Absolutely fantastic cruise - Review touching on the topics I had the most questions about:
1.) Packing – since we couldn’t take an iron – I purchased one of those flip & folds – ironed all of the clothes ahead of time ( dh thought I was nuts…) used the flip & fold – packed - and everything was really in great shape when I unpacked – even my linen pants & tops! Don’t forget to bring x-tra hangers
2.) Getting on the ship – we were at the pier by 11 and on the ship by 11:45
3.) The ship is amazing ! huge! Beautiful! Spotless! Prepare to do lots of walking from one end to the other. It took us nearly a week to figure out which elevator was the closest to our cabins!
4.) We went right to the Park Ave café – this was really the only time the ship seemed crowded as everyone was trying to eat and no one could get in to their cabins until 1PM. We ended up sitting on one of stone walls balancing our plates on our lap. By 1 PM we were in our cabin. One suitcase was already there ( mine!) the other arrived by the time we returned to the cabin after exploring around 4:30
5.) Cabins – we had a JS on the 14th floor – now I’m spoiled and don’t think I could ever go back to a balcony cabin. Bed was very comfortable – large balcony overlooking the ocean– I just wish the exterior light was better to allow reading outside in the evenings.
6.) Dining – we ate in the MDR w/ 2 other couples we didn’t know before the cruise – they were great and we really enjoyed them. Formal nights were Sunday & Thursday. We chose not to do the formal nights so ate in the windjammer for the 1st one. Our tablemates convinced us to join them on the 2nd formal night and although we were not dressed up we were fine – I’d say 50% of the guests dressed up. I thought the food was great – but I’m pretty easy to please if I don’t have to cook it or clean up after! Most people respected the wardrobe guidelines but I saw some (adults – not kids or teens) show up for dinner in jeans which I felt was wrong. We also ate at Giovanni’s one night which was delicious
7.) Ports – we did get off the ship in Nassau for a couple of hours to walk around but since it was Sunday there were some stores closed or not opening until later. I could take or leave Nassau. St. Thomas – we took a wild taxi ride to Meghan’s Bay Beach. I think there were 4 ships in port that day so the beach was MOBBED. Really too crowded to enjoy and it took away from the beauty of the beach. St Martin - there were 6 ships in port that day so we stayed on the ship
8.) Entertainment – all I can say is fantastic! We saw the comedians who were both a riot – not to be missed, the water/diving show, skating show and the come fly With Me (aerial/gymnasts,dancing,singers) All were top notch. I couldn’t get a reservation to Hairspray so we missed that one.
9.) Casinos – we spent maybe ½ hour each night there after dinner before our 9PM scheduled shows – lost a couple of hundred which wasn’t bad – didn’t meet anyone who had won any money but I will say that I smelled no smoke at all on the nonsmoking side – they really do a good job of keeping it smoke free.
10.) Bingo – we played twice & purchased the machines for $55. On our last cruise – 9 years ago- I remember bingo being pretty full – this time – the 1st time we went there could not have been more than 50 people there so the payouts were small – DH won a $120 pot split 4 ways so $30 each… We also went back for the last one – the jackpot – more people showed up but the venue ( the ice rink) was no more that 25% full – the payout for that was just under $2000. I think the $55. fee for the machines is keeping players away which is too bad
11.) Pool area – it did fill up pretty quickly – especially on non port days and if you wanted a chair near one of the pools but there are plenty of chairs away from the pool and in the shaded areas too.
12.) Staff – all were terrific – can’t say enough about how great they all were.
13.) Last – weather – perfect – and I was nervous about a November cruise.
All in all – it was a wonderful week and I didn’t want to leave!!!