Well, let's just start off with how immaculate the ship was! Everyday they were cleaning, painting, polishing, sweeping....this ship was the cleanest ship I have ever been on! They had 2 pool attendants mopping the deck everyday, they were like ninjas, the water would hit the deck and instantly disappear...they were great! ....the floors were so shiny and clean...the kids weren't too worried about slipping and sliding...and neither were the adults.
The food was mediocre in the dining room...presentation lacked, but service was fabulous, as usual. There were no elaborate food decorations nor presentations around the buffet line.... If you remembered to find the fresh sushi cart, the sushi was fantastic! Never a busy station, always fresh, and cut to your liking right there! Worth the find! and free!
The decor was over the top, flashy, bright, neon...we loved it!
Our room was cozy, we had an ocean view balcony...they selected the room # for us so we could save a little extra $$. It was as expected; bathroom had amenities, nice lighting and nice 3x magnified mirror. Excellent closet space, could have used more hangers...room steward took care of that. This was the first time that I paid to upgrade to the balcony room-and it was wellworth the price to upgrade. It was so nice to rise early in the morning, go out on the balcony and watch the sun rise over the water...it was so peaceful and quiet...the sound of the water splashing, the birds following the ship, the evening starry sky...shall I go on?? If you want to spoil yourself a little bit, upgrade and you won't regret the price difference!
Room service in the a.m. had minimal hot items to pick from. Would have liked more options, however, it was a nice selection of continental items.
The kids loved the pool, waterslide, mini golf, and ping pong tables. Equipment was sub-par, but we had fun anyway.
We participated in a number of group activities onboard. We played amazing race, golf putting challenge, battle of the sexes, bean bag toss, and digital scavenger hunt (highly recommend this one!). There were so many things to choose from each day it was hard to just pick a few to join in on.
I am not certain it would be fair to totally discount the service for the kids club. However, during our cruise, there were less than 100 kids onboard. Our boys are 11. There were less than 10 kids in this age group on the entire ship. The kids club staff did NOT go out of their way during our cruise to make our kids feel like a priority. They cancelled most of the planned activities and really didn't give them that 'welcomed' feeling when they had activities w/enough kids. My son was a seasoned cruiser and knew that this wasn't the typical attitude of kids club staff. As for our cruise buddy, this was his first sailing, and he was sourly disappointed :-( We were raving about kids clubs and how awesome they are...and this was such a sour part of our trip. We made our own fun and made up for the sour spirit of the staff during our week. Everyone has bad weeks, and I guess the kids club suffered that week.
Since we were there for Halloween, let me chat about that for a minute or 2... The emails that went out prior to our cruise were all about having 'tons of candy' and 'tons of fun'...well, the fun did happen, the candy did not! We had a pail full of crackers and m&m's and pretzels. There were designated stations along the cruise to stop for a trick or treat area. This would be good for the little ones, not for the kids over age 8..kids were rolling their eyes at the lack of candy and seemed disappointed. At the end of the trick or treating hour, kids met up in Frankenstein's lab for a fabulous dance party w/Freddy the mascot and the music was booming! I was even up there dancing! It was really fantastic. The decor around the ship was spooky themed, all the cruisers seemed to get into their costumes...it was a treat! We had our picture taken at one of the many picture opportunity back drops....it had all scary decor around the picture set and the backdrop was halloween themed and it was great! food in the buffet area was spooked too!
We went to the salon for a lesser expensive spa treatment alternative. We booked for 3 choices $99 and it was worth it. If you book the salon, the prices are lower, and you are still able to get a massage for your scalp, neck, shoulders, arms, hands. My first time cruiser friend booked a full body massage for $129 as a special and wished she had booked one for every day of the cruise. She loved it. A nice tidbit about the spa area. There are steamrooms and saunas for ladies only. These were never busy and always clean. There was a nice whirlpool hot tub in the spa,,,,and I swear I was the only one to ever use it. I had it all to myself each time I went in there. It was covered by a glass dome and it was so nice and relaxing, I could have fallen asleep in there....