First- overall a very good cruise,
No problems at the pier in New York, we are a family of 6 from Long Island. We took the LIRR to pen station then 2 cabs to the pier. Total cost $55, compared with $210 to park at the pier for a week, and $180 each way for a limo.
Once on board only the Garden Cafe was open for lunch. We received a printed sheet at the pier that said the Venetian would open for lunch at 12:30, but it never opened. staff stated we should go to the Garden Cafe and the info we received was wrong.
Freestyle cruising- not so free. Half the restaurants on the ship have a cover charge from $10 TO $20 per person, then once your in those restaurants some menu items cost an additional $10.
We ate in the Venetian, Aqua, The Garden Cafe, and Salsa for dinner, all were very good. we didn't feel it was necessary to pay to eat in one of the other restaurants. We heard that Salsa was going to have a cover charge after our cruise. We also had snacks often at the Blue Lagoon at all hours. Everything there is also good.
We Purchased 2 teen passports on the first day. Each passport has 20 coupons that can be used in any restaurant or bar for a can of soda or a nonalcohol frozen drink. We found this to be a good deal since drinks were so expensive on board. We passed on the unlimited soda deal. It seemed very expensive, and we don't drink that much soda.
The Garden Cafe has Juices avail for free only for breakfast. If you want any juices later in the day, bring some glasses of juice back to your refrigerator in your cabin. Chocolate milk is also avail. for breakfast, but you have to ask for it.
Chocoholic Buffet- 10:00 Thursday night @ the Garden Cafe. It opened 20 mins early. Nothing special here. all the same stuff thats avail all week at lunch and dinner. If you miss it, you can get a piece of Chocolate cake for lunch the next day.
In Bermuda we purchased bus/ferry passes. 2 day pass $20. Third day we stayed near the ship, so a 3 day pass wasn't necessary. On wed. we went by bus to Horseshoe beach. Very nice beach. Beach chairs and umbrellas avail for rent for $10 each. Also a snack bar at Horseshoe. Long steep down hill walk to the beach from the bus. $1 per person taxi ride back to the bus stop is well worth the $1.
Elbow Beach the second day wasn't so nice. We went to the public section of the beach. No facilities there, and a much smaller beach than Horseshoe. You might want to skip Elbow.
Third day spent at Snorkel beach. It's a 5-10 min walk from the ship. Plenty to do at Snorkel beach. Rentals of snorkel gear- $20 (bring your own mask and snorkel from home) paddle boat rentals and jet ski rentals avail. Beach chairs and umbrellas $10. Snack bar and Bar at Snorkel Beach is very expensive (frozen drinks up to $18 each). Bring your own snacks and drinks. There is a mini-mart at Dockyard. The water is only waste deep at Snorkel park. Bring beach type shoes to wear in the water, lots of rocks and coral. lots of fish to see. Many people come out of the water with small lacerations to feet who didn't have shoes on.
Entertainment- Dave Heenan- very funny, see the family show and his adult only show. You won't be disappointed. Magician Greg Gleason also very good, he has a few shows during the week. singers Jose & his wife Patti- very good, they sing almost every night. Several other shows, all were okay.
Leaving the ship back in New York- we opted for the carry your own bags off the ship. I heard that people on past cruises stand in lines wrapped around the ship waiting to get off. we ate and was ready to leave @ 7:30 sunday morn. We walked right off without another passenger in sight. By 8:15 we were at Penn Station and on the way home.
Have a good time.