My partner (30) and I (40) flew to Miami from Chicago the night before our cruise, arriving around midnight on American Airlines. We took a cab to the Hyatt Regency downtown Miami (around $25-$30). It was a very fast trip to the hotel, probably because of the time of night. The hotel was nice and were able to sleep in, getting ready for the next day.
Embarkation We left the hotel around 11:45AM and took a quick 10 minute cab ride to the port (around $10-$15). By the time we checked our luggage with the porters, went through security and received our Sea Passes, we were on the ship by 12:30. It was quick, easy and painless, unlike others have stated about the Miami port. I would sail from Miami again.
Food Once on the ship, we headed to the Windjammer for lunch, as we had not had breakfast. The Windjammer food was ok, but lacked alot of flavor and by the third or fourth day, I just didn't want to eat there anymore. I did like Sorrento's and the Cafe Promenade, which I did frequent more for breakfast and lunch. The pizza, marinated olives, cookies and sandwiches were great. The only complaint I have about Sorrento's and Cafe Promenade is that they would close late at night and had no food (or only a couple cookies left up on the display case). This happened after the late night parties, especially after the halloween party, when asked they told us there were closed. Only room service was available, but we wanted comfort food after dancing all night and had to settle for room service that offered only cold breakfast and toasted bagels.
The dining room food was really good in my opinion was very good and I heard it from other passengers also, but my partner did not think so. The first night, the dining room service was slow (I think for everyone), but the second night there was a huge improvement and dinner went smoothly the rest of the cruise. Portofino's was great, the best service I have had in any restaurant in a long time, the food was great and we ate way too much. Chops was good also, but did not compare to Portofino's quality or service.
Accommodations We really enjoyed our D1 balcony. We normally do not get a balcony because we only use it to sleep, shower and change. But the price was too good to pass up so we switched a week before the cruise. Our room steward was great. We always had ice, clean towels and was there if we needed anything.
there was a problem with the TV not working and we could not check our Sea Pass account or see any of the shows we missed. Our room steward changed the remotes and it would work for a few minutes then stop working, so finally they had three technicians come in and replace some cables and it worked. After that I received four called from the head of housekeeping the the hotel manager asking if everything was fixed. They did a great job.
Entertainment We went to almost all the production shows, the singers were good. I think the shows became better as the week went on. The ice show was good, but I think I liked the ice show on the Mariner better. We did make it to the Love and Marriage Show, it was very funny.
The 70's dance part was fun and the parade on the first night was good also. We missed the parade on the last night, we were a few minutes late and it was over, so I don't think it was a very long parade.
The halloween part was on Thursday night, it started with the quest, afterwards a dance party in Studio B. The party then continued in the Solarium and finally ended at the Olive or Twist Lounge. It was alot of fun, and there were alot of costumes and many danced until 4AM. James Andrew was the cruise direct and did a good job, he was entertaining.
Excursions St. Maarten was great, the weather was perfect and we took Bernard's Tours. It was a great tour, Bernard showed us the island and it is well worth the price. We had quite a few people from our meet and mingle with so it made it even more fun. San Juan was great as well, we had plenty of time to do everything we wanted to do. We check our emails and phoned family for about an hour in a little bar (internet $3 for 30 min./$5 for an hour-I do not know the name of it, there were no signs outside). Went to El Morro, walked along the old city's walls, went to the pigeon park, and did a little shopping. Labadee was also fun, although it did rain in the morning, we went ashore about noon and went to the bbq, and then to the beach with friends. It was nice. We didn't do any shopping and did not have any problems finding a chair.
Service Overall the service was good on the ship. I didn't think the crew was as friendly as the crew we had on our Mariner cruise in May. But the crew members we did meet were great.
Overview The ship was very clean and looked brand new and overall this cruise was fantastic. I loved Bolaro's the most, which was my hangout for most of the week. The flowrider was great, the gym was good, but I think what made the cruise so great were the people in our Meet and Mingle group. We were like an extended family the entire week, from our rainy sailaway party at the Sky Bar, the excursions we took together, to the many meals we shared with one another. I have never met so many people that I have felt I have known for so long, in such a short time.