Embarkation: Arrived at the pier around noon, dropped off our bags and headed over to Hooters in Channelside. After a few beers and wings, yum, we headed over to board around 2pm. The entire process of security, check-in and photos took maybe 30 minutes. By 2:45 we were in our cabins putting things away.
Cabin: U230, all the way at the stern of the ship. This was an oceanview room facing out of the rear of the ship. Really cool, we could see the wake of the ship at all times. It was noticeably rockier back here compared to midship, but I must attribute some of this to the seas we had. Our cabin steward was great! We requested ice for our fold-up cooler on the first day, and it never went without. DW also requested more pillows and they arrived that night at turndown.
Muster Drill: Probably the easiest drill I have ever witnessed. The crew did not require us to put the vests on until we reached our assigned area. Once everyone had it on, maybe 5 minutes in, they allowed us to remove the vests. What a relief! We had the privilege to sit in the air conditioned comfort of the Candlelight Lounge with no vest on!!
Sail Away: After the drill, we dropped off our vests and were off exploring the ship. We made our way up to the Verandah Deck above the bridge as we pushed off from the pier. After a few minutes, we headed to the Adults only Serenity area to watch the Tampa skyline shrink away. Then it was back up to above the bridge as we sailed under the Skyway. The bridge was not lit up as there was construction going on. If memory serves, that construction has been going on for awhile, but I don't drive over the Skyway too much. There is always construction on the Tampa interstates, ugh.
Ship: The ship was very clean, though I didn't see many crew members cleaning that often. Seemed like new carpeting throughout. The lido deck is awesome! Thatch roofing over the 2 pool bars and faux palm trees, as well as umbrellas around the pool. The new spiral staircases provide another route to the Promenade deck above. The stage is truly a stage now, no staircase there anymore. Waterworks is awesome! Adults and kids alike were enjoying. Unfortunately, it was open only the 1st sea day, as we hit heavy winds from the remnants of Olga while nearing and leaving Cozumel. We also sailed back through a cold front on the 2nd sea day. Oh well, I will be back on her in May anyway!
Food: Buffet was average fare. I tried just about everything once. Burger and fries, deli sandwiches, pizza and salad buffet were all good. Dining room was much better, as expected. Chocolate melting cake every night for dessert! Don't miss out on room service; turkey sandwich and BLT were very good.
Cozumel: We didn't have any plans for Cozumel. At first we walked around checking out shops and wanted to go to a few bars for a drink. Only bar open right near the pier was Hard Rock Cafe. Carlos and Charlies and Senor Frogs were not yet open(I believe we got off the ship around 10:30am, which was 9:30 Cozumel time). Wow, now that I think about it, I guess that was a bit early to be looking for a drink. :-). Anyway, we came across an information booth were a guy was selling an all day pass to El Cid. You can find their website by searching for El Cid, Cozumel. Basically was a hotel with a pool, swim up Jacuzzi bar, massages available for additional $$, snorkeling free for 1.5 hours and drinks included. We had to pay a $5/each deposit(cash only) then pay the balance of $30/each(cash or credit) once we arrived at the hotel. Cab was $2/person each way. I highly recommend this if you are looking for something to do. The hotel is actually right next to the international pier, we snorkeled in the shadow of the Navigator of the Seas! Not really, but it was very close!
Drinks included in the all day pass: Domestic beer(Sol, Dos Equis), Margaritas, Strawberry Daiquiri, Pina Coladas, Tequila
Casino: I did ok in the casino. I won $75 on a slot machine and about $150 on the roulette wheel. Lost a bit on the craps table, the dice were just very inconsistent. Seemed like anybody that had never played before were rolling better than the folks who knew the game. Still a very good time, there were some folks getting loud, so I assume somebody made decent money.
Overall, this was a great cruise. Not sure if I will cruise in December again though. The seas were a little rough. The ship swayed quite a bit the whole time at sea. Nothing major, but it did become a bit of an annoyance. I know a few did get sick.
Let me know if you have any questions!!!!