We arrived at the cruise terminal at 11:00 Saturday. The place was already bustling with activity. We immediately dropped off luggage, parked the car and got in line, checked in with our pre-completed sail away pass and were effortlessly escorted into a waiting area where only about 400 people were allowed to enter. They served sodas and water. I think anyone not in this room had to stand and wait in the adjoining room until the ship opened. The ship began boarding at 2:00 and it was effortless. However, we did see the line at check-in which was very long at this time. Luggage arrived by 3:00 and our Just Because package arrived by 7:00. All flawless.
I think it's under control. By the end of our cruise the bleach everywhere had stopped. We had a pair of men's Nautica pants ($48) and a kids OP shirt ($18) ruined. We turned them into the purser for ship credit. My advice is do not lean on the rails anywhere, especially on formal nights. Be prepared to use sanitized wipes everywhere you go. AND USE THEM, it keeps everyone well. Our cabin attendant told us there were only 7 reported cases on our cruise, which I thought was great news. Stay clean, wash hands and if someone coughs or sneezes next to you, turn and hold your breath until clear.Dining:
Service was excellent. We had Heri and Andre at table 473 and those guys are wonderful. I ate 2-3 appetizers and/or entrees every night. Yes I gained weight, but I worked out 6 months prior to cruise just for that extra I ate. I also worked out on the ship 4 days. Food was exquisite on some nights and OK on others. I had lamb 2 nights-the chops were ok, the shank was fantastic. Seafood night (Lobster) was excellent and order as many as you can stuff away. Deserts are a treat. Enjoy. We ate at Windjammer twice. Once right after embarkation and another for lunch. Not great-it's a buffet. My motto is why do I want to serve myself with tongs that have been touched by everybody when I can dine at the DR with fresh prepared food. To each his own, but I did not like Windjammer. Sorrentos pizza is excellent and good for that mid-afternoon snack after you re-board the ship from and island. Especially if you have late seating.
Don't miss the 2 vegas style shows, honeymoon show and the Ice show. Parades in promenade are also good. They cast is wonderfully talented and has put alot of work into the presentations. Reward them by attending and loud applause.Room:
Our attendant did a spectacular job keeping up with our schedule. We were always in and out and our teenager slept late most mornings. But Neil was always accommodating and kept our place tidy. Cabin was D1 Superior Aft Balcony and was a little cramped for 4. The balcony on aft cabins is much larger than the sides. I recommend if you can get it.
The ship is absolutely gorgeous and awesome. Something to do at all times. Try the Flowrider even if you are not adventurous, but you have to schedule the right time. It stays crowded. promenade is great to just leisurely walk through. Viking lounge provides a solitude area in the early morning to drink coffee and watch the open sea or ship arrival at the islands. Casino is well decorated and always bustling with activity when open. Rock wall is the highest at sea. It is challenging but you have to try once. There are things we just did not have time to do like mini-golf and some shows.
Mobay was the low point of the cruise. We did not do an excursion and went into the city center to shop. Jamaican's are always hounding you for money, either to buy something or a taxi ride, showing where something is, anything. It's just annoying. You start ignoring anyone who says...Ya Mon! Labadee was simple. Beach, BBQ and lots of people. Kids did water park, not much else. Everyone was saying how fun the Zipline was, so you may want to try, but seemed a little steep for me for one ride. GC we did stingray city and snorkel and this was excellent. Cozumel took a jeep tour around the island with several stops on the island. This was fun and I had just been in the shopping district on previous cruises.
Debarking: We were off the ship in 15 minutes after our color was called.
One final thought:
You spend alot of $$ on these cruises and at the end of your cruise when you add up what you have spent you get shocked. This is the time you are supposed to hand out your tips to the cabin steward and dining staff that have served you all week. Please don't short change these people. They work 7 days a week for six months at a time and have to pay to call their families to stay in touch. These people work very hard and deserve to be tipped at least the recommended amount and if the service is good, kick in an extra 10-20%. Put it aside before the end so you don't run out.