Boarding the ship was a breeze. The staff in the terminal was very helpful, and the cruise staff as we boarded were welcoming and friendly. My only suggestion for this is there should have been a cruise member inside at the stairs to direct people. About 20 of us ended up going the wrong way and found a dead-end – ultimately that was the theater but we didn’t know.
The entertainment we saw was very good. We didn’t have the chance to see the entertainment on deck 6 – Guest Services area and Headlines comedy club. Maybe next time, and there will be a next time. But we did see the entertainment that didn’t cost extra. I loved the comedian/magician and the musicals/dance shows (Burn the Floor and Rock of Ages) were fabulous.
Overall the food was very good, not excellent. The Garden Café was your normal fast buffet style food so nothing outstanding there but sufficient for lunch on the go. The Brazilian café (Moderno More
Churasscaria) was the best. You could eat as much or as little as you desired. Service was timely and the staff very friendly. The Manhattan Room was good – a little dark inside though. The food was good and staff attentive. I don’t recall any long wait for our order. La Cucina was a disappointment. Service was very slow and the food was mediocre. I ordered coffee and dessert. After finishing dessert and waiting 5 minutes we left, never got my coffee. It was not worth the extra cost. O’Sheehans was also very good. Food arrived hot, timely, and tasty. Not a large variety, but good “pub” food. First night out they had Prime Rib, very good. One of us ordered an end cut, the other rare, and both came as we wanted. Staff was good overall. I guess I just don’t understand why some dining areas are extra. I like the free style dining and never had to wait to be seated. But we are early birds, 6:30 to 7:30 for us. But do they really have to charge extra? I did not find any of the specialty dining worth the extra, as there was plenty to choose from.
The cost of the bar drinks was very high. For what you got I think the cost could have been reduced by a few bucks. Even the cost of a soda was high. And while I don’t mind drinking water, I might have enjoyed more than a few drinks had the price been reasonable. If you do not like ice tea, coffee, or water with your meal, you have a bill to pay. We never spent enough on drinks to justify the ultimate drink package, so I am glad we did not go that route.
I felt the cruise line is into nickel and diming people to death. So much money for things - $2.00 to play pool, $5.00 to bowl, extra money if you wanted pizza at night. Gone are the days of the midnight buffet which was so enjoyable. Just be prepared to fork over cash every time you turn around.
Our cabin steward was very pleasant and attentive. The Guest Services staff needs a lesson on how to be nice. Granted dealing with the public can be difficult, but I found them snippy and disgruntled. Some of the other staff I encountered elsewhere also had attitudes, no welcoming smiles or comments. My overall impression of the staff was they were o.k. It was a disappointment at times by their attitude but then you would encounter someone who was pleasant, helpful, and made you feel special.
The Internet Café is deplorable. The staff was unpleasant and condescending. I didn’t care for being treated like I’m stupid. And the fees charged were ridiculous. I think some complimentary minutes for guests would be helpful so people could contact home briefly if necessary. Any thing other than that, such as surfing the web, etc., should be charged but the rates should be reduced.
Shopping on board was a disappointment. I had expected more of a variety, although I guess the space where additional shopping would have been accommodated went to the casinos and numerous bars. I had hoped there would be an opportunity to purchase some t-shirts, sweatshirts, glassware, etc. Perhaps some toiletries would have been good, when some were forgotten to be packed. . While the jewelry selection was nice, the staff was very pushy and guided you to the most expensive. We did buy some watches which were not cheap, but we had to reject many times the high end which they were pushing which we were not interested in. We ended up walking out on more than one occasion because of their attitude.
I enjoyed the port of Bermuda. It’s a lovely island with very friendly and helpful people. And it was nice to sail for a few days before getting to the island. Disembarking / embarking in port was simple and painless. And on the last day the music and dancing before boarding the ship was fun.
There was ample lounge chairs on the ship. While the pool area could have been larger there was still opportunity for sun or shade. The music, however, was way too loud. You couldn’t carry on a conversation with the person next to you.
H2O however needs more umbrellas. Not everyone can take a full day of the sun and it would have been nice to be able to enjoy that space had there been more shade. It’s a nice place to relax.
The slides were a hit with everyone I saw on them. They actually didn’t take up as much space as I had expected. The freefall slide was just absolutely outrageous. Make sure you take off all your jewelry, including your wedding band.
The gym was too small for a ship this size. Every time I went there I had to wait at least ½ hour to use an exercise machine. I went at different times but that didn’t seem to make a difference. With people being so health conscious and working out more, it just makes sense to have a larger area. However, when I did get to use a machine it was enjoyable to workout and look at the ocean at the same time.
My overall impression of the ship is that it is really nice, never over crowded as it is big enough to handle the number of passengers. Staff was always cleaning so that was never an issue. I guess I had expected a brighter interior – more Caribbean or Bermuda colors. Some places were way too dark, like the Manhattan Room. Our cabin was nice, but on the smaller side. Not enough space to have you items out and handy to use. We had a room with a large balcony which was nice, two chairs and a lounge chair. Maybe a family suite with a large balcony would be better. For the amount of time spent in the cabin I can’t see spending much more money. The complimentary room service every morning with coffee, Danish and fruit was a great way to start the day. I loved sitting on the deck in the morning and relaxing. That treatment made me feel special. Ice bucket was rarely full and we had to call and request ice every day.
While we had some disappointments with the cruise, we had many more positive experiences, therefore we will go again, with one of the main reasons being we love Bermuda. Cruising out of NYC is a great experience. Seeing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from the water was something not to miss. And a few days at sea is a great way to start vacation.