The New Year's Eve cruise had been booked for some time when my husband and I booked the 3 day Bahamas last minute to give the ship a "trial run". After the bad experience on the 3 day, I had tried to change our plans but learned that the change would have been too costly. Since we like the islands we were to visit, we decided to suck it up, keep an open mind and set sail.
We arrived to the port at 11am, and saw that people were already boarding. Being DP members, we were able to jump in line and check in. Okay, next up for check in and the computers went down. This has been a constant problem at the terminal, and we were thinking strike one. The computers were booted back up within 10 minutes and we were checked in and on board within a half hour. We have been DP members for 4 years now, and the card my husband received stated "Diamond". Strike 2! Our first stop was at guest services and they told us that they could give him a new card, but couldn't re-key it until their computers were up and running.
Next stop Windjammer - same mediocre food but plentiful. On to the cabin. It was immaculate and all was in place. We had a D1 balcony on deck 10. Small but spacious in storage and we unpacked for the trip.
First night's dinner was Portofino's. Excellent service and food. We heard that reservations were tight throughout the cruise, but we were only one of 4 parties in there the first night.
Next day, New Year's Eve, was a sea day. Pool chairs were at a premium, however we never saw many people. Really, saving a chair with a plastic flip flop laced in the chairs webbing?
Dinner was promising - a special menu with party hats, headbands and noise makers on the table. The festivities were underway but couldn't say the same for staff. The order was wrong from the start and we walked out of the meal before receiving the main course. The next morning we went and saw the head waiter and were changed to another area.
New Year's day was a quiet sea day. We went to our new dining room table and the waiter Larry was great. He couldn't have been better. No other complaints from us. Menus are the same as always and the service was exceptional - no problems for the rest of the cruise.
On Saturday we went to Chops. My husband said that his steak was a little tough, but my filet was awesome. Too much food, we took dessert to go.
Concierge lounge and Diamond lounges were much better than the 3 day. They did have overflow in the diamond lounge to another area but we never felt crowded. The bar tendingg staff was excellent. By the second day, the bartenders knew the orders in advance and were there with your drink a minute from arrival.
Our stateroom attendant, Reynaldo, was excellent. He came in the first day and asked for any special requests. He took notes and we never needed to ask again. The room stayed immaculate and he took every consideration to keep us happy. We never saw him except in the hallways, where it was always a race to see who could get to the door first to open. Always a smile and a willingness to please.
We have been to several ice shows, but Freeze Frame was one of the better ones we've seen. It was enjoyable and the level of skill on these skaters seems to excel even those from Oasis.
The original Drifters were the headlining show. We had seen them 3 years ago on a cruise out of Puerto Rico. They are still very good. They didn't seem to sing as much as the first time we had seen them, but the songs they do sing are still the same golden oldies we love.
Yes, there were a few bumps in the cruise, but overall, it was a much better experience than our first on this ship at the beginning of the month. I'm glad we were able to see the better side of IOS and would now possible cruise it again and recommend it to friends.