This was the 3rd cruise for me and my husband. One previously with Carnival and the other with Royal Caribbean.
Embarkation was relativeley quick. We arrived at the port around 11:15 and we were eating lunch on the ship at 12:30. We had a nice cabin with a balcony that we thought was a good size. There have been many comments about the decor of the ship, but I thought it was nice. My main complaint about the ship was the layout. I don't think they designed it very well because it took forever to get where you wanted to go and the main areas felt crowded. The lounge with best decor was the Habana lounge, however this was a cigar and smoking lounge so we only lasted about 30 minutes tops due to the smoke. If you smoke I highly recommend it because the music is great and the leather chairs are so soft. The spanish art on the walls are pretty as well. They have some good singers on the ship. There is an asian woman that sings in the atrium and she is great. I wished I would have stayed and listened to her sing for the evening instead of going to one of the shows.
The staff on the ship was just OK. We didn't feel like they offered great service. I felt they all fell short in this area. For example in the dining room one evening my husband ordered a steak medium well and it came out raw in the middle, (not rare but RAW as in comletely uncooked) the waiter simply said, "Yes, that is rare" and walked away with the dish. Another server brought out another one and that was the last we heard of it. We felt he should have at least apologized. The bartenders were not friendly at all. They just appeared to be bored with their jobs for the most part.
One of the highlights of my cruises is the spa and gym. The machines in the gym are very nice and they are situated in front of windows but you can't look out at the ocean while your on them because the tops of the windows are obstructed by some weird design. You literally have to be kneeling down to see out of the window. I don't understand why they designed it that way. I had a massage in the spa and it wasn't that great. In fact I was very sore for about two days after that. I was dissapointed.
The ports of call are not your typical island ports. We went to Limon, Costa Rica. We didn't take any excursion at this port but walked around the small city. If you are looking for lush pristine beaches and imagine yourself sipping Margaritas in a hammick this is not the port for you. The small town has some shops and a small park where we spotted a sloth thanks to a couple of young boys who showed it to us in the hope of earning a dollar or two for their services. As our ship pulled away from the city I felt a sadness for the poverty that exists there. Panama was the same. I don't recommend these ports for a relaxing getaway, however for a cultural learning experience it faired well for me.
All in all, this cruise fell a little short for us. Some words of caution: Be sure to keep your receipts for all your purchases on the ship. We had a few charges on our bill that were not ours. If you use the cabin refrigerator bar, keep track of what you use because they charge you for more than what you actually drank and they charge you gratuity on top of it. The line for guest services is a mile long the last night of the cruise. Bon Voyage.....................