Please take the bad reviews as a grain of salt and enjoy your cruise. We were a party of twelve , 11 adults and a child (7 y/o). Here is my review:
EMBARKATION: smooth, we arrived at the pier at 11:00am and we were able to get into the ship at 12:30pm. You can sit and wait to be call by a number given according to your room category and they have some snacks at the pier while you wait. You can also purchase your soda card or teen passport while you are waiting on the pier. Soda card for children is 26 dollars, so it is only worth it if your child will drink three sodas or more a day. At embarkation they welcome you with sparkling wine, mimosa or juice and we were for lunch at Windows.
CABIN: We got a balcony cabin, definitely worth it. We got the anniversary package which I strongly recommend. At arrival you will have a bottle of sparkling wine in your room and strawberry covered chocolates. On a different day you will have canapes delivered to your room, you are invited to cake, wine and pictures at the Charlies Champagne bar. They also will arrange a dinner at the BIstro ( French restaurant) with a complimentary bottle of wine, another cake and singing by the staff.
DINING: Make your self a favor and avoid Raffles buffet at all cost. Raffles has a good waffles for breakfast and a good salad bar for lunch, but otherwise it is very messy. You have to struggle to find a table, then make lines for eggs, omelets, coffee, waffles, juice,and by the time that you get to the table everything is cold. Windows and the Garden open for breakfast and they have a great menu and service. For lunch we ate at Raffles, windows, pool and blue lagoon, nothing special at any of them. For dinner we ate at Windows most of the time, food was good, but not exceptional, they have a kids menu, that my child enjoyed. We also bought wine in the restaurant and if you do not finished it, they stored for you for the next day, even if you eat at different restaurant or you can take it to your cabin. If you enjoy drinking wine , it is cheaper to purchase the bottle than by glass. Short wait or not wait at all for Windows, with the exception of Lobster`s night (2cod night- monday). You can make a reservation before six or after 8:30pm at Windows and you do not wait at all. We also ate at Cagney`s restaurant,huge shrimp cocktail and exquisite filet mignon. At the French restaurant do not miss the chocolate fondue. We found the food at special restaurants to be of a better quality and service than the basic ones.
ENTERTAINMENT: not so good, specially if you are from NYC. The Broadway like show and the radio show were the best, very talented singers and dancers. The magic show it is ok for kids, but do not miss your dinner for it. The comedy night was boring. We went to the casino and my husband gained some money with the blackjack table and video poker , but the slots machine were very tight. The nightclub was a lot of fun, mostly a young crowd. They have a angel white party at the Galaxy of the stars that it was great, even for kids and teens. We did not play bingo or table games.
PORTS: Port Canaveral, we have been to Disney and Universal during the last year, so we went to Cocoa beach, nothing special there, just a beach and shopping. If you are booking atour to Disney do it over the interent before sailing, because it sold out fast. Also take in consideration that you will get to the park around 2:00pm and you only have 5 hours or so to get into rides at the peak time of the park, so be prepared for long lines. NASSau: Part of our party went snorkeling and they love it, some other were to the glass bottom boat and they were not impressed. We met later at the British Hilton ( you can walk there from the pier) and enjoyed their pool and beach ( check their web site, it was $20 per adult and $10 per child). We also walked to the local market, it seems a lot like chinatown. Grand Bahama: Some membersof our party took a cab to the flea market ( $5 a person) and visit a local beach. We stayed at the ship and enjoy the pool.
KIDS ACTIVITIES: While on sea,our son spend most of his time with us,at the pool or the arcade. We left him a couple times during the day at the kids club, but after a couple of hours he was bored and eager to get out. The late night sitting was convenient for us, they usually watch movies during that time.
POOL: ok, very crowed on the sea days, unless you get up early. Drawbacks: No activities by the pool,and lack of supervision at the kid`s pool.
DISEMBARKATION: very organized, we was the express one and left the boat by 10:20am.
Overview: It was a nice cruise, especially for a family. TIPs: Bucket of beer ($20 for 6 beers), margarita special ( 5 margaritas for $15), martini special at Charlies( 5 martinis for $15), purchase wine by bottle and you may drink from the same one two days in the row. Avoid Raffles for breakfast unless you like chaos. get the ANNIVERSARY PACKAGE ( you need to purchased at least two weeks prior your sail date). Make reservations for dinner on the formal (Lobster`s night). At Nassau, you can take a boat that takes you to Atlantis for $5/ person each way, cheaper that the ship shore excursion. Get a balcony cabin