Hubby had been asking to cruise for years so we finally did that along with our 3 adult kids! Did a lot of research on CruiseCritic before choosing our cruise.
Flew in from Canada the night before and stayed in WPB at Hawthorne Suites (wonderful!) It took only an hour to get here the next morning so we were at the port by 1030! Dropped off the group with our luggage at the curb and then had no problem parking our rental van in a secured parkade across the street. A little disorganized when we got off at the curb. Had to ask porters what to do and where to go. Some signage would have been helpful!
Otherwise, once inside it was easy to navigate and all the staff were helpful and welcoming! So glad we were so early as we were able to sit for the last hour while we were waiting to board while hundreds of others had to stand.
On the ship by 1230. It was wonderful to spend the first few hours on an almost empty boat. Had packed our carry-ons with the recommended items so we were able to enjoy the pools etc.
Before leaving home I had let ship know it was DH 's birthday and I ordered a cake for the room.It was fresh and delicious! Went to main dining room on the first night and had an okay meal. Prime rib tasted a little artificial but everything else was good! Waiters brought dessert with candle and sang HB and many other diners joined in so it was a very special night!
We ate in Windjammer, Jade or Johnny Rockets the rest of the time. Food okay but found it repetitious and we were only on a 4 day cruise! Can't imagine a whole week!
Decided to get our own excursion at Cozumel. Saved a bundle. Snorkeled off the beach. Sampled several kinds of tequila and ended up buying a bottle of almond tequila!
One big negative is that I ended up with Norovirus. No fault of RC and they took good care of me. Comped room Internet and mini bar during my 24 hour quarantine. Gave me a needle to help with the N+V.
We chose self carry for disembarkation and because we had no reason to rush off we deliberately chose the latest check out time. That was great! We got to sleep in. Left our rooms at 945AM and were off the ship before 1030! Loved that as we had read a lot of negative things about leaving the ship!
Overall, it was a good adventure. Out of our group of 5, 2 will definitely cruise again, 2 are glad they had this adventure but would not and 1 was seasick the last day but would be game to try again. The seas were very rough during our cruise so that was a factor. But also, we had our rooms right at the front of the ship (deck 7) and that didn't help either. Thanks to all the tips on CC we didn't have a lot of surprises. Appreciate all the good advise!