My husband and I are a couple in our late 50's and this was our second cruise. We drove to Galveston the day before and stayed at the Hilton resort along the seawall. This was good value for money in December (~$100) and we would recommend it at that time of the year. We got to the cruise terminal around 11:30am on the 23rd and were able to go through processing and board straight away; had lunch in the buffet restaurant and then went to find our cabin. This was our first Christmas cruise and we weren't sure what to expect. Our only disappointment was that there was no Christmas church Service but it was fun on Christmas Day to listen to the little kids try to decide where Santa and his sleigh actually landed on the ship !
Our cabin steward, Peter, was great and quickly brought us some wine glasses and made room in the small refrigerator for a bottle of champagne we brought on board. He kept our cabin spotless the entire trip. We had early dinner in the Monet dining room and were pleased with both the service and the food. Although our seating was for 5:45pm it actually worked well for us. Between ordering, eating and relaxing, we found that we were there most evenings until about 7:30pm. One caution - when the ship is at capacity, most tables for 2 are in the middle of the aisles and it takes a while to get used to having people passing by on both sides throughout the meal. By day 3, we hardly noticed them. We had a cabin at the rear of the Verandah deck with an oversize balcony. Nice balcony but the trade-off was the noise from the Lido deck until the early hours of the morning. From the deck plans it looks like you're under the pool, and we knew that closed at 11pm. What we didn't realize was that there's about 20ft with tables and chairs between the pool and the rear of the ship and the 24hr pizzeria is nearby. Oh well, we'll know better next time.
In Jamaica, you need transportation to get from the port to the main shopping area. If you don't take an official tour, we'd advise taking a cab from the port rather than a minibus if you're on your own. The minibuses wait until they have a full load, and then the majority vote rules on where you actually go. Cabs are more expensive (around $25 to downtown) but you have more control. You don't need transportation in Cozumel or Grand Cayman unless you want to go outside the town.
Onboard, we only went to one show so can't comment on those. Lots of places to just sit and listen to live music and have a drink. We paid the surcharge and went to the Steak House one evening for dinner. The food was really good but the portions are huge and we couldn't finish the main course - my husband had the smallest steak - 18oz prime rib and I had the filet mignon and lobster tail. We had waiters rushing to our table to make sure there was nothing wrong !
We really enjoyed this cruise and would recommend it as good value for money.