TRIP/TRAVEL: This was my wife and I's first cruise. We celebrated our 5th anniversary. We live in St. Petersburg, and so we were fortunate to have family drop us off and saved parking.
EMBARKATION: We were anxious to get going, and so though the paperwork said 1:30, we showed up at 11:30, and eating lunch by noon on the Lido deck. Other than a 3 minute delay entering the building to show ID, we did not wait in line until we hit the buffet. We made a quick stop by the dining room to have George the Greek find us a quiet table for two. We toured the ship waiting for the 1:30 time when our room would be available, and at exactly 1:30, housekeeping opened the doors.
The muster drill was painless, and soon were were on our way.
THE SHIP: We were excited when we found out the ship had been in drydock all of September, and watched as reviews rolled out of how great this ship looked. The new upgrades were great. The staterooms were nice and fairly clean, and the bathroom was a bit nicer than we expected. Bedding was not "revive bedding" (for the Marriott Road Warriors out there), but it was still nice. There are flat-panel TV's, though the signal in our room was distorted on several stations. The only problem we had was with our toilet not flushing several times on the cruise.
POOL/Water Areas: The pool seemed small to us, fortunately we only had 135 minors on board, so it wasn't terribly crowded (Risa indicated the next cruise would be carrying nearly 850 minors.) The waterworks areas were nice, and we went down both slides. The bigone was ok....but came out dry. The racers SOAKED us.
DINING: The food in the dining room was excellent, unfortunately, the service was not. Our server had several large tables, and we seemed like an after thought. On two nights, our assistant server attended to us, and that was much better, but then she got pulled away and did not see her again. Lido deck buffets were pretty good. The sandwiches pizza and icecream were also good.
Entertainment: I really came away feeling like it lacked. My background is A/V, and they have all the toys (Nice audio system, Great lighting package, Lasers, and Pyro), but they just don't use it to the potential. Perhaps its the operators (young), but I really doubt it. From what I saw, they simply "run cues" and hit play (on the lighting side), and just seem surprised that more stops are pulled out. Maybe I was expecting Disney?
The first comedian was horrible, and got heckled when he called out someone who was leaving. He asked why...(to go make woopie/potty.) To which they replied that she was leaving because he sucked. The audience must have agreed, as they cheered.
The newlywed/not so newly wed game was hilarious.
PORT: We docked in Cozumel. We rented a jeep and toured the island, taking photos along the way. We had alot of fun.
Debarkation: Debarking was pretty simple. We chose self debarkation because I had to be to work by 10:30. While there were line, we made it off the ship with little problems.
Overview: We were pleased with our cruising experience, so much so we are planning on booking another when we can find a deal! This time it will be a 5 day on the inspiration or 7 day on the legend. The Tampa port has spoiled us, so we will likely cruise from here again.
A big thank you to all those who provided pictures, comments, and more. This site really gave us the confidence we needed before we plunged into our first cruising experience. We are looking forward to taking our children the next time.