Travelling from Arkansas, we decided to spend the night at Fort Lauderdale the night before sailing in order to be fresh to begin our cruise. We arrived shortly after President Obama visited the city, so traffic was crazy. However, we got a taxi to our hotel, the Crowne Plaza Ft. Lauderdale Airport/Cruise, and the driver was very friendly and got us to our destination in no time! We arose early the next morning, grabbed some coffee and arranged a pickup to the ship, where we arrived at approximately 10:00. We were processed very quickly and efficiently, and waited about one to one and a half hours to board. We were in group two, so we were some of the first ones on ship. We had lunch in the main dining room and immediately made arrangements to sign up for a cooking class, as well as made reservations for the Pinnacle Grill and Canelletto restaurants.
Upon arriving in our room, my baggage was awaiting me, but my husband did not get his baggage until 5:30 p.m. So we only had a few minutes for him to change clothes before going to our pre-arranged dining time of 5:45 p.m. We had an excellent wait staff in the dining room, with a very attentive head waiter as well as wine steward. We looked forward to visiting with them every night. Food, as well as service, at the Caneletto and Pinnacle Grill was excellent and I would recommend it highly. However, we were disappointed with several dishes served to us in the main dining room. It seemed that it was all about the "presentation" instead of flavor, and left a little to be desired! This, however, should not be construed to be the fault of the staff, as they did an outstanding job servicing our table.
The room stewards were vey efficient, and our balcony room was always neat and clean!! We enjoyed the Adagio String quartet very, very much. This is an extremely talented group of young people who should go very far in their career! We also enjoyed the comedian and the juggler. We attended one of the shows that featured the Noordam dancers. While they were not ready for prime time, I am sure that with more experience they will achieve success. The cruise social director was very good about letting everyone know the scheduled activities of the day, and he was also an excellent emcee for various events.
We had arranged to have a couples massage in the spa during a sea day, and it was just wonderful! What a way to release stress!!
During the stop in St. Thomas, we met a very informative lady from the states who was working at a kiosk, giving any info you might need. She was very friendly and helped us choose and find a local restaurant where we could enjoy food native to the island. We also enjoyed tours in Barbados and Dominica.
The ship was very comfortable, with only a little rocking back and forth during the trip. I did notice several people wearing the little patch behind the ear to help with sea sickness. We could always find something to do during the days at sea and we got to meet several people from Canada, Scotland, and England, as well.
All in all, it was a great trip! It is always good to get away for a while, and cruising is absolutely the best!!!