First, a little background: I am 28 years old but an avid world traveler, and have been to over 60 international cities in 17 countries in the past few years so have quite a bit of travel experience, but this was my first cruise. I usually travel independently, a mix between bare-bones backpacking, and splurging at nicer resorts. Since I'm used to being able to do anything I want at any time, I was worried that being stuck on a boat for 4 days would be claustrophobic. Additionally, I love to eat and have high standards for food, so most of this review will be about the food.
I had so much more fun than I thought I would on this cruise! I think the complaints other people have on this board are justifiable, but you really need to keep an open mind. This is not a luxury cruise, so I didn't expect a 5-star experience and I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had. Ultimately, I think that as long as you are flexible and keep a positive attitude, and don't let small imperfections ruin your attitude for the whole trip, you'll have a wonderful time. It's vacation. Things are bound to go wrong, but it's how you react to it that determines how relaxing and fun your time is.
FOOD: Much better than expected, but only if you pay for the specialty restaurants, which are totally worth it. After eating at the Palace for lunch on embarkation day, we found the food to be just average (for our tastes at leastwhen I'm on vacation I expect to eat excellent food). Tilapia was slightly dry, banana soup tasted overripe and the split pea soup was much too salty (and I suspect they used table salt as opposed to kosher or sea salt, which imparts a smoother flavor). The food in the buffets was also just averagesomething I'd expect to get at Denny's or Hometown Buffet, which is to say, I'd never eat here if I had a choice. The best thing at the buffets was probably the banana bread and the Indian food options.
We paid each night to eat at the specialty restaurants and they were DELICIOUS and definitely worth the cover charge! First night was Le Bistro, which was the best of the three in my opinion. I had the scallop appetizer, which was out of this world, and the escargot, which were great as well. For entrée, I had the lamb chops, which were succulent and perfectly medium rare, and dessert, the creme bruleedelectable! Second night was Il Adagio, which was also good, but not as good as Le Bistro. I enjoyed their beef carpaccio and the seafood linguine, and also the veal shank osso bucco, but my boyfriend's veal marsala was just slightly tough. Dinner at Cagney's the last night was good, but again, not as good as Le Bistro. I had the salmon oscar which came with a GIANT king crab leg, but the salmon was just slightly dry. Boyfriend had the filet, and it was good, but no Ruth's Chris or Mastros or Morton's or Fleming's (but we were not expecting that quality). For the price we paid for the cruise, the food was much better than we expected.
Warning to coffee lovers: The room service coffee was undrinkable. So was the iced tea at the buffets. The coffee at Cagney's, however, was great and comes in its own French press. Yum!
CABIN: We had a BB cabin on the 10th level deck. Small and admittedly a little dated decor, but above our expectations for the price. The sheets were a little scratchy, but again, this isn't Cunard or anything. I think the cabin was just fineand having a balcony was wonderful! We spent a lot of time hanging out there in our bathrobes. I was worried that a cabin right below the pool area would be noisy, but it wasn't at all.
SERVICE: No problems here. Everyone was friendly.
ENTERTAINMENT: Cheesy but in a fun, good way! I wasn't expecting Cirque de Soliel or Broadway, and I really did enjoy the programs. The cruise director was great and Rich Purpura, the comedian, was funny (though his magic tricks are more funny than real 'magic').
NASSAU: We went to Blackbeard's Cay for the stingray adventure, and it was lots of fun! The boat ride there was lovely.
GREAT STIRRUP CAY: Went snorkeling, say some interesting sea fans and lots of fish. There is a smaller beach to the right, and it was less crowded than the main beach.
EMBARKATION/DEBARKATION: Fine, fast, no worries.
ANNIVERSARY PACKAGE: Definitely get this. It's worth it! We made mimosas with the champagne and room service O.J., and loved the canapes they delivered. The bottle of wine (we chose the merlot) was good as well.