We flew into Ft. Lauderdale a day early on our own. We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard Ft. Lauderdale Beach. A perfect location. The hotel overlooks the Inter-coastal on one side and the ocean on the other. (Great pool overlooking the beach.) Eat lunch or dinner at Coconuts across the street on the inter-coastal. The food was wonderful! Breakfast we ate outside overlooking the beach at St.Barts Coffee Cafe one block away. We then took a taxi to the port, very close by about 10:30 am.
Check in was so easy. Much faster and more organized than some of the smaller ships we've been on. We couldn't get in our room until 1:00, but enjoyed sitting in Central Park and the Park Cafe while waiting.Great new way for a lifeboat drill. You don't have to have your life jackets. This ship is just absolutely amazing from the moment you walk in. It is unbelievable how beautiful it is. The different "communities" make it very easy to get around. We had a balcony room toward the front of the ship starboard side. It is definitely the side to be on. You can see everything from this side of the ship when you are docked in the ports. The room attendant was very attentive and personable. We had breakfast and afternoon cocktails delivered to our room almost daily. Room service was excellent. We had anytime dining. RCI wants you to make a reservation each night which kind of defeats the purpose. We like the way Princess does anytime dining much better, but this was OK. We found an excellent waiter/staff and requested his table each night. Entertainment was excellent! Hairspray, Come Fly With Me, The Ice Skating Show..All very professional and great. The theaters are wonderful. We had booked our tickets online. Do not miss the Oasis Show in the Aqua Outdoor Theater. I'm still in awe of how they are able to do this show on a moving ship! There are so many places to go and so much to do you can't possibly do it all. At night besides going to the shows we went to the Jazz Club, Latin club, Comedy Club, Pub and Casino. The Casino is huge and "very alive" almost all the time.
One complaint..the smell! 1/2 is smoking but you can smell the smoke all through the casino. The Cupcake Shop and the Donut shop were delicious..key lime donuts, coco cola cupcakes. I want one now! One of our favorite places was Central Park and the Park Cafe. We ate lunch there everyday or at the Solarium up by the pool. If you don't have kids I would suggest staying towards the front of the ship. During the day most everywhere we went was on the front. It's so easy; just up and down the elevator to the pool,solarium, spa, Central Park. This ship has a beautiful Spa and my two facials were wonderful. Most of the Kids stuff is at the back of the ship. This was our 6th RCI cruise. We are gold members which you don't get anything for on this ship except a coupon book. But, it didn't matter to us. We were treated very well and all of the staff went out of their way to be friendly and meet our every need. We plan to go back next year! Oh yes, I left out one thing. Make sure to do the Zip Line, another first for a ship. What fun!