I literally just returned today from our 1st cruise. It was a large family gathering (19 of us) celebrating many special events, esp 55th anniversary and was in the planning for over 18 months. Needless to say, we were all very excited to enjoy the trip (at least half of us had never 'cruised' before).
First of all, the initial cost is quite a lot, but what made it even worse are all the 'extra's' fees - most of which were mandatory! There is a $12/per person PER DAY fee "gratuity", every soda/alcohol drink (or drink package) has a mandatory "gratuity", most of the shows you had to pay a cover charge for, and all of the excursions were quite expansive.
I will say the food that WAS available was delicious, BUT - and a BIG BUT - there were twice as many places that charged a cover charge (from $15 to $30) to eat at. In addition, the places that were included had a rather limited selection, with VERY little seafood. There were only one or two places that had food 24 hrs, and the most common place (the buffet style) stopped serving decent food and desserts by 2130 hrs every day. The bottom line, we were VERY disappointed with the food selection, the lack of 'complimentary' food options and the additional charges for shows.
Lastly, there were too little pools for the size of the ship; two pools, each with a capacity of 26, for a ship that handles OVER 4000 guests. Although several small hot tubs around, the pools and lounge chairs were a huge disappointment.
I would seriously encourage ANYONE considering this ship to look elsewhere!!