Embarkation- Excellent We found easy parking, and once inside the terminal, it took less than 10 minutes from start to being in our rooms. See remark below regarding life boat drill. The process was the exact same leaving the ship very quick. In fact, US Customs didn't even check our passports. They did however ask how long one of us had had our watch. It was a November birthday present, but I suspect they thought we had purchased it in Bahamas. Luckily, they didn't press further and we didn't have to prove it.
Public Rooms- We actually found the ship to be in better overall shape than 1.5 years ago when we sailed her after her dry dock. There was constant maintenance taking place, including painting all of the white areas of the pool deck while we were on board. We hadn't visited the Martini bar on this ship previously and found the room to be beautiful and yet very crowded before and after dinner. Islands cafe appeared to have new carpets and chairs.
Cabin- We stayed in 1212, a SS. It has the typical lay out of the SS we have been on previously with the exception of Solstice. The A/C worked perfectly. One morning our toilet didn't flush. We stepped into the corridor to see if the cabin steward was visible. We found maintenance in the area and they told us they were working on a blockage. Within 5 minutes it was working. The room was very clean and everything worked fine. The water pressure in the shower was excellent. I also liked the new amenities. They are no longer Elemis, but a more "refreshing" scent. The cabin was a great location and close to the pool and Islands Cafe and elevators. As we experienced 2 years ago, you do feel a lot of vibration when the ship is arriving and leaving ports. Otherwise the cabin was quiet.
Dining- I know there are many comments on the food. We recently heard from X that they were reworking some of the food. The buffet food was the best we have had thus far. There were many choices and well prepared and presented. Even the pool bar seemed to have more offerings than in the past. Murano was incredible, surpassing our experience in Olympic (and that was hard to do). The staff was attentive, friendly, and the food excellent. I repeated the same menu from Olympic (Goat Cheese Soufflé, Steak Dianne, and the Chocolate Soufflé. The Maitre'd was unfortunately leaving in a week. We are returning to this ship in 3 weeks and wished he was going to be on. He was so friendly, and witty. He added to the experience greatly. We have not seen many comments on CC regarding the coffee, but it previously was a hot topic. The coffee is now definitely brewed from beans. They have replaced the "fancy" machines with the type you would see at a local starbucks. The coffee was much improved and great. On the second night, we chose to eat Sushi and then later pizza/pasta from Islands Cafe.
Service- This is always where X excels. Once on board, the first person we met (security guard) recognized us from a previous ship and welcomed us back. How many passengers do they see a week? And yet they remembered us and our names. I wonder if there is any coincidence to this always happening with bar and security staff :) This always amazes me. Service in all areas was top notch and the staff very outgoing and friendly. Many inquired how our cruise was going and were sincere in actually hearing what we had to say. We frequented the Martini bar often. We always try to go to the same wait staff and get to know them. We told one waitress (from Montenegro) that we were probably going to go on Azamara in the spring. The second night, she came to us and let us know that she had looked at the cruises we were interested in and they visited her city/country. She said she would be off the ship at that time and offered to meet us at the pier and show us around. With short notice, we decided to have friends come to the cabin for after dinner drinks. The Butler was in the corridor and we asked him to bring extra glasses and mixers. Within minutes, we had a full complement set up in the room. Employees like her is why we continue to return to X.
Unfortunately, we did not see any shows or do any shore excursions. The weather was absolutely perfect. We spent the day in Bahamas in the spa (one of us got the after massage sales pitch and the other one didn't) and around the pool. The hot tubs were very relaxing. The pool water was just too cold for me but there were others swimming. The band by the pool was very good not the usual calypso type band. There was a string quartet and a Capella group on board as well.
The life boat drill was way too long. There seemed to be a problem with the PA system. It cut out during the "how to put on your life vest" portion. The entire process was repeated. Getting outside and then how long we were outside was much too long. After being spoiled with the new Solstice boat drill procedure (one short video and it's over no going to the boat decks), I found this experience too drawn out. This is the reason I scored Embarkation a 4.
Overall this was a fantastic cruise. Even though it was short, there was nothing I could find to complain about, and much that I can praise. We are back on in 3 weeks and looking forward to another great cruise. We met great people and great staff. I recommend this ship highly.