We visited with our friends in Cape Cod for four days prior to sailing. We chose this cruise because the ship was brand new and we wanted to experience cruising to a single destination. Three of the four of us had been to Bermuda before but not on a cruise. We are "young seniors" having just recently retired.
Our first impression of the ship was "wow" as we pulled up to the port and arranged to park our car. It is HUGE and it was a gorgeous morning. Sailing out of Manhattan was spectacular. The skyline from a cruise ship is amazing. Seeing the new building on the 911 site was inspiring and sailing past Lady Liberty a memory to cherish.
We booked all the way forward so our cabin looked onto the front of the ship. I loved the location, next door to our friends...but my husband found the long narrow hallways to get to our room claustrophobic and I think we would pick a room more in the center if we we do this again. We did not have a balcony and did not miss it...there are many places to sit outside and have a drink which are quiet and relaxing. We were outside Shakers...the martini bar most afternoons and e evenings and it was great!
Our cabin steward Jeffrey was friendly, remembered our names and most evenings had a towel animal on our bed. The room was comfortable, the porthole huge, and the bed heavenly.
We ate at 4 specialty restaurants, La Cucina,, Cirque dinner theater (great costumes and show...my personal favorite show), Le Bistro, and Ocean Blue. We dined at the Manhattan room twice....service is not as good there but it is a huge room! The shows were all fun, loved Michael Finney (the magician), Rock of Ages is Broadway caliber and Burn the Floor which was okay...we also did lunch with the Second City "Disfunctional Family" which was okay...went to their evening act and left as it was not funny. Loved Fat Cats Jazz and the piano at the Martini Bar. We loved the wings at the Irish pub and the huge flat screen TV was great for football. Watched a fruit carving demonstration one afternoon while eating a delicious cupcake from Carlos Bakery.
My husband and our friend John bot "walked the Plank" and zip lined on the ropes course which was a kick for them...and they are both over 65! No water slides for us or poolside lounging.
We lost a day in Bermuda due to a tropical storm but there was so much to do aboard ship, we did not mind. We hired a driver in Bermuda for a day trip around the island and he was great. As others have mentioned, the Bermudians are very proud of their history and their island is clean and gorgeous. We walked the lighthouse and took tons of pictures. The second day we took the ferry (fun!) into Hamilton and lunched at the Pickled Onion where we tried a "Dark and Stormy" and a Rum Swizzle as well as their fish tacos which were fabulous as well as the sliders.
Our trip back to the mainland was uneventful...just as wonderful as all the above mentioned venues, disembarking was a little crowded and hectic but we made it through.
The crew members and wait staff were courteous and helpful and I was touched at their stories of families back home. They are mainly of Filipino decent and work 9 months of the year straight using Skype and phone calls to keep in touch with their families.