My DH and I have waited to take this ship until the price came down. We were very pleased in the experience, except for a few items that we heartily would not recommend to anyone. I had surgery and needed to get away to recoup and recover. We have always found that a cruise does just that. It leaves us with no time to just sit around the house, but makes us walk, talk, interact, and get our juices flowing, so to speak. We did fly to FLL instead of drive-an 8 hour drive for us. No problem there. We found it was easy on, with the porters, and the wait for our room tickets were tolerable. We did find that the staff in the terminal were almost tight-lipped about telling us what to do, where to go. My husband was using his walking stick and none of them offered to put him in the limited mobility line. (He does not push it, but I did note he was getting tired.) Our room were ready but our luggage did not arrive until almost 8 PM. Because of the timing of this cruise I don't think all the room were filled. It did not appear over stuffed with people throughout the ship. No long line on Lido deck for food. No extemely long lines for the elevators. And no overly push waiters trying to sell booze to everybody and his brother. I have been on other ships-Carnival especially-that I would have 5 of them ask me if I wanted the 'drink of the day'. The first thing I was not happy with was the time of our dining. No matter what we ask, it seems we always get the opposite. There was a long like for the maitra d to change it. One passenger called me the 'B' word when I pointed out the end of the line to her. Oh, well...
Upon arriving in our room we were pleasantly surprised to find a roomy outside cabin. After much thought, I remembered I purchased it. (I had looked at so many I forgot I had purchased that catagory.) It was roomy with lots of storage space. We had more room than we needed, actually. The bathroom was much bigger than the last cruise my DH and I had been on. Our head waiter at dinner, I must praise her. Dana was the best we have had on any cruise. She was professional but warm and friendly. Always with a warm touch on a shoulder. Always kept our glasses filled. Always remembered out special requests. She was everything a person would want for that position.
We took an independant tour off the ship, and two through the ship. The last one was the worst we have every had, in terms of what was promised and what was delievered. It was supposed to be for 4.5 hours but we had to be back on the ship before that time was up. It was 'Balmoral Island Beach Day', with or without lunch. The description was of a 'luxurious island experience'. Multiple offerings of food, drinks, fabulous beach, etc. We were to transfer from the pier by boat to this private island. What they DON"T tell you is; you have to walk a half mile to get to that part of the pier, then become a sardine on the transport boat. The beach is just a small strip of sand leading into a rock filled swimming area. You don't want to walk here without water shoes! When we first arrived I saw a swimmer through a 5 pound rock on the beach after he stepped on it. Drinks were not even expensive, they were very expensive. A Coke was $5.oo plus tip. Frozen drinks were over $10.00. And if you wanted the lunch option, it was $50.00 more. And by the way, they did not offer flotation devices to rent. We looked for food to buy but found only cookies and chips. They had a dolphin swimming option there and you could see the pens on the other side of the pier. When people tried to take pictures, a crew member came and chased them away.
I must also praise the singers and dancers. It is my personal opinion they were the best I have seen in all of our past cruises. And I must comment on the meals. I have always said, 'If you cruise, do not order steak because none of the cruise line chefs know how to cook a tender one. Well, this cruise has proved that theory in error-for them at least. We had the most tender and flavorful cuts of meats, cooked to our liking, then we have ever had on board anywhere.
Getting off the ship was a breeze. We had an early flight and the whole affair went smooth. Can't wait until our next cruise.