First of all, don't hesitate to take a cruise aboard this ship if you love cruising!! I read all the negative reviews and, frankly, found little to be true in my experience! The ship is beautiful with its simple, elegant, Asian decor. It it has beautiful public spaces which are not well represented by pictures online.
Our embarkation was uneventful but we arrived too late for the early Lattitudes entry. Tip--do get there early because we lucky few sat in chairs waiting to get on the ship--others have to stand and wait. Since we boarded around 2pm, our room was ready but we missed lunch in Windows which closes at 2pm on embarkation day; we instead ate at the hectic Raffles Buffet.
We had a lovely balcony room on deck nine, left(port) side of the ship. Had we been on the right, we would have caught the Statue of Liberty (but it payed off on the way back!). The room is spacious enough; the balcony is little but well worth the extra money!! We were traveling with our young daughter and the balcony gave us a oceanfront room of our own! The sofa pulled out to a bed for our daughter. Not to worry!! The balcony rail is high enough and the balcony door has a high lock that would prevent most children from opening it. My concern on booking a balcony room would be for high energy children or little climbers. However, I was comfortable with my child looking over the balcony.
The bathroom was small but nicely organized. There is a hairdryer at the sink. To the left of the sink is the enclosed shower with a great movable shower head. To the right of the sink is an enclosed toilet--it is small!
We ate at the following restaurants: Windows : Food for lunch and dinner were okay at best but the service and atmosphere were great! There is a constant ship rattle while you eat but we loved it! The Garden Grill was small but lovely and the food the same as Windows. Trattoria, the Italian restaurant, (part of Raffles at night) was lovely with excellent service and good food. We only tried one pay restaurant--Cagney's --excellent! The service (tell Shetty "hi") and the food were some of the best I have had. Between 8:30 and 9:30pm the cover charge goes from $20 to $10 and we made our reservation early in the week as it fills up. Raffles is so chaotic that I can't really review the food. If you have kids playing in the kids' pool, enter from that side to eat. It is less hectic and you can easily find what you want.
We had several breakfasts in Windows; other than scrambled eggs, everything was fine. Although the roomservice breakfast menu is limited, the coffee is hot and good, and the room service is on time. We ordered breakfast in out room often so that our daughter could sleep and we could enjoy our balcony!! Heaven on earth! Also wonderful is the food and service at the Blue Lagoon, the 24 hour restaurant!! The burgers at the outdoor grills were huge and delicious!! Overall--the food was very good!
My daughter was in the 6-9 age group for the children's programs and, although she was with us most of the time, she loved the programs for her age group and the staff was great! The kid's Pirate Ship pool is excellent and set up so that Mom and Dad can relax while watching their children play!! The regular pool area is great and much nicer than the pictures.
Entertainment is great-- the Trio in Charlie's Champagne Bar is excellent and it is a great place for families. The comedy of Dave Keenan and Sharkbait is wonderful. Parents, please take note of the Adult only shows! There were children in the audience and the comedy is not appropriate for under 18!
We enjoyed the ports of call: Sunday (depart), Monday(sea), Tuesday (Port Canaveral). We took the Kennedy Space Center Tour--excellent but costly and not enough time!, Wednesday (Nassau) We saw Atlantis from our balcony clearly. We got excellent liquor cheap, got our daughter's hair braided (you can barter) and went to the Pirate Museum (pretty good). That night we partied as a family at Great stirrup Cay(take your swimsuit and bug spray). Thursday--not enough time at GSCay. It took a while to get back to the ship, but it is beautiful and well worth it!
Overall, this was a great trip! I would go again tomorrow! Freestyle cruising is great! We are not early people, but rarely had to wait for anything, except a chair by the pool! Go-- and ENJOY!