Mornings are downright horrible, with the ship anchoring, very very noisy, I was in the front, so don't know if it makes a difference, but the noise goes on for an hour and you end up with a headache.
The rest of the cruise you don't even realize when the ship moves. Nights you hear some strange noises which people said was heavy wind. If you are a light sleeper, don't expect good sleep as in every room you hear people outside
initial costs seem viable, but towards the end everything adds up, for eg: be prepared to double your initial budget
if the cruise cost you x000, be ready to spend another 500 on taxes, another 500 on tips, another 500 on drinks/expenses aboard ship, another 1000 on shore excursions, 200 on taxi fo airport commute, another 3000 on airfare, another 500 on new clothes
Embarking was pretty disorganized but thankfully it went off real fast. They make you sit in seats and then have no clue who came first.
While disembarking on the last day, they delayed and embarrassed the heck out of me and my family by the machine making loud sounds when my card went through, to stop me, all because they had made a mistake and credited me incorrectly for another guy's payment. Well, the ship guy sure was decent about it, but could have been more inclined to compensating us for the ordeal of making us stand and wait for quite some time. He wanted me to go 5 floors up to swipe my card I told him to take a walk so he offered to do it.
Ship crew come from all over, so may not share your holiday excitement at greeting on passing.
Casino: not much poker options, there was only an automated table for texas hold 'em, mostly down, and when it was up, would take forever to come on, and was mostly cash games where the rake went faster than ever as there was no dealer. Tourneys would be held occasionally when you least expect it.
Communication: Wish they improve personal communications, it is a pain to be in touch with your roommate/friends if neither of you are not in your room. Rent some decent walkie-talkies or let us use our cell phones or something. Internet communication is downright awfully slow and costs an arm.
Food items are unlabeled in nights, so you have no idea what you are eating...the kitchen crew skulk around like rats. The only nice food item during the whole cruise was gone before we could make it there. C'mon, if your passengers like it so damn much, have more of it. No advance notice of what items will be featured in future menus. Not much Vegetarian fare, in fact it sucked for vegetarians. Fine dining is rushed and awful, has same item everyday as main item, and the helpings are ridiculously small and tasteless. Not very courteous, very fake attitudes (well, it is free after all) The old guy Maitre'd at the Corral Room was downright obnoxious and unfriendly. Every drink and even coffee is carefully charged back, overpriced to your room
The biggest con job by these cruises is the lack of decent drinks. You have to pay through your nose for soft drinks, and fresh juice is totally non-existent, the OJ was watered down crap, everyday. If my Breakfast OJ is bad, my day doesn't go very smoothly. C'mon, we are paying top dollar and we get such pathetic food ?
Breakfast spread was ok, cereals were good, hashed browns were downright awful frozen stuff, omelettes were just so-so. Too greasy. and the aisles were too narrow. Did I mention that the OJ was bad.
Coffee was excellent, Tables were cleaned very fast.
Alcohol costs go through the roof I was able to smuggle in a bottle of scotch without a fuss on the first day. Apparently it is allowed only the first night of the cruise, I guess because the xray is the port's not the cruise line's.
Shore Excursions: The only difference between Cruise-arranged and doing your own is they will come with a placard. Do your homework of places you would like to see beforehand and bargain it with taxi operators, or ask at the tourist booth what a good rate to pay is. People at all the islands, whether near the pier or not are extremely friendly and trustworthy, at least the ones I met were: The only difference between Cruise-arranged and doing your own is they will come with a placard.
Remember, for some reason, GPSs don't work in ANY of the Caribbean area, not only did my Mio and Navigon GPSs promise Puerto Rico, they didn't support it at all, but the worst part was lack of finding any GPS satellites !! The cruise was much less fun without GPS, unless the ship was jamming these signals.
Massage services are ok, rates fall on last day, look for deals
Kid sitting services and activities were very good