Embarkation in New York was easy .My husband has walking difficulties so were directed to special assistance to go through security. Then as gold lattitudes members we joined that short line and got one of the first group numbers to board. We have learned from experience to avoid the buffet on first day as is crowded and instead headed to main dining room Savor for a leisurely lunch.
We had upgraded to an aft balcony after reading reviews about how small standard balconies are. we were on deck 9 which have the largest-in fact the size of the room again!
3/4 of it was covered which was ideal as gave shelter but still open space at the front for sun
There were only 2 chairs and a table there but we asked for loungers and 3 were brought-still loads of room to move about!
I arranged the meet and greet on board as well as a cabin crawl so got the chance to see some other cabin types
mini suite with large balcony-large walk in shower than standard balcony room .Balcony not as large as ours but main complaint from occupant was privacy-food etc dropped onto balcony from decks above
studio cabin-small but adequate for 1 person and that studio lounge looked cool!
Spa mini suite-room as mini suite above and small balcony but spa access included
Haven spa suite-this was located outside the Haven complex but had access to it as well as spa. small balcony but padded chairs. Upgraded furnishings and Jacuzzi bathtub. The occupants reported they preferred being away from the Haven itself
We got the chance to check out the Haven as we got an invite to the Captains party held in there
It was lovely with a lounge area 2 small pools retractable roof and 2 levels with padded loungers but as it serves 60 suites can see where there could be issues if you have inconsiderate neighbours!
Food-this is such a subjective subject and we have never found the need to pay for the speciality restaurants. However Tuesday night the staff party was held in the Manhattan restaurant beneath our cabin which went on till 2am-the whole floor was vibrating. As an apology we were given a voucher for a complimentary meal in Le bistro. To be honest we found the food over seasoned for our tastes therefore will stick to included restaurants-but each to their own.
Spa-we weren't going to go for this after upgrading to our aft balcony but went to check it out and succumbed!
It has sauna steam room sanarium and salt bath room-not sure what that was about-it was a cool room with salt crystals in middle and was too cold to sit there for long!!!
there was also a hot tub, therapy pool and lots of loungers-my daughter and I got our moneys worth each day!
the pool area was very crowded as was ropes climbing area but we wanted a relaxing experience and spent most time in the adult H20 area or on our balcony.
entertainment-we saw Burn the Floor[good] Rock of ages[excellent but not for kids] and Howl at Moon duelling pianos[great fun]
The ice bar was a fun experience but wear leggings and socks!!
most evenings though we just relaxed in Shakers bar listening to the pianist and people watching
we had 3 sea days and 3 days docked in Bermuda so plenty of time to relax. We booked a 5 hour taxi tour with David Fox who showed us all around the islands that first day-the next 2 days we stayed on board and enjoyed the quiet ship.
Ultimate Beverage programme .For $49 per person per day most wines beers soft drinks and spirits[up to a certain value were included]
there was another option caps and corks which included wine and beer for $44 per day
we did come out ahead but only because we did not have a port intensive cruise where were off ship a lot. We therefore had cocktails during the day which is not our normal pattern. husbands usual beers would have worked out cheaper pay as you go and I would have gone for a wine package.
Disembarkation-unless you want to be off the ship as early as possible don't use Easy off disembarkation where you carry off your own cases. elevators were crowded and lines of people waiting to get off the ship.
We put our cases outside for collection the last night and had a leisurely breakfast in O Sheehans which was open till 9am.9-40 the crowds had died down and we walked off the ship easily to be reunited with our luggage after security