This was our first cruise, and overall I would say it was worth the money, as it was very cheap.
HOTEL-We flew into Fort Lauderdale and rented a hotel room and the Gallery One Doubletree. The room was beautiful, there were 6 in our party and it was a 2 bedroom suite, with 2 baths, a kitchenette, a fold out sofa and a balcony overlooking the intercoastal waterway for less than $300. The next morning we drove into Miami.
EMBARKATION- We got to the port of Miami around 12:00. In our travel docs it said boarding would begin at 2, a sign outside said it would begin at 10 am. It took about 35 minutes form the time we got to the port to the time we got on the ship, once on we headed straight to the Windjammer for Lunch.
SHIP- She was beautiful, but she showed her age. Lots of outdated decor, and thin carpet, she is in desperate need of her refurbishment.
EXTRAS-I had ordered the Classic Romance Package for $100. And the entire thing was completely messed up. apparently it relies on several people coordinating it and as we only saw our stateroom attendant 1 time the entire cruise, you can bet it wasn't coordinated at all. First you are supposed to have a welcome aboard bottle of wine and Chocolate covered strawberries. At 11:00 that night, we still hadn't received it; I went to the pursers deck. The girl i talked to was the nicest, sweetest girl i encountered. She apologized profusely and got me to write down the times and dates for the rest of the things i was to get. The next day we got to our cabin at 5 after being in Nassau all day. When we arrived we had a bottle of Champagne sitting in a bucket of tepid water, as the ice had all melted,choc strawberries that were melted, and a tray of canapes that were warm, had fallen over and smooshed to one side of the tray. As the wine was supposed to be COLD and everything delivered at 6:30, I went down to the desk to see if they could correct the mistake. 30 minutes after clearing it with the desk, that everything would be replaced, a room service attendant came with a bucket of ice. When asked to take the other stuff back and replace it he said no. He wasn't told to do that, I gave him the card of them man who had told me everything and he left. another 30 minutes later he comes back with the new tray of canapes and strawberries. That night after dinner we were supposed to get after dinner treats. None arrived. The next day I went back to the desk, they apologized and promised a tray would be brought. They were brought, at 5:30 before dinner instead of after, and they we MORE strawberries...
PORTS- Nassau while kinda gross was my favorite place, as they sold Lots of counterfeit designer bags, wallets and what not. They also had lots of the real stores like Gucci and Prada. We took a cab for 8pp roundtrip, as it was raining and couldn't' ride the ferry, to Atlantis. MY! It was expensive there, but beautiful. The grounds were something everyone should see. Some of the grounds people were kind of rude, but We weren't paying guests so I could kinda understand Cococay- Beautiful. Have lots of Coco Locos and go snorkeling! We brought a can of easy cheese which really brought the fish out, be careful though as they will swarm you, and it could scare small children. Also, remove your jewelry. A member of our party lost his wedding band. Also, while snorkeling, i came upon 3 jellyfish, all around the floating docks they have scattered about. Key West- We chose an outside vendor to do Parasailing, Sunset Watersports. It was 39 per person, plus tip, plus $8pp roundtrip cab fare to Smathers Beach. It still proved to be cheaper then RCI, who as of now charges 79pp. They were very friendly guys, and even shot a video and pictures and out them on a disc for us (we had to buy it of course, but they didn't push it) I would Not recommend going to Smathers beach to swim. It was disgusting. According to the guys, The seaweed came to shore, and rotted in the sun. The smell was awful, and the water was brown for about 50 feet out. We also did some shopping at Kermits,Peppers ( go in for a tasting of all there hot sauces!), Hard Rock and The Hogs Head Before heading back to the ship.
DINING- Overall the food wasn't that great. Sure roomservice is free, but they don't offer the full menu and in the time it takes to get there, you could have gone and gotten it. The breakfast selection for roomservice wasn't great, some cold bread or cereal with a good selection of juices and coffee. The coffee was the worst I have ever tasted. It needs alot of help. The meals in the dining room were great!- for the table next to us. Our server rushed us, was very short and didn't participate in any of the songs. He was busier doing his sidework- sorting silverware, removing things from our table and such. The food, i expected more of, but it wasn't bad. The oxtail broth was my favorite, the garlic soup my least. There was a great selection of foods, and a great selection on Wine. However, my favorite dessert being tiramisu- do not even think about trying theres. The marscapone custard had some sort of gelatin in it which made the texture that of a jello jiggler, set atop the ladyfingers..Eck.
STATEROOM- Small. Maybe 8 hangers. You could sit On the toilet and touch the back of the shower with your feet. weird description I know, but you can get the feel that way-oh, I am 5'4. The water pressure was great and never ran out of hot water. We didn't see our stateroom attendant ever again after the Muster Drill. He came and put the evacuated sign in our door, and that wa all we saw of Irvin. occasionally we had Ice, and on most days we got our compasses, we did not however get our bill or our guest satisfaction survey.
DISEMBARKATION- It was a mess. there was a huge line going to the pursers desk, most of the people in it, not needing to be. They didn't realize it wasn't the line to get off the boat, or didn't understand that if they used a credit card, it automatically went through. We had several adults cut in line ahead of us, and lots of people yelling and complaining. Since we didn't get our bill the morning before, like we were supposed to since we were paying in cash, we had to wait in the line to settle our account. We left our room at 7:50, went directly to the line. We went from the line to the door. We got Off the ship at 8:45. Baggage Claim was fast, customs were easy.
Overall, I went on this vacation to have fun, and I did. There were a few things that weren't great, but other things that made up for them ( quest, newlywed game..) this cruise was just right for the money we paid, and maybe after the refurbishment we might go again, we just wouldn't want the same waiter or stateroom attendant.