Embarkation went smoothly arriving at the cruise terminal around 11 a.m. and being on board with our carry ons stowed in our stateroom closet by 12:30 p.m. We were part of a large cruise critic board that had arranged to wear Mardi Gras beads as a form of identification and as a result we met many fellow cc'ers while still in the terminal(great idea Enjoyinglife). We had a 2:00 p.m. meet and greet arranged by the aft pool & bar and over 60 showed up. Special mention goes to "papanh" for the special identification tags he had ready for everyone which included both our cc handles as well as proper names. The M&C was great and gave everyone a headstart in establishing new friends and excursion partners etc.
We found the ship quite beautiful and not over the top as many others have mentioned. Yes the decor was different but we thought it managed to stay within the themes strived for and we quite enjoyed it. I was expecting the ship to be showing more wear after five years of service but found it mainly in exceptional condition.
After a dining disaster on a competitor last year, we were ecstatic to find all dining experiences this year average to above average. Main dining room food was above average and staff friendly and attentive. Lido deck buffets were as expected and with the exception of one rainy noon hour, congestion minimal. Miss my morning omelettes! We dined with four other fellow cc'ers in the supper club to celebrate an anniversary and I cannot begin to heap enough praise on this experience as it was like night and day compared with last years. The quality, size and presentation of all courses was exceptional and the service unparalleled. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone who is considering it.
We had late dining and therefore only managed to take in one show and the midnight comedy act. Both were good. If there was one weakness in this cruise it was in lounge and bar entertainment. Compared with the Legend two years ago, this years was very sub par.
One of the highlights this year were the new friends we made through CC and our dining table mates who were both wonderful and interesting couples.
Kudo's to all staff we encountered as all were cordial, friendly, attentive and just plain nice.