-This was my 9th cruise, this makes: 4 with Carnival, 3 with Celebrity, and 2 with Norwegian
-40-year-old self-proclaimed foodie travels with fun-loving yet exacting spouse
-Home: Pueblo, CO
-What matters to me: interesting and tasty foods, modern & immaculate ships, like-minded passengers, comedy shows and live music, spacious staterooms, an interesting itinerary, and a safe place to walk my 10,000 steps daily.
-Things that irk me: crowds, rude people, cigarette smoke, and shower curtains.
-The fastest of all cruises thus far. Boarding a little after 12PM, we were on the boat in about 20 minutes (including security).
-Since I hate crowds, we sidestepped the buffet mayhem by going to the Cucina del Capitano which was open for lunch. This seemed to be a secret, even the crew wasn't aware it was open for lunch on embarkation day. The food was decent, free, and best of all: no hoards of people.
-Room was ready at 1:30 sharp, luggage arrived at about 3pm.
Room 1325 (deluxe oceanview cabin):
-Simple, clean, and large.
-Bonus storage room in ocean view window sill.
-3 large hanging wardrobes with plenty of hangers.
-2 bathrooms: one with toilet sink and shower, the other with tub (short but deep) and sink.
-Flat screen TV swivels to sofa or bed (lift it up a little if it catches on the wooden cabinet trim)
-Small fridge was mini-bar stocked but with more room for water bottles
-There was not a plug-in by the bed; I have yet to see one yet on any cruise (not sure why)
-Crisp linens, comforter a little heavy for the room temp (coldest I could get room was 72°)
-On midship deck 1, we felt little rocking and swaying of the ship, we did hear other passengers complain about becoming seasick on higher floors, but we were just fine in this location.
-Some baggage handling noise could be heard below us on the last night of the cruise.
-Modern, clean, spacious.
-Less gaudy than the Conquest or the Splendor (good or bad depending on your taste).
-Promenade (deck 5) was fully accessible each day of our cruise. For walkers: 2.5 laps = 1 mile. I completed 8 laps most days but didn't feel like I was overdoing it until the last day when my feet and ankles started swelling from the heat. There were 4 large hot tubs located on the periphery of the promenade.
-Kids in general seemed to enjoy the water slides. I was a sissy, so I can't say.
-Crew: consistently pleasant with few exceptions, there seemed to be more Indonesians and Eastern Europeans than I have seen on other cruises.
-Guests: a lively bunch of Americans, many Spanish speakers, and a smattering of friendly Europeans.
Food: Very good.
-The buffet: First, I must admit: I hate buffets. That aside, the Lido Marketplace buffet (deck 10) was excellent. Clean and organized. Appetizingly arranged food in a whimsical beach motif was great for grazing and people watching. The items changed daily which was a pleasant surprise. The coffee was weaker in the buffet than in the restaurants.
-The Taste Bar (deck 5): Great for lite breakfast eaters (open 8am-10am). Fruit, cereal, milk, yogurt, coffee, and oats.
-MDR: We chose anytime dining, even though we found ourselves dining around 7:30pm every night. The 2 formal nights boasted prime rib and lobster, along with many other choices. I liked the "Didja ever" items to include frog legs, sushi, and alligator fritters. All our entrees were competently prepared. The soups tended to be bland but the desserts were always tasty. Do not miss bitter and blanc (a modern spin on bread pudding), it was divine.
-Live music in the atrium was enjoyable and more hip than I recall.
-Karaoke was hilarious and fun.
-Comedy: the venue (deck 5 aft) is too small. If you don't arrive 30 minutes early, you will likely not get a seat. All the comedians were funny. We preferred the adult shows which were pretty raw and naughty.
-Casino: Avoid especially at night! Area is too small, crowded, and smoky. If you like to wander from machine-to-machine, I suggest you gamble during the daylight hours so you have more choice.
Debarkation: Speedy and well planned
-We chose the Miami Hop-On Hop-Off tour with airport (FLL) transfer.
-New carousels are a little confusing, but make for less crowds at immigration
Overall: A good value, great ports, yummy food, and nice ship.