) Most shops in Hamilton are closed on Sunday and close at 5PM during the week.
One last thing - we could feel the ship moving every minute we were at sea. No joke. We took ginger pills a couple times each day and they really, really worked. No drowsiness! We brought Dramamine just in case, but never opened the package. We've been home now for 2 days and we can still feel phantom swells.