So here it goes! This cruise it was just me and my husband, aged 31 & 33. We flew down a day early, but I won't really go into those details because you all want to hear about the cruise!!
EMBARKMENT: We got to the pier at about 5 after 11. We flew through check in and we were on the ship by 11:30! Smoothest boarding ever. We went right up to the Windjammer for some lunch since we hadn't eaten yet. It was pretty good, no complaints. Since our cabin wouldn't be ready until one, we decided to head to the dining room to scope out our table. I had sent an e-mail to request a table for 2. I didn't hear anything back so I wasn't too confident that we would receive it. Lo and behold we got our table for 2!! We explored a bit until one and went to the cabin. I must note here that the weather was not nice for this cruise. It was chilly in Miami; the first night of the cruise is the FIRST TIME in all my cruises that the motion of the ship affected me. I wasn't sick, per se, but I just felt "off". The first sea day was so windy and chilly; the die hards by the pool were wrapped in towels!
SHIP: I knew going in that the ship was big. But wow IT WAS BIG! Very impressive. We spent a fair amount of time at the casino. It was never overly crowded. I was always able to find a seat at a three card poker table. The hot tubs in the Solarium were nice early in the morning. They did get crowded later on. By the pool was decent. Since we had such odd weather for a couple of days, the days when it was nice out were packed. The reserved chairs for suite guests were sometimes used, but never really filled. We liked to sit in Boleros and watch the Latin band. Even though we have no idea what they are singing the music is fun as is watching the people dance. Pizza in Sorrento's was good. Part of the reason I gained 4lbs on this cruise! Had Ben and Jerry's once. We found the slowest service on board there. The shops were ok, same as on Adventure (or any ship really) We played some mini-golf (fun) On the second to last day we finally worked up the nerve to try the Flowrider. It was so much fun! Hubby was doing barrel rolls and everything. People of all ages were using it, not just kids, and the wait was never much longer than about 10 min. We also used the spa on this trip. I booked a regular Swedish and my husband booked a deep tissue. We in the waiting room and the 2 masseuses came in. They led us into a room together and we realized there was a mistake and they booked us for a couples massage! We just went with it lol. The massage was just ok. I don't think I would do another one on a ship. I used the tip to write no products please on the intake form and it worked. I just enjoy the massages I get in NY much more for pretty much the same prices.
CABIN: We stayed in JS 9634. It seemed a little bigger than the JS on Adventure, but I don't know if it really was. The balcony was pretty big, the cabin was spotless. Our Meet and Mingle invites were waiting for us. Our steward was good, kept the cabin clean, made us towel animals, and kept the ice bucket filled. We love the tubs is the JS.
DINING: We had late seating, which is what we prefer. The food was good, MUCH better than our Adventure cruise. I must say on our last cruise the wait staff was a little lackluster. This week we had THE BEST wait staff that I or my husband have ever had on a cruise. I never remember names but I remember theirs. Jovanny (waiter) and Louis John (asst.) were simply wonderful. On past cruises we maybe saw the head waiter once or twice. Jacob (Head Waiter) was at the table 3 or more times a night. He refilled our drinks when the other guys were busy and was just really attentive. We ate in Chops one night. I do think it was totally worth the 25 bucks. My husband and I are big steak eaters so this was a better choice for us.
PORTS: Our ports of call on this cruise were San Juan, St. Marten and Labadee. The stop at San Juan was from 3-8. Since we took our last cruise out of San Juan, we decided to stay on the ship. We only got off for a minute after dark to take some pictures of the ship all lit up. We were in port with Carnival freedom and Holland America Maasdam. Made for some nice pictures. Next stop, St. Marten. We have always liked St. Marten. We got off the ship and took a cab to Orient Beach. We rented beach chairs and an umbrella and just relaxed in the sun, had some drinks etc. We ate at a cute place on the beach, great food. I wish I could remember the name! Next stop, Labadee. Unfortunately the weather was horrid that day. Very cloudy, rained a bunch. We had book a snorkeling excursion but it was cancelled. This was our first time on Labadee, and we were disappointed in it. It really is under construction. I hope when our Oasis cruise stops there, that it will be much better. I mentioned on someone else's review that it seemed dirty. There was all kind of detritus on the beach, from food wrappers, to empty beer bottles, to discarded toys and stuff. We walked around, went to see Dragons Breath rock but it was closed. Stopped by the market and just went back to the ship.
DISEMBARKATION: Sigh. The day we all dread. We left our cabin a little before 8 and headed to the dining room for breakfast. They took their time and we never felt rushed. By the time we were done, our number was called and we were off the ship. ? From the time our color was called till we got into a cab was no more than 30min. The procedure was MUCH, MUCH better than disembarkation from the Adventure (think sitting around in the halls because there was nowhere to go) All in all, it was a wonderful cruise. Even though we had the bad weather, there is nothing to be done for that and we made the best of it. I would recommend this ship to anyone. The staff, service and whole experience was just awesome.