Embarkation: Pulled into the parking lot at the cruise terminal around 1130 and found a parking spot with no problems. Loved the exterior look of the ship! At the time, there were no porters to be had. We brought our own bags downstairs. The line was moving then it stopped. It took us over an hour to finally get on the ship.
We travelled with our three year old daughter and my mother in law. Got cabins. 13838 and 13840. Great location mid ship and ther are no inside cabins across from us. Above us and below us are balcony cabins too. They do allow smoking on the balconies, but we were lucky in that we didn't have any neighbors that smoked.
Our room was sufficient. Plenty of storage in the closet, under the bed for luggage and even under the sofa bed. We also found cabinet space in the desk, entertainment area. Mini-bar fridge and individual coffee maker were nice too. Ask your steward to remove the booze and you have a fridge big enough for some water bottles. Balcony had two seats and small table. Nice to sit out in port and in the early mornings. Bathroom had plenty of storage, shower with a glass door and foot pedals for shaving.
Fitness Center and Spa: The fitness center is divided into two separate areas, one for cardio and one for weight equipment. I never had a problem using them around 730. The second sea day there was a wait around 9 when I went to take TRX. There are two other rooms, one for group fitness and one for Flywheel. TRX is offered on sea days and was $45 for the three days and they add gratuity to that too. Flywheel is $30 bucks a class. My hub, an avid cyclist enjoyed the classes. Flywheel is offered on all days, but may not run if there is not enough people signed up. They also offer some free classes and some other type of classes that are fee based. Best bet is to go to the center on the first day and pick up the week's schedule of classes to plan your week. By the way, TRX and Flywheel are only 45 minutes.
Spa: I booked my deep tissue and hot stone massage on the last day. I requested a male therapist and got Newman. He was fantastic! Got all my knots out and did a great job, very professional. The spa it self was nice. The receptionist led me into a waiting area with big,comfy, loungers with thin partitions in between each lounger. You are waiting with others who are scheduled for treatments, could be a better set-up in that regard, but overall a pleasant experience and Newman was great!
Splash Park: A blast for my three year old complete with a decent size kiddie pool in the middle. She loved it and spent hours there. The other pools were decent sized lots of chairs and areas on deck 15 and 16.
Restaurants: The breakfasts items at the Garden Cafe did not change much during the week. They always offered the same items and plenty of them...eggs, Benedict, omelette stations, oatmeal, fruits, Danish, pancakes, waffles....lunch and dinner items changed more often.
We ate at Taste and Savor. They offer the same menu, but have different chef's specialties every day. Actually all the restaurants offer their own same menu everyday.
We thought the sushi was very good at Wasabi. We also enjoyed the raw bar at Ocean Blue. We made reservations before we left for Ocean Blue the restaurant. At the time I made our reservation, the upcharge was 35 a person. By the time we cruised it was 50 a person. We have no problems paying an upcharge and actually like the variety that it brings, but were somewhat disappointed in Ocean Blue. Service and ambiance was excellent. I thought for the price of the upcharge, they should offer lobster and other sea delights, worthy of the extra $$$.
Room service: tried taking advantage of room service twice during the week and at different times for different things and was told 45 minutes for both times. Is that a standard answer? Deterrent? Well, it deterred us and we ended up getting other food.
Shows: Cirque was excellent. The food was okay. It was a fixed menu. If you have kids that do not eat chicken fingers they have some other options. We paid for premium seats, but regular seats are fine. Doors open 30 minutes prior and we got there at 520. The place was already 1/2 full. Get there at 5 and you will probably be in good shape.
Burn the Floor was also excellent. You do need tickets for all the shows. The only one they charge for is Cirque.
We also went to Fat Cats one night and blues were very good. I wanted to get tickets for Second City, but they were always late times available. The earlier shows were sold out. If you really want to get tickets for certain shows, do so ahead of time. They do not charge and you are not penalized if you don't show up. There is always some kind of entertainment going on. Fire and ice were very good. Plenty of grand pianos around with various musicians playing tunes.
Bars: We thought they were all very good and each had something different to offer. I liked Shakers the best. They had an eclectic variety of martinis.
The Waterfront: Love the concept! If it is windy or high winds, the waterfront is not open. On the days that it was open, it was fabulous. There is something to be said about having a drink and watching the waves go by. Like being on your own personal yacht. They do allow smoking out there, so just be aware.
My favorite time on the waterfront was when we were leaving leaving Bermuda and caught the sun and sea of glass. We were having martinis and slowly watching Bermuda fade away, relaxing, priceless.
Aqua park, trampoline, zip line, plank, monkey park. My hub did all of these and thought they were all great!
Dora and Sponge Bob: for all the hype of having them on the ship, I thought they could have done more activities with the kids. They did a pajama jam one day, which I heard was okay and the food not so good. Meet and greet with Dora and Diego another day, Sponge Bob another day, story time with Dora another day. I guess I expected them to be around more. They need to bring The Bubble Guppies on board.
Overall, we thought the ship was very easy to navigate and quickly learned our way around. The interactive screens throughout the ship were a great idea. You can check what's going on, restaurants and show availability and make reservations with a swipe of your card. The ship is grand and beautiful. We thought the staff was excellent. They were always there to greet and smile.
Disembarkation: We opted to drop some of our bags the night before. We have always walked off in previous cruises, but had to much baggage this time around. They put colored tags out the day before corresponding to times to get off. We got the last of the 915 tags. They actually started calling our color at 830 and we disembarked got our bags and were back at our car by 920, nice!