Although we have travelled extensively, this was our first experience cruising and we were thrilled with the entire trip. Mindful of possible inclement weather we chose to fly into Ft. Lauderdale the day before departure to ensure our timely arrival to the ship. On the sailing day we took a short tour of Ft. Lauderdale as I has spent many Christmas celebrations there as a child and wanted to see if I would remember any places (which I did!).
We arrived at the Port of Miami around noon and were immediately invited onboard our new, temporary home. We had a lunch at the buffet and toured the ship to familiarize ourselves with the different things available to us. Our luggage arrived before 3 p.m. so we unpacked; pleasantly surprised with the number of hangers and drawer space. We went outside to watch our departure and waved adios to Miami. It was suggested that we eat at the earlier seating for the 1st evening...this would be the only evening we would have to make a choice of dining times.
The next day was spent at sea and although the weather wasn't the best we enjoyed the relaxation time. While on board we took advantage of the lectures, cooking demonstrations, casino, shows, computers, pool, bars, etc. All of the people involved with the day to day activities were very helpful and always had a smile or nice word to say. The 48 nations represented by the crew on the ship can be proud of their ambassadors; they were excellent. The excursions we chose were informative and very enjoyable. The driver and narrator in Dominica were particularly helpful.
We were able to eat in the 2 speciality dining rooms a total of 3 evenings. Each meal was memorable from the amuze de bouche to the coffee and desserts and wines. The meals in the Discovery restaurant were also enjoyable however we were a little disappointed with the seafood. We felt that the fish was frozen and were a little surprised at that. We ate in the Windows Cafe twice for a 'lighter dinner' and loved the shushi and sashimi available, as well as the stir-fry and pasta choices. Finally, the disembarkation was extremely organized and well handled. We had transfers to Ft. Lauderdale and were delivered to the airport in a timely manner. To summarize our cruise experience I think we can say it was a great vacation which we would love to repeat, although to new destinations, and we look forward to planning something soon.
PS. We visited 7 ports but the ability to select 7 ports wasn't available. Also, loved the 2 days before ports and 2 days after ports "at sea" and would always want this choice.