We flew into Ft. Lauderdale a day early. On Friday, we got up rather late and had several errands to run. So, we didn't get to the port until about 3:00. When we pulled up, there was still a significant amount of luggage left to be loaded. We gave the porter 5 bucks and went on our way (we packed 2 large suitcases and 2 small suitcases). We were very pleasantly surprised that the facilities for boarding the ship was empty; there was one other couple who happened to come along at the same time. So, we provided our passports and a credit card and we were on our way! As we walked onto the ship, there was the normal champagne and mimosa's. We found our room and dropped off the couple of bags that we'd carried on and then headed to the buffet for a bite to eat (we hadn't gotten a chance to eat lunch). The buffet was very good and there was plenty of open seating to be had.
After lunch, we headed to our room to get our life vests for the drill. This exercise was pretty painless and was soon over. In the auditorium, we met our first friends. From San Antonio and owned at one of the same timeshares as we do!
After this, we took a short nap and were soon getting ready for dinner. We had the early seating (at 6:00 PM). We were seated at a table for 8 and again, met a new set of friends; two couples from Prince Edward Island (absolutely charming and never a dull moment). Also a couple from Buffalo who where great fun also. We were always the last table to leave the dining room. Our waiter and assistant waiter were fantastic always wanted to make sure that we were happy with your selection. They had no problem at all with bringing two servings or several different servings to try (several times, I received both the soup and salad without really even asking). The first night, my wife asked for iced tea. The assistant server brought a glass for each of us and he always made sure to give us iced tea for the rest of the cruise. Delightful. The quality of the food was very, very good. I had the lamb chops one evening and lamb shank another and both were excellent. We all loved the breads excellent!
Be sure to try the chilled soups they were very refreshing and had a hint of cinnamon. The cream brulee was extraordinary. The appetizers and soups / salads are a bit on the small side, but are perfect when paired with a large meat dish portions, plus a dessert.
For breakfast and lunch, we always went to the buffet again, the food was very, very good. As touted, the waffles (with blueberry syrup) were superb! There was always the omelet station (very good) and a wide selection of breads. I also highly recommend the Asian buffet for breakfast, they had garlic beef that was sooo good. For lunch, they had curry (varied from chicken, beef, pork, and vegetable) that was my very favorite. The salads at lunch were fantastic and the salad dressings were all made fresh every day. As I overheard someone saying the one day, "I haven't had any of the salad dressings that I didn't like!" Finding an open table was never a problem and the waiters were always attentive to clear any dirty tables right away. One other nice touch: the cloth napkins for all meals, even at the buffet line, and the cloth place mats that were always placed onto the plastic trays.
About our room... We had an ocean view room on "deck 2". It was on the starboard side and all the way to the front of the ship and the location ended up being fine. On the first day, our bathroom didn't smell good, so we asked the cabin steward to change the shower curtain (which he did when we were gone to dinner) and after that, it was fine. (Our cabin steward and his assistant were phenomenal.) We had a queen bed and the mattress was good. One of the things I really liked was that an ice bucket, water carafe, and multiple glasses were provided on the credenza (and the ice was replenished both after breakfast and after dinner).
During the first day at sea, we were anxious to play bridge... We were surprised to find only 3 tables playing. We played with a couple from London, who were very good players, so we enjoyed this very much. On the second morning, we were eating breakfast and noticed a lady sipping her coffee at a table next to ours. We asked where she was from and soon had another set of friends (her husband and her played Euchre) and we ended up fitting games in before the evening entertainment. We also went on a tour with them and their daughter on Barbados fun!
We thought the entertainment was very good on board. This varied from evening to evening and we usually went to the first show and would arrive at least 20 minutes early (usually played backgammon while we were waiting). There were usually seats available even when the show had started. We went to the lounge to see Perry Grant one evening he's certainly entertaining, but could be raunchy at times but got a lot of laughs. There was also a stringed group that played in one of the public areas that were superb and a "one man band" that was also excellent.
Pool area... There were a lot of people "saving seats", but we were always able to get a couple of lounge chairs without a problem. There were drink dispensers for iced tea and fruit juice through-out the day. Of course you could also buy beer or mixed drinks whenever you wanted. This was an older crowd, so we didn't see nearly as much beer drinking as on Princess last year. Very few kids on this cruise, so for the most part, the pool area was relatively free of screaming. The music piped into the area was nice. There was an area that had burgers and hotdogs, etc (we figured we could eat fast food at home).
One last comment... We were astounded at how easy it was to make friends! All you needed to do was ask, "So, where are you from?" We met a really great couple that are from Canadian Lakes (only about an hour from us) they played Spades. We ended up playing past midnight on the last night and were up playing again at 7:00 am great fun!!! This was a perfect cruise that will always bring back fond memories Thank You Celebrity!!!