This was my 6th cruise. We had 17 people and we had a fabulous time. However much of that was due to just being on a cruise with family. We took this particular cruise because it went out of NYC.
The food was OK. I love Mexican food, but not on this ship. Their burritos tasted like curry and probably contained Asian spices. Still there was plenty to eat and nobody went hungry. They made very good pizza all day and night. I enjoyed the hokey dancing and singing by the waiter staff in the Golden Peal restaurant. Getting our dinner was very slow. However some of our people ordered multiple appetizers so that might contribute to the problem. We had 6:00 seating and were never out in time for the 7:30 shows. Fortunately the big theater is adequately sized to handle most all of the people comfortably.
The staff was all very friendly, but not the most organized. We were very disappointing to find that karaoke with the live band was cancelled because they somehow booked the same room for the kids camp. Don't they run this same cruise every other week?
The saddest portion of this cruise is the entertainment. We normally love piano bars. In this case the guy (I leave his name out because I do not intend to embarrass anyone) admits that he does not read music and claims he is self taught. He played notes along with an ipod. I can play music on an iPod myself. Their was one show by a juggler that was actually fabulous. I don't know how long he is performing but he was really great. The show "Vroom" was nothing special. The comedians were not that funny. The couples game was funny and I felt it was tastefully done. There was one "real" band who was very good. Unfortunately they were playing in the stinky casino. I hated that we had to walk through the casino to get to many places because I do not appreciate cigarette smoke.
The pools did not have nearly enough chairs or space for everyone to get in. We would try the different pools searching for one we could enjoy but they were all really crowded.
One thing I did like is that they had photographers with many different backdrops available every evening. You could get as many pictures taken as you would like and they would print them all. The next day you could view the actual photos and decide if you wanted to purchase any without any pressure. It is a good way to get the whole family together for a group photo. The cost was reasonable too.
So basically if you jut want to get away and the price is right, it would still be a good time.
You walk off the ship onto this beach. You should wear water shoes because it is mostly dead coral with great snorkeling right off the beach. There is a sunken canon and anchor. Do bring some kind of flotation device if you get tired when snorkeling because you do have to swim out a bit.
There is a Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville right there with an awesome pool. If you want to pay about $40 there is a wave/surf pool. There are also some nice shops and stands. It is a nice port.
You must be tendered to get to this port and the process is painful. They issue tickets with numbers and when your number is called, you go to the tender. It was a long wait. I would give it 6 stars if it were not for the tenders. Otherwise the sand and water are spectacular. There is suppose to be good snorkeling at one area but we didn't find it. We didn't try hard either. It did get quite hot. We rented cabanas. You had to walk a bit to get to the food. They ran out of ice and plates at one point. Not a great variety but plenty of fruit. Some in our party rented a small sunfish sail boat. The wind and currents were too strong and they had to be towed back to the beach. I guess the good part is that they had a motor boat patrol to do just that. We probably had to stand in the heat for an hour to be tendered back to the ship. I was advise to leave early to get to the island and back.
Well - if you want to shop and haggle the market is a short walk. I really wanted whatever beach I could get so we walked 20 minutes to the closest beach which is called Junkaroo. It is aptly named. The surroundings were not at all attractive but it was still warm water. We stopped at McDonalds on the way back and ended up shopping. I paid $10 for a bathing suit wrap. I later saw the in a fixed-price store for $8. Oh well I made someone's day. They will all start with a high price and try to tell you that they are giving you a deal. They will also claim they are raising money for school children. Who knows. You could take a taxi to Paradise Island but you would need to pay to use that beach. You could also take a taxi to Cable Beach. I had read all types of reviews and decided not to spend the money and time.