Just wanted to put up some thoughts on this last cruise in case it helps anyone. My girlfriend and I used this cruise as a means to be able to SCUBA dive 4 world class diving destinations and live in style with good meals, great drinks and a few good shows (ok, ok, and a tiny bit of gambling), all for one low price.
First let me say I'm glad we came down to miami a day early. It saved alot of worry about mid winter travel and making it to the ship. it was cheaper to get a nice hotel on the ocean beach than to purchase trip insurance. (just opinion) We had a wonderful night on the beach and a very easy relaxed 5 minute taxi ride to the ship the next day. We arrived at the port around 11:30.............. To my suprise, we were on the ship and sipping an umbrella drink and eating lots of good food by Noon !!!!!!!!!! The staff got us on board way quicker than I could imagine. Many others we also on board and eating by then........ So yes, you can board early and its FAST at that time !!!!
The ship was very clean always, most of the food was very good, meals at dinner were Very good and great service. I had lots of food that I wouldn't normally ever try....all of it good. Many of the people I spoke with said it was as good or better than other cruise lines they had been on. I had noticed a few frills are gone now in the last year or two......but all the basic fancy stuff is intact. Oh YEAH.........The bacon was horrible........but with many many many other things like great ham slices right next to it.....who's complaining. At least 4 ice cream machines running 24/7 made it very difficult to go very far without yet another cone !!!! I think I broke some sort of world record. We choose an aft balcony cabin on this trip and it was wonderful. (6485) Deck 6 (upper Deck) There was some vibration and some motion.......but perfect for us, as it lulled us to sleep. The bigger balcony was worth its weight in gold.... Lots of room to stretch in the sun. Morning sunrises sipping coffee were wonderful. I will add more later tonight