This was a very first cruise, and we had a blast! The ship had just come out of dry dock with the 2.0 upgrades which included the Guy's Burgers, Red Frog, Punchline Club, Dr. Seuss, etc. as outlined in the 2.0 upgrade.
We had an aft balcony room on the 8th floor which was best enjoyed as you depart from ports of call as you have the final parting view. It was less enjoyable in the heat of the day as unless there was a cross-breeze, there was no air movement and it was just hot. Evenings were quite nice though. There was also a weird daily occurrence that the entire aft section (rooms included) smelled very strongly of used cooking oil each evening (after 10PM). I don't know if this had something to do with the Lido deck being above us, but the smell of french fries was distinctive and strong each evening. Our room steward was top notch and satisfied our every whim including extra ice and glasses to help us with an in-room party with some of our new cruise buddies as we departed our final port of call.
We opted for a late dinner seating and were placed in lower Posh dining room. Our service was excellent and friendly, and our seat mates were lots of fun too. We found the late seating was great especially on days in port as it gave you adequate time to freshen up prior to dining.
We actually thought that we would be bored on sea days, but they were probably our favorite. We enjoyed sleeping in, leisurely breakfasts, exploring the ship, checking out the daily shopping deals, karaoke performances, movies on the big outdoor screen, and a little sun bathing. In the evenings we thought that Seth in the Piano bar was spectacular and the comics in the Punchline club were hilarious!
Found our tour via Travel Advisor, Antigua VIP Tours. Turned out that we were the only ones on our tour. Traveled in a comfortable Toyota van, fully air conditioned. Our host had a remote starter so that she would start the vehicle back up as we were heading back from a site to start it cooling down. We visited Betty's Hope, a sugar mill plantation that is undergoing restoration, Devil's Bridge, Shirley Heights, Fig Tree Drive (where you'll see black pineapples growing), and Nelson's Dock Yard (English Harbor). Throughout the day, she provided us with rum punch, Antiguan beer, black pineapple, and sugar cane to sample. Lunch was included and she gave us a couple of options. We selected a traditional Caribbean fare restaurant which served the ducana and salt cod in tomato sauce. We visited Valley Church Beach as our final stop which had the most beautiful water!
We did the Rum Runners walking tour through Islandz Tours which we found through Trip Advisor. Started with a rum tasting at the pirate bar adjacent to the Pirate museum. Tasted white, gold and spiced rum and then had the bar's signature rum cocktail while learning about the role that piracy and rum running has had in the development of the Bahamas. Then we visited a local artist's gallery and enjoyed conch fritters in the garden. We learned more about the history of the island and various sites along the way to Graycliff Hotel where we walked through their grounds and then stopped at their chocolate shop for rum balls (excellent!). The chocolatier there was on Top Chef- Just Desserts show. Then we walked up to the John Watling Rum Distillery. We tasted their rums, had their signature rum cocktail, and had guava duff (a traditional dessert). Our host was great and very accommodating.
We chose to see the city on our own. Started at El Morro, San Juan National Historic site, then took the free tram up to Castillo San Cristobal. We then walked down into the Old San Juan district to see the cathedral and gate. The architecture and cobbled streets are beautiful. Enjoyed tapas and paella for lunch at Picoteo restaurant (near the cathedral). Shopped our way back to the cruise ship.
We snorkeled in Trunk Bay on St. Johns. The excursion boat took us into Cruz Bay and from there we embarked into various taxis that took us to the Virgin Islands National Park. There were BRIEF stops at some vistas, but not long enough to get out and take pics, except for the final view of Trunk Bay, and that was barely long enough. We had our own snorkel gear, but the company providing the instruction and loaner gear seemed professional and competent. It is apparent that the reef is under stress, but we still saw many varieties of fish and coral.