The "yellow" chairs weren't nearly as bad as I had anticipated -- we actually moved through the process rapidly. GO EARLY. Hated the picture taking though! We finally just walked on through the crowd and boarded the ship without the "first" holiday picture.
Our room was upgraded to an outside room with a huge window and lots of drawer and closet space. Very happy with the room although I think I will ask for a room with a balcony next time -- just because I smoke. (Remember though, you really don't spend much time in the room and you can use the extra money for all the other things that you will want to do.)
My husband and I spent most of our time in the casino, so you can guess where our money went. They don't comp your drinks while you gamble, so be prepared to have a large bar bill at the end of the cruise if you gamble and drink much. That was hard to accept since we are use to receiving free drinks while we gamble. Stick with the special of the day if you can -- otherwise the drinks will set you back $4.95. If you spend much time in the casino -- you will be amazed about the staff knowing your name and sign card number. THE CASINO SERVICE WAS WONDERFUL.
TAKE SOME WATER WITH YOU! They will allow you to take on a reasonable amount and it is very expensive on-board. The ship will sell you water to take on shore but wait and buy it when you get in the port. Generally $1.50 vs $2.50. It really adds up over the trip.
If you take your kids -- PLEASE DO YOURSELF A FAVOR and get a beverage card as soon as you board. That will allow them to go to any bar and get cold drinks at any time! A huge savings!
If you go hungry -- it's your fault! My son probably ate 20 pizzas in 1 week. Some type of food is available 24 hours/day. The breakfast bar was my favorite! I'm sure that my cholesterol is elevated from the daily omelettes that I had specially prepared for me! My 15 year old son said to tell you to force your shy kids to get out and make friends right away! He spent 2 days complaining that he was bored -- and when we got back, he was complaining because we couldn't stay another 7 days!
If you can -- do the Canopy Tour in Jamaica. I am an old woman ,out of shape and scared of heights- but, I would do that trip again, over and over. The bus ride alone was worth the price! My son asked if there was a speed limit and the driver said, "If you see a speed limit sign, let me know and I will kill it!" NEVER pay the asking price for anything- bargaining is the game. Trust me, you will win! Cozumel -- DON'T book the all-inclusive beach/snorkel trip! Rip off! The will charge you $12.00 for the "buffet", which is basically nachos. If I go again, I will just catch a taxi for a "SHORT" ride down the beach and visit one of the free beaches that are close to a restaurant. The ship will warn you that they won't wait for you if you don't go on one of their trips. Just be smart and don't get far away -- the traffic is terrible. Again, don't pay full price for anything-except for the "recommended" stores. Grand Cayman -- The most beautiful place that I have ever seen! The water is magnificent. My choice for the place that I would love to return to for an extended visit! They took a lot of damage from ERIN, but it still beautiful. No bartering here though! Overall, it was a great first experience! I hope to take many more trips and perhaps take my 8 grandchildren with me next time!