RATINGS (out of 10):
Stateroom 'VA' veranda - 8
Ship condition - 9
Staff - 10
Food quantity/variety - 9
Food quality - 6
Itinerary - 10
Grand Turk catamaran/snorkel - 7
San Juan PR strolling - 7
St. Martin Orient Bay Beach - 6
Half Moon Cay - 10
Entertainment - 7
Spa Massage - 1 (one)
Gym - 9
Poolside - 6
1. My wife enjoyed her couples massage, but I felt that my masseuse was untrained. She did not work the muscles, but merely smoothed oil gently over my skin. She hardly touched my neck, which was the #1 area of stress/tension that I told her about. She asked if I wanted hot stones, but failed to mention the $20 extra charge. At the end, the up-marketing began in earnest, as they tried to sell many expensive oils and cremes. When it was all said and done, I felt like I had been ripped off. I've had far better massages for $50-60.
2. I would compare the food to a Golden Corral: Lots of quantity and variety, but the quality is only so-so. Best items were breakfast and the poolside french fries. Not what you could call gourmet.
3. The ship's regular entertainers were only mediocre, but the BB King band had some real talent. Each of the 6 band members held their own individually and as a group, and the 2 singers were outstanding. They will be on the ship until March 2014. I only wish they had actually played blues like BB King, rather than "Rhythm &" Blues.
4. The snorkeling would have been far better if they had done it in 10 feet of water instead of 30-40 ft. And it was about twice too expensive.
5. Fabled Orient beach is small, dirty and trashy. But at least you could get 6 Coronas for only $10.
6. By contrast the beach at Half Moon Cay was gorgeous: super clean, soft lovely sand, good swimming area, BBQ, etc. The clamshell umbrella was a good deal.
7. This was Christmas week, and they tried, but it sure didn't seem like Christmas. More like a "Happy Gingerbread House Holiday."
8. The staff were very friendly, helpful and hard-working. The service was excellent, albeit slow in the main dining room. But they were practically running non-stop, so no lack of effort... just a massive undertaking to serve so many people.
Enjoyable and relaxing, maybe an 8.5 score. But we're not sure we'll cruise again soon... will have to weigh cost & convenience vs. a land trip.