So let's start by saying I highly recommend going down the day before. Takes a lot of stress out of traveling and you aren't so tired once you get on the ship. First, we decided to stay at the Hilton Miami Airport. Soooooo glad I chose that one. They offer a cruise package that includes a room, breakfast the next morning and transportation to the port. It was our anniversary so I let the hotel know that ahead of time. We got to the hotel and our room was beyond what we could have expected. It was huge and there was a separate sitting area outside of the bed area. Oh, and did I mention we had a large walk out balcony with amazing views??? So wonderful. We got there late so we ordered room service. While we were waiting for that, a room steward brought us Champaign and various chocolates. Needless to say, we were very impressed already. Breakfast the next morning was so very, very good. All you can eat buffet of everything you can imagine.
So on to embarkation. We took our shuttle to the port and it was already very crowded at 12:15. It was about half an hour before we were on board, so it wasn't bad. Just a lot of line waiting
Once on the ship, we headed to the lido deck with drinks in hand. I am convinced that they make the drinks very strong in the beginning and then gradually taper off because I was looped after just one specialty drink. We stayed on the lido deck for the sail away party which was pretty good. Our cabin was nice (no luggage yet, but it came before dinner). We were on the panorama deck directly below the gym and more specifically the treadmills. Not too bad, but heard them occasionally in the morning. We took a tour of the spa and gym which was nice. They had a raffle for spa treatments and my hubby won a 50% off coupon. He let me use it for a seaweed wrap and full body massage...so very wonderful!! He got a hot stones massage. Nice too. Food on the Lido deck wasn't that good (aww ship), I have to say...very greasy and not much that appealed to us (except when they made pot roast, mashed taters and fried chicken...very yummy). Pizza wasn't that good either...not sure why. Hubby and I decided to eat in the dining room 4 times for dinner which was EXCELLENT. Our dinner companions, Lena and Michael were great and lots of fun! Our waiter, Kenchai was exceptional. Kudos to him! The comedian that night was extremely funny. Frank Del Pizzo. His regular show was better than his R rated show. Our entertainment host Matt made the trip even better...yeah baby!! Cruise Director Chris was very funny and kept us well entertained!
Ports of call: Nassau - Not enough time to explore the island, but what we saw of the water was gorgeous. Made us want to just jump off the pier and go swimming. We did a little shopping, but it wasn't anything exceptional. We waited until Senor Frogs opened and had lunch and drinks...very fun but way too expensive.
St. Thomas - absolutely GORGEOUS!! We got off early to do some shopping. Then we went back to get ready for our excursion. We did a catamaran sail to go snorkeling. That was so wonderful. Saw lots of fish, a sea turtle, barracuda and a ship wreck. Beautiful water. After we got back we walked around a little more and had a late lunch at Fat Turtle...very good! Definitely coming back... St. Maarten - again, we didn't really explore too much. Didn't see the french side. But we got off early and rented some beach chairs. I went swimming and it was great. Then we did some shopping (not much to see right there) and had lunch at the Blue Bitch...not that good, but the music outside was good.
Did I mention that Santa Claus was on board...or more like 20 Santa clauses were there!! The little kids were dumbfounded and quite well behaved I must say :) Everywhere they looked...there he was (even at the bar!) Debarkation took too long...waited 2 1/2 hours. Oy! Overall, the trip was great, but 7 days is our limit...Couldn't wait to get home.