This was my first cruise and I was not a fan of this kind of vacation but after a tourin Afghanistan I wanted a vacation where I didn't have to do anything.
Embarkation & Disembarkation - There was a long line to get to the counter but not at all unberabale. The lady that helped us faced a few technical issues but was really nice. Once we got our passes it was no hassle. They let me bring 2 bottles of wine and it was no issue at all. I packed the bottles on my carry on which I guess is the way to go because if its in your checked baggage they might make you go somewhere once on board to open your bag in front of the crew to make sure it's not liquor. Disembarkation was easy and smooth.
Food- I was really worried about food but had great meals. We had all our dinners in the main dining room and used the Windjammer buffet for lunches and most breakfast. I'm a picky eater but really enjoyed the main dining room. There were some meals where I thought they overlooked my wife's entrees but they stuff I ordered were always real good. Food at the windjammer was surprisingly good. I stayed away from the pizza and burgers which looked mediocre and instead went for the healthier choices which were very good. BTW, the fruit offered on this cruise is very fresh and very good. The info channels on board had a segment on food which claims they don't used canned veggie/fruits and I believe them.
Room - we were in 3154 which has a window. The beds were surprisingly very very comfortable. I never felt like we were cramped in our quarters. No issues with the bathroom, certainly no smells which other reviews claim.our stateroom attendant Rey was really nice and kept the room very tidy without being intrusive. We hardly ever heard people in the hallway (we were towards the back) and only heard someone from the adjacent cabin once. Unfortunately after the second night there was a lot of noise from the dining room upstairs. Real late at night they run carts across the floor and run the washing machines which make a huge racket. The first one or two nights I was too,tired to complain but eventually I told guest services and it did get better although it didn't go away.
Casino- Ireland another review complain that the odds were in the casino's favor! Wow really? Anyhow I'm relatively new to craps and that's where I spent most of my time. The guys running the tables were not as polished as in Vegas but what I really like is that they explained the game to people.
Alcohol- it's expensive, about $7-9/cocktail but since my wife and I are not normally heavy drinkers and since the bar tenders do NOT skimp on the liquor we chose correctly in not going for the alcohol package where you have to have about 7-9 drinks/person to break even, especially considering that once you reach port you will be off he ship much of the time. I had one mojito in the schooner lounge which was maybe the best I ever had. My wife ordered a wine and cheese plate to our room one night and the Paso Robles wine they sent up was horrible, if that's the house wine that comes up with the dink package beware.
Shopping- I couldn't believe how packed the on board shops got. I was skeptical of the discounts they claimed. My wife wanted to get me a nice watch so we were looking at Bulovas, the Colombian sales manager, Ulises, was honest with me when I asked about other promotions. He said if I waited until the last day that they wold have a bigger selection with nice discounts. I came back the last day and got a Bulova Precisionist which they said was normally $619-699 for $419. When I got back I looked online and that watch does sell in the 600s, Macyhad it on sale for $599, so I'm happy with the deal I got.
Overall we really enjoyed the cruise, the staff is incredibly friendly. I know the ship was recently renovated but I was disappointed to seeing some wear and tear here and there. Still I would not hesitate to book another cruise on this ship and hope that the fire that occurred this past weekend didn't cause too much damage.