I picked this cruise as a graduation present for my daughter. It fit our schedule and budget and required no travel as we live in Charleston. I have previously sailed on Norwegian and Carnival, from small older ships to large and new.
Embarkation seems confusing on paper but is surprisingly quick. The problem at this port is the lack of space so the people leaving need to totally vacate the Customs area and the parking area before the embarking patrons can enter. Because of the layout you cannot walk up to the terminal but must catch a bus in the parking area, even if you are dropped off.
This ship is short on balcony cabins, in fact calling them "suites," so I picked an Oceanview. It was more than ample for 2 but I would hesitate to put more than 3 in the room, unless 2 were younger children. The bathroom and shower were small but serviceable. I did not like the lack of storage space in the bathroom. Some type of organizer is a must. The closet space was adequate only because my daughter lived out of her suitcase. The beds were very comfortable, the best I have had on a cruise.
The ship is small and lacks good live music. The show productions were on a par with a good high school production, IMO. I was not impressed. However, I loved the adult only Serenity section at the back of the ship. There is no smoking or music and just peaceful communing with the sea and the wake. My daughter read 3 books while I just zoned out enjoying the view. It definitely forces you to relax.
Service was the weakest link of this cruise. The crew did not smile and seemed tired. Our steward kept the cabin clean and gave us ice but refused to supply us with pool towels. We never saw him and when I would call Guest Services he was always on break at that time it seemed. Service in the MDR for Any Time Dining was spotty until we found a good service team and asked for their section each time.
There was heavy emphasis on trivia games and karaoke, including karaoke with a live band. I do not view karaoke as entertainment and was disappointed at the lack of live band dancing. The dance club allowed smoking and it was so acrid we could not breathe. I saw very few people actually stay there. It made your eyes water. We never saw the Cruise Director until we were disembarking. Actually we never saw any of the crew engaging the passengers except for the usual hairy chest competitions and the like.
Nassau is a been there, done that port but we did try the free Junkanoo beach that is within walking distance of the ship and that was not a bad option. Freeport also has a free beach but required cab or bus to get there and was not as nice.
Disembarkation was surprisingly easy but very early. There was no way to sleep in as the Captain gunned the engines upon entering the Harbor, literally shaking us awake at dawn. If possible you should take time before or after to visit Charleston, as there is a lot to see and do from Plantations to historic homes to shopping and fine dining.
Freeport requires a cab drive to do anything. The shopping is not that good and the free beach was dirty.
The Straw Market is very repetitive, offering the same items in every stall. Junkanoo Beach is free and within walking distance to the ship.