First time cruiser. I will never cruise again. I cannot tolerate being trapped for 7 days on a cruise ship filled with rednecks and other generally gross people. I have never seen so many mullets and tattoos before in my life -- and that was just the women. The food was awful and reminiscent of hospital cafeterias. We just tried to find as much peace and quiet as possible. The best decision we could have made was having a cabin with a balcony. That became our refuge.
Boarding the ship and debarking was like being a rat in a maze. It was hot and tiring and just mind-numbing. If you think flying is a hassle, you haven't seen anything until you've tried to board a cruise ship.
We tried The Point steak house one night for dinner. The food there was better than the rest of the ship, but still just okay. At least it was hot. We never had a single meal that wasn't room temperature in the main dining room. Room service was the same. If you plan to order from room service, just get a cold sandwich. Anything that is supposed to be hot will be cold anyway. The menu is very limited for room service, probably to discourage people from using it.
I commend the staff for keeping the ship relatively clean in the common areas, and our cabin was spotless. Our steward was lovely and cheerful. We tipped him generously, as I can only imagine what a tough job he has. The fact that he did it with a smile on his face and a cheerful attitude certainly earned our respect. In general, we thought all of the staff was friendly and nice. Again, they have tough jobs to do.
The ports: Jamaica was sad and depressing. Grand Cayman was beautiful, but very expensive. We would go back there, just not via cruise ship. Cozumel was fun and we would love to go back there -- again, not via cruise ship.
The omnipresent photographers were incredibly annoying. We did not purchase any of the photos and didn't even go to look at them. "Cruise elegant" nights in the dining room included men wearing sleeveless t-shirts and flip-flops. Some of the women who dressed up wore dresses so short and so tight that they barely covered their bottoms. It was disgusting.
If cruising is your idea of a great vacation, more power to you. We will never cruise again.