Disclaimer: The first part of this is going to sound overly critical. I’m not a critical person and none of the things mentioned in this first section could ever cause me to have a bad cruise. They’re just simple observations and minor annoyances that paled in comparison to all the great things about this trip.
After the Triumph’s misfortune earlier this year, I thought for sure this ship would be in tip-top condition. I was wrong. As wonderful as our room steward (Lawrence) was during this trip, it looked like some things in our room had been untouched for quite some time. The TV area was really dusty; I’m talking layers upon layers. With two couples in our room, we had to adjust the bed situation a bit. We kept finding candy wrappers, dirty plates, and dirty knives under furniture. That’s fine. Gross. But fine. Because why should they move furniture to clean under it in the few hours between debarkation and embarkation? However, there were also candy wrappers that could be seen before moving furniture around. It just seemed kind of sloppy. I have a feeling Lawrence wasn’t responsible for the condition our room was in prior to our arrival, as he was very thorough in his cleaning.
Other than the room, there were several spots around the ship that needed attention, such as missing or scratched paint, areas that looked like something had been broken, missing light covers, and the infamous sewage smell. The sewage smell wasn’t permanent or even all that noticeable. It was more like a "whiff” every other day or so, that would go away as quickly as it came.
The water slide wasn’t working for a good part of the trip, and the aft hot tubs weren’t working at all during the trip. The hot tubs were fine, since there were three more on the ship. But that brings me to the layout of the ship. This thing is weird! You had to go up and forward to go down, down and back to go up, something like that. Who knows?!?! There were always confused people (including myself) in the elevators. The pool areas, yikes! First off, there are no kid’s pool areas or adult’s pool areas on the ship, so kids take over wherever they want to. It was hard to find a spot in any of the pools where I was free from kids yelling, doing cannonballs, or running around the shallow areas of the pool and nearly tripping over me or stepping on my hands. The pools are SO small! I feel like the main pool should be bigger, that whole area is awkwardly laid out. The ship really doesn’t need five hot tubs, so it’d be nice if they took out the two on the lower level of the mid-lido deck (I actually think they added these when it was dry docked for repairs?), made that hot tub area into the "entertainment” area, and extended the pool to make it bigger. But again, with three pools on the Lido deck, if I wasn’t happy with one, I’d just move to another.
Now, for the GOOD stuff…
I’ve already mentioned Lawrence, our awesome room steward. Some other terrific people on board were Glenn, Dixon, and Raymond (our MDR servers), Anderson and Reginald (I think I have the second individual’s name wrong, but they were Lido deck servers), Irish Bob (entertainment staff), and of course, Jen Baxter (Cruise Director). All these people seemed to truly love their jobs and had a great amount of energy.
The food was awesome! Guy’s Burgers… I don’t even like burgers but I ate two of these because they were terrific. The MDR had wonderful food as always. The bacon macaroni stuff… mmmmm! And I had way better breakfast on this ship than I did on my last cruise. The Omelet Station, even though it took a while if there was a line, was great. The cook was entertaining, and he inspected each plate to ensure if was clean… impressive! Back to the bad for a moment- I don’t like the "new” pizza! It was kind of tasteless and took entirely too long to get a slice.
The entertainment was never ending. Hank and Chas were hilarious comedians, Chas may be the most talented and silly I’ve ever seen. Of course there were the usual "shows” that never get old, Welcome Aboard, Newlywed Game (or whatever it’s called!), Hairy Chest Competition, and so on. The most outstanding show was The Big Easy. I’m a New Orleans fanatic, so it was fun seeing them go through all the cultures of New Orleans in song and dance.
The ports were great; I love Cozumel and had never been to Progreso. Progreso isn’t as Americanized as other ports, which I liked a lot. The vendors are a bit overwhelming, but that’s how they make their money so I completely understand.
All-in-all, I wouldn’t book this particular ship again. I had a fantastic time, as I knew I would, but I feel the ship needs another serious makeover.