Ok.. Where do I begin.. This was my first cruise. We had 9 in our group from ages 20-78. 2 young adult, 3 middle aged, 4 seniors. I must say I had a wonderful time as well as everyone in our group. Embarkation was a breeze(no pun intended). (We arrive around 12:45ish) I thought we'd have a longer wait time. It only took about 45 minutes from the time we arrived to the time we were on the LIDO deck for lunch. Not bad for a group of 9.
We ate at the Main Dining Hall all nights for dinner except 1. We chose flexible dining and we were seated almost immediately each time for dinner. I was prepared to wait a couple of minutes or more because of the flexible dining choice but no problems waiting. As soon as we sat down, water and bread were almost immediately on the table. The dining experience was great and I thought the food was tasty. That melting chocolate cake was to die for!! No complaints. The service was top notch!! Loved seeing everyone dressed up on Elegant nights.(there are two for cruises 6 nights or more). The last night we tried a Specialty Restaurant(The Italian one). It was pretty good. Great experience and atmosphere! I had a Peach Bellini that I really liked!!
Most of us stuck with the buffet mostly and the Punchliner Brunch one day(in the Sapphire). I never waited very long but there was always a line. Food was adequate. If all else fails, you can't go wrong with the continental type food such as bagel, cereal, fruits, oatmeal, etc..I wasn't as impressed with breakfast as I was with the Main Dining for dinner. My senior parents preferred the Sapphire for breakfast because liked being served rather than waiting in long lines.
Because breakfast was so plentiful and visits to the ports, I found myself not being able to catch lunch as much. I did catch the Blue Iguana and The Wok for lunch on 2 days. Pretty good but nothing to write home about.
Really only caught the Divas show. It was pretty good to me. I enjoyed it. It's not Broadway so I always go in with low expectations. Singing OK except one lady was exceptional. (There are these big columns that can impede your sight if you don't arrive early for shows) The comedian Steve White was very good.. So crowded, I had to stand and didn't wait until the end. Caught a couple of Heat games in the sports bar.. Now I will say, if they call that a sports bar, I was disappointed. There wasn't very many seats and it was in the middle of the casino. That's an area to improve on.. They need a real Sports bar!! Tea time was fun!!!! I got a chance to meet and talk to some very interesting people.
I love the decor. Service was great. About the size I expected. very satisfied. Just make sure you ask for adequate towels and soap. I felt those two items were hard to come by.
Ports: Loved Turks.. I thought it was pretty! very laid back however. It's a place to go and chill.. It's not bumping with a lot of activity outside of the cruise port area but I loved that about it.. We did a land tour on our own outside of carnival.. in the taxi area. We learned a lot about the area and really took in the beauty.
Jamaica: Ocho Rios: My favorite port!! Beautiful! A lot to do.. We did a carnival excursion, Dunn's River Falls, and Sky Explorer, Bobsled. Amazing experience!! Dunn's can be challenging if you are not in decent shape. I didn't feel like they stressed that in the advertisement. Rocks were slippery and steep in some places. I fell twice. Someone on our boat broke their foot. Our seniors didn't even think about walking up 600 feet in the falls :-)
Bahamas, Nassau: Very commercial.. My least favorite port. It's pretty and Atlantis is the big deal there which I wasn't overly impressed with.. I can go to Vegas to get that big resort feel but not with the price tag Atlantis was offering. Not worth the money when it takes a long time to get off the boat to the resort and reverse.. We decided to do a local tour outside of Carnival and it was very informative.
I can't complain.. I had a great time and our group got into the rhythm of everything pretty quickly. (Please read those itineraries that come every night. They are helpful in planning your day and what's going on..It took us a couple of days to really start utilizing those guides to the fulleset. )Everybody found something they liked to do and did it.. There are less congested areas to hang out as well. I'd recommend this boat for sure!!!!!!