My wife and I booked this cruise as kind of a last minute decision and am I glad that we did. We live in southwestern Virginia and decided to drive to Cape Liberty. The drive took just over 6.5 hours straight up I-81, to I-78. We stayed in Newark near the airport for the night before boarding on Sunday. The hotel had a beautiful view of the New York skyline that my wife and I loved. We could see the Freedom Tower perfectly from our room.
Sunday, we left for the ship about 10:30. Anyone coming from I-78 (Route 78), after you get off and go through the toll, go on 440 to the left. We went right and well, our GPS spent a great deal of time sending us in a circle, but we got a free tour of Bayonne! After listening to my wife gloat that she was right, we managed to find a sign that lead us to the long road to the pier. We pulled up to the tent, got our bags out. It was only mildly busy at this point, which was about 10:50. After dropping off the bags, I went to park the car. Parked right at the pier. Yes, $19 per day is expensive, but the location is so convenient that it was worth it to me. When I walked back to the tents, they began to let people in. We went through the priority security line being suite guests. After making it through with ease, we went into the terminal where we were sent to the left for priority check in. No one was in line and we walked right up to the counter. Check-in took 5 minutes. We walked over and had our picture taken. At that point, boarding began!!! We were on the 2nd bus to the ship.
The ship is still in great shape despite her age and lack of recent dry dock. We got a nice upgrade from Royal Caribbean, we booked a GS and received and OS! The OS was really nice and spacious. It will be forever difficult going back to a regular balcony cabin now. We splurged on this cruise because we didn't have to pay to fly!
The weather leaving was a bit cold, but made the muster drill tolerable. All the bodies smooshed together generated heat! Sail away was early. Captain Loy likes to get under way early. The weather over to Bermuda was perfect. Sunny and nearly calm seas. Not bad for the North Atlantic in April. Bermuda itself was nice. We were on the Starboard side and had a view of the harbor and the west end of the island all week. I was apprehensive about being in Bermuda for nearly 3 days, but as it turns out, we actually loved it. We got to see the island at a relaxed pace and were able to come back to the ship to eat and relax.
Entertainment was great all week. Leigh the cruise director is good at his job. The Love and Marriage show was absolutely hilarious, mostly because of him. The food on the ship was consistently good. Ordered the Manhattan steak one night that was lukewarm at best and James (waiter) took it back and produced a perfectly medium rare steak that was definitely not lukewarm. All the deserts were good. The only issue and it's really a minor issue, is that we felt we had to keep asking our room steward for things that we considered routine. We were completely out of soap and shampoo and had to ask to get more. When we first arrived, there was standing water on our deck and we did not have any of our Crown and Anchor items in the room. We advised Marvin of these facts and it took us having to ask Mario, the concierge, to locate them and the floor supervisor brought them to us. Seems they were delivered to our old stateroom. Thanks for the upgrade, but, seems a little internal control would have helped. Certainly not anything that ruined our cruise by any means, but a bit annoying. Oh well, such is life,it was still a great cruise.
We gave our WOW card to the captain for having a great crew working for him, a great cruise experience he and his team delivered, and for the weather (which he jokingly said he was personally responsible for when it's bad and is taking credit when it's good).
If you are still reading by this point, hope you enjoyed my review and hope you enjoy your next cruise as much as we did.