Check In: Security was heightened because of the Boston Bombings but that didn't hold things up for us very much. We were at the port by 10:40, parked, dropped luggage off and were in line for check in by 11. Once checked in we had a wait until boarding started but we got on the boat and were on the Lido deck by 12:30.
Stateroom: we had adjoining balcony rooms on deck 8 towards the front. Rooms were typical staterooms. Location to the Lido deck, Golden Pearl and the Spectacular Theater was perfect but it was a long hike to the Black Pearl Dining room. Room attendant was attentive. No complaints about the room at all.
Dining: We had two lunches and a few "snacks" on the Lido deck during the entire trip. The layout is not ideal as many people didn't realize there was a "back" part to the buffet with the same foods which made the main entrance area packed and difficult to navigate at times. Pizza was 24 hours but very slow. At times there were lines 20+ people deep. Decent variety of foods. Soft serve ice cream and yogurt were available 24hours.
Black Pearl Dining Room: Food was excellent and with the exception of one dish, everyone enjoyed their meals. Even the Maine Lobster was delicious and wasn't the "typical cruise lobster" we were used to. Service on occassion was on the slow side but we weren't really in a rush to go anywhere so it was OK. Bar service was excellent and the kids had drinks on the table within minutes of arriving which was nice.
Gold Pearl Dining Room: (Breakfast and lunch) Service was painfully slow here. If we weren't traveling with a child with a food allergy we probably would have eatten in the buffet. I ordered Belgian Waffles on a few occassions with Strawberries and every time they arrived without them. They did bring them when I asked again but that just meant waiting a bit longer. The Punchliner Comedy Breakfast was pretty lame. The first time the comedian told 3 short jokes and the second time we weren't there when a comedian was performing.
Entertainment: We skipped the welcome aboard show as the kids wanted to swim. We did make it to 2 of the stage shows and they were OK. The first one was much better than the second one (a new "cast" had arrived for the second show). We also went to the juggling comedian who was excellent. There were a few other shows that we missed as well.
Comedy shows were good although the family comedy show on night 7 was a repeat from night 6 which was a bummer.
Kids Clubs: Younger kids tried the clubs on the first sea day and had a good time but were busy with other things on the ship and didn't go back. Oldest went to Club O2 every day and had a blast.
Recreation: Lots of fun games and the kids really enjoyed paricipating in them. Hoola Hooping, Washer and Bean Bag Toss, Scavenger hunts etc., really kept the kids busy. The roof on the main pool was closed until the second day in Bermuda which was great. It was closed again on the last sea day but the pool was also closed because of rough seas.
The basketball court was a disappointment. If the kids were on the court and a group of older teens/adults showed up they pushed them off. After the kids were sworn at we said something to security who spoke to them but also told us that "this always happens, when adults are on the court kids can't use it". I'm OK with that but many times the kids were there first and had only been there for a few minutes before the adults came. Either some monitoring or rules need to be posted so that everyone can enjoy it.
Disembarkation: If there is one complaint I had about this trip as a whole it would be this day. Disembarkation was scheduled to start at 7:30 but we were late docking and then late clearing customs. Passengers doing self assist were supposed to walk off by deck number but once 8:30 hit and the staterooms had to be cleared it didn't matter what deck you were on, people just mobbed the lobby area, the stairs and the elevators. You couldn't even get through to the suggested waiting areas. We tried but the elevators were jammed and the stairs were packed. We got off the ship about 9 (about an hour later than anticipated) and our friends, who didn't do self assist, said that it was almost 10:30 when they got off with debarkation number 6.