Overview There were two families in our group. Both with kids between 19-22. Parents in mid 40's. We decided on this cruise since all parents and kids were available. If our schedules permitted we would have booked a March / May cruise which would have guaranteed better weather. We risked it and tired this cruise which left Miami on December 28 with stops planned for Great Stirrup Cay (GSC) and Nassau.
Miami Hotel -- Hyatt Regency
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Miami. This Hotel was very nice. The location and lobby were very impressive. The rooms were nice too. Highly recommended if you are staying the night before. We had to take a cab from FLL and it was $80 including tip. We did hit rush hour which may have added to the fare. Also, we used the FREE metro mover (people mover) to get to Bayside which is an awesome place. There was a band playing and some great resturants to choose from. We chose Los Rancheros and really liked it.
Very, very smooth. We arrived around 10:45am and the initial check-in desk area was pretty empty. We waited less than 3 minutes to see an agent to get our ID and then we waited less than 2 minutes to actually board the ship.
The ship was nice. I don't have anything bad to say about the overall ship, it served us very well. As for the late night entertainment, we were kind of disappointed. I enjoy reading the list of activities and debating over which events to hit and which events we'll need to sacrifice. Well, on this ship there were no debates since there were only really one thing to do at a time. The comedian, Rod Long was pretty good. He did two shows and both were "clean". Not sure why they didn't have a R version adults show since these usually seem to be much better. He did a show the first night and the last night. The second night they had a Frankey Valley themed show which we missed.
We enjoyed the MC's at Dazzles a LOT. They knew how to turn a decent audience participation show into a funny event. "The Perfect Couple" show was GREAT and Hilarious. We also saw the game based on minute to win it which again was very good. The bald Asian guy was very subtle but funny!! Food was decent. The first night we ate at Longboards and really liked it. The only caution is that we got there around 6:30pm. The ship offered a 5 drinks for $25 package when you get on, and it's essentially a pub crawl where in 55 minutes you hit 5 pubs and drink 5 drinks. Well, the large group of pub crawlers came through Longboards around 6:45pm and the small staff at Longboards were focused on opening a ton of Coors light beer cans for the group. The group took over the bar for about 15 minutes and it was actually very fun. The ring leader was a funny guy and the toasts were hilarious. If you have young kids, you may want to avoid the toasts. Anyhow, the fish and chips here were AWESOME! We all raved at how good they were. Longboards also has 2 for 1 drink specials from 6-8pm which is a great deal.
If you find the main buffet area packed, be sure to head further back in the ship to hit the Great Outdoor Cafe. Very good variety of food and less crowded in general.
We decided to do the self check-out and carry our bags off on our own. We ate breakfast at 8am and as we finished they announced we were clear to debark. We walked to our room, got our stuff and headed off the ship. We were through customs and waiting for cab in about 15 minutes.