My husband and I are in our 40s and were travelling with our two teenage girls (we had a balcony cabin and they had an inside cabin across the hall) and my in-laws who were in a balcony cabin down the hall, all on deck 8.
We flew in the day before and took a taxi ($25)to the Marriott Waterside. It is a little pricey, but was a nice hotel. We walked to the Florida Aquarium that afternoon; unfortunately the temperature outside was only in the 40s/50s!
Embarkation day wanted to take a taxi but they put us in a shuttle for the same price ($3 per person) to get to the port. It is not far, but with all the luggage can't walk. Embarkation at the cruise terminal was very easy and we were onboard shortly and enjoying lunch in the Windjammer. We went to the far back so we could sit outside.
Ship shows a little age here and there, but overall is very clean and in nice condition. It is a good size to get around.
Our stateroom was ready around 1pm and all our luggage arrived shortly thereafter. The cabin was fine; smaller and not as nice as our last balcony room on Celebrity, but we expected that. Only glitch was a broken closet door. Our cabin attendant was very nice to both us and our girls throughout the cruise and did an excellent job.
Dining - we ate at the main dining room each night. We were all very impressed with the food. We made each night a five course dinner by ordering an appetizer, soup, and salad as well as our entree and dessert. The menus just lists "starters" (appetizer, soup, salads) but you can order what you want from this category. Our service was also very good. We did not love the location of our table. It was on the upper level (deck 5) and was next to a big pole. I probably should have requested a 6 person round in advance.
Breakfast and most lunches we ate in the Windjammer. I'd say this buffet food was not as upscale as on Celebrity, but we always found things we liked and it was efficient; rarely any lines. On the two sea days we ate lunch at the Seaview Cafe and really enjoyed everything there (although not particularly healthy!).
Activities - it was a very young demographic on this New Year's Eve sailing. Few seniors and I'd say many in the 15 to 30 age range. So, there was definitely a fun, lively vibe throughout the trip. I overheard a lot of "hangover" stories in the mornings, but did not see a lot of rowdy behavior, despite being up until 1am most nights. New Year's Eve was a fun party in the Centrum with a big balloon drop, as well as a party on the pool deck. There was a midnight buffet on the pool deck.
On sea days, it was hard to get a chair near the pool and we never did get in a hot tub as they were so crowded. But we were still able to watch things like the Belly Flop contest or sit on the deck above and enjoy the pool band.
We loved the cruise director Steve Davis (who was only on this ship for a few weeks and is now gone) and the activities staff. We participated in several of the trivia and games. I guess that is what we liked better about this ship vs Celebrity . . . people wanting to have fun and do these types of things.
Entertainment - we are Broadway fans and really were surprisingly unimpressed with the two stage shows. The performers were strong, but the shows were not well designed. The headliner comedian John Joseph was outstanding, up there with some of the best we've seen. The other comedian and comedian/magician were okay. The Suave band which played in the Centrum, etc. was very good.
Our teen girls attempted to participate in the teen activities. I think the problem is the limited age up to 17, which I can understand, but they met some siblings where one was 18 (senior in hs) and could not participate so then none of them did. But at least they found friends to hang out with.
As for ports, in Grand Cayman we went to Tiki Beach on a friend's recommendation. They charge you $25 to get in (for beach chair and welcome drink) and it is probably not worth it when I believe it is less expensive at the places next door. But we did a little snorkeling from the beach and had fun. In Cozumel we took a taxi to Mr. Sanchos and did the all-inclusive ($50/adult, $40/teen) and enjoyed a beautiful beach day.
Disembarking was fine and we were at the airport by about 10am.
Overall it was an enjoyable cruise! I think good weather, a lively and friendly staff, young but polite cruisers, and delicious food made for fun memories!