I was a bit nervous after reading a lot of these reviews. My suggestion to all who read these reviews it to take it all with a grain of salt. There are some very picky people and and some very easy going people, try to find the middle of the road people.
That being said, we had a very relaxing, awesome time. I traveled with my DH and 2 teenage daughters. This is our second cruise traveling as a family.
We stayed overnight at a Comfort Suites near the airport about 15 minutes away. We arrived at the port around 11:15 and were onboard and eating by noon. We dropped our bags with the porters first then parked and checked in. I had considered purchasing the FTTF but waited too long and it was sold out. As a result I "saved" $100!
One thing not to be missed when leaving out of Jacksonville - going under the bridge! Clearance is only about 6 feet. Not sure if this is from the stack or the the bow radar equipment. We were standing up front by the mini golf and it seemed pretty close!
We opted for the "guaranteed oceanview" cabin. Not sure if I would do this again since I did not like finding out my cabin assignment a week before we left. We were given 2 midship Riviera deck cabins. The only drawback was that these cabins appeared to be directly above the gangway and there was a constant banging noise. The upside was getting to see the pilot boat coming alongside the ship the morning we came back to Jacksonville. That was AWESOME!
I cannot name our cabin steward. He/she never introduced themselves. However, the cabin was always well taken care of and we had really cute towel animals each night.
Loved the shows. We saw Motor city and Divas as well as the Hasbro Game show. Also caught the family version of the standup comedians.
- Your Time
The food was ok. I was not overly impressed. The portions were small but I know that you are able to order more the one entree if you want. Our family are not big eaters so the portions were fine for us. We did order extra starters a few nights as well as try the "didja ever" escargot, alligator bites, and one other (can't remember).
We did a couple breakfasts at the buffet but much preferred the Omelet station. took longer but worth the wait. Loved the Mongolian grill!
Martini tasting - tried all 8, loved all but blackberry!
We choose to stay aboard for Nassau (been there done that). Went ashore to Little Stirrup Cay. I much prefer half Moon cay. The water at Little Stirrup was murky and I was not crazy about all the little coves as opposed to one big beach. There were also jelly fish and one little girl was stung :-(.
The tender tickets are given out on the lido deck, first come, first served. we were told by our waiter to get there at 7:30. They started assigning tenders at 7:45. I heard several complaints from FTTF passengers that they were not given priority boading. We were assigned Tender 2 and were on the island by 9.
We also did the Behind the Fun tour on our last Sea Day! Lots of fun interesting facts about the ship operations to be learned. Also got some "free" gifts - Honorary crew member ball caps, chocolate covered strawberries, canapes and the recipe to make Chocolate Melting Cake.
Overall, we had a great time and will definitely be doing this again soon.