Summary: Took the 8 night cruise from NYC to Eastern Caribbean (San Juan, St Thomas, Grand Turk. ) with adult sister and our adult parents. Food and entertainment left a lot to be desired. Bad shows/comedy etc. Ship itself was hideous (pink nightmare) and not very well thought out. Service was generally fabulous and we loved the staff we dealt with. Embarkation and debark was mostly painless. Nothing fancy about this ship and the whole experience felt pretty cheap. Come thirsty but leave your appetite at home. Good for a budget vacay.
Ocean view on main deck. Was okay. Twin beds, okay closet space. Clean thanks to our fabulous steward. Full length mirror was on the inside of the closet door and it kept closing itself -minor annoyance when getting dressed. Bathroom was okay, appreciated having several shelves for makeup etc. Small tv ~15 channels and most do not work at sea.
Food: This is NOT a cruise for foodies or anyone who enjoys well seasoned/spicy/ethnic food. Clearly its all about quantity not quality. Yes there was food but nothing really good and lines were long during the peak hours. The buffets on Lido deck were well manned and kept stocked but nothing too tasty to be found. Favorite thing we found was the "deli" in the aft of the ship next to the regular buffet so we could have a quick salami bagel for breakfast. And lunch. The buffet items were generally overcooked, unseasoned and not worth the time. I regret not sneaking some spices on board. Mongolian station was okay. Pizza place on Lido was okay but they don't have a good system so its long lines. The Black Pearl dining room was a way better option and we ate dinner there most nights. The staff was very good (especially the Matre d', Mr. V, he was the man). The food was pretty horrible the first few nights but magically improved on the 4th evening. We went from what we joke was shrimp fingers with glued on tails to good steaks, and bacon mac and cheese. Maybe they switched chefs?? Despite the improvement, none of the seafood dishes were good. Most everything on board was low in seasoning/spices in general though (possibly to appeal to the older cruisers). We really liked to have a "formal" dinner and the staff was great so despite the deficiencies the Black Pearl was a super alternative to the buffets. Brunch at the pearl was good, with reasonably priced drinks.
Drinks: Tiny child size glasses at the buffet. The included free drinks were BAD quality. If you don't booze then you will probably spend a bunch on cokes anyway. FEW water fountains. The booze drinks were okay with daily specials in horrible coconut containers. Most bartenders were stingy with the liquor but generally we enjoyed what we ordered. Prices not bad at all if you are coming from NYC area.
Entertainment: Is it a game/contest hosted by the cruise director Malcolm? Then go. Otherwise don't bother. The singing/dancing shows were absolutely terrible and we had to leave. Hire someone who can sing please? We enjoyed the Marriage Game, a few adult only comedy shows and went to the lido deck parties. Had some drinks and enjoyed those. ->The show performers do get switched out so don't write it off entirely.
Ship: Its hideous like everyone says. Check out the ship and don't stay in the lido area only...Seriously. Deck 9 aft had a pool/bar and you could go upstairs for mostly adult tanning time. Did not get to swim in the pools as they all had too many kids. Deck 12 (stairs from the Spa deck) had an adult only area which was good for tanning but also shade for reading etc. No one under 40 there, except us.
Debarkation and embarkation: Getting on/off the ship from the ports was efficient and pretty quick from our deck. The ship arrived on time to every port so we had maximum time to explore.
Biggest peeves: 1) Lack of bathrooms and fountains in public areas. Since everyone is basically drunk it would make sense to have more potties and at least some signs to let you know where they are.
2) Stop selling me crap. Most employees are pushing you to buy crap you don't want. Whether its photos, jewelry, excursions, dvd's, bottled water at your table, it was never ending nickel and diming. This cheapened the entire experience and made it feel like a floating Walmart.
Biggest pluses: Good size gym with a great sauna. Very relaxing! The lido party with the line dances was a great time once everyone got into it. The staff! The arcade. :) The band in the casino was great.