Mid 30's, married almost 10 years, fairly well traveled, 2 ½ year old son. 1st time taking a big trip with just the 3 of us. 1st time cruisers. Got a very nice work bonus and went for the “blow out vacation” and spent $4100 on the 1 bedroom suite. Went to Cozumel and Castaway Cay. These are the good and bad things that I had not seen mentioned in other reviews.
- Staff and service- fantastic, friendly, multinational, all excellent english. Engaging w. the children. Servers are cordial sweet and funny with the kids and efficient in their duties. the custodial staff were kind, nice and unobtrusive.
- Concierge staff (extra service as part of the 1 bedroom suite)- accessible, informative, answered questions, provided any 3 of 3000+ DVDs for the room. Allowed for priority embarkation (however no priority disembarkation). Were there to book activites for you. Invitation only reception w. Captain Mickey (super cool)
- Ship- clean, nice amenities, things in good repair. Amazing suite! Huge. awesome view and veranda.
- Nursery- has one for kids under 3 yo who cannot go to the other kid programs. Staff seemed friendly. Only used this service once.
- Food/restaurants- large portions, fairly expansive menus, 4 different sit down restaurants and 3 grab and go options. Unlimited except for alcohol, specialty options (coffees, etc) and Palo. Quick and 24/7 room service (limited menus for non-concierge cabins)
- Palo- excellent fine dinning experience and worth the $20 per person.
Internet- WiFi throughout the ship for a fee, spotty and slow buts its satellite.
- Shows- fun, engaging, well paced, 2 per night. 3D movies look great (however 2 year olds don’t wear glasses for 3d!)
Spa services were amazing (but pricey and try to up sell a lot) and the gym area and free classes were a great addition.
- Fair amount of hidden/excessive costs- $20 wine most fine dining was $40, 16oz Budweiser was $7+, they include 15% gratuity on ALL alcohol, as concierge cabin there was $12 per day per quest gratuity included for wait staff (2), chamber maid (who is the same daily) for all guests (even 2 ½ year olds). For our 5 days it was over $200 for the five days plus the additional 15% on alcohol. Also there is a expected (but not included) tip for the concierge
- Food- over all the the quality is poor at best. All frozen, and tasted every bit of it. fish/seafood was horrible, kid options had no green veggies unless explicitly requested (1 entree option for kids was deep fried mozzarella sticks with french fries for dinner)
- Kid options- website showed lots of free play area in the Oceaneer club/lab. However the vast majority of the times its open is drop off day care time with limited allowance of kids 3yo-12yo and no parent supervised play time was allowed. “open house” (general admission of all ages, parent supervised) times were early am or late PM. Great facilities and a lot of fun when it was open to us, but that was only twice as our son goes to bed @ 8-9pm. However was probably tons of fun for kid 4-5+, as the age range is quite broad.
- Nursery- nice they have one, but its 0-3 yo, all integrated ages in a fairly small room. Was mainly just watching TV, no structured activities (that we could see) only used for 2 hrs as it seemed a little depressing. Fine for babies, but boring for 2 1/2 yo kid. Also no-one tells you to return the tracker bracelet (I assumed you left it in the room) was immediate charged to our bill $50.
- Concierge- was a little surprised by the pre-printed, fill in the #'s tip form that came along with the invoice. Very reticent to discuss anything other than Disney day trips @ the ports-o-call.
- Privacy- the room service folks/cleaning staff just come in. will knot/buzz once and enter.
While it may seem there are a fair amount of negatives, we had a wonderful family vacation. Lots of fun and laughter, great memories and photos. Its just that the additional costs added up very quickly. Was an extra $1000 on top of the cruise and airfare, granted ½ of this was a wine package (7 bottles total, hey we're on vacation!) and a massage. We spent a large amount of money on what was supposed to be the best vacation ever and felt a little disappointed with the amenities/extras we thought we paid for once it was all done.