Let me just say that I was aware that this was not NCL etc when we booked but the staff that run this cruise line have got to straighten things out quick or they'll be out of business quick - which would be the best thing for paying customers ! Hubby and I were looking for a quick getaway to try a cruise to see if we would like it... we're still up in the air because this is the farthest thing I would call as a gauge to whether cruising is for us !
The only thing good about this boat was the food in the Cove Restaurant - which carries an extra $25 per person cost. The service and the food there was excellent. Everything else was pretty much hospital cafeteria quality garbage. But if you're going to travel on this boat - save your money by bringing on your own booze and eat there !
They changed not only the destination but the port at the last minute and from what we heard from many travelers - they were not notified and found out when they went to Ft. Lauderdale to get on and had to get a taxi and drive the hour+ to the new port. When we arrived at the port at 12:00 we were told the boat was not in and to come back at 2:30 So after after killing an hour and having our ride have to leave due to their own plans, we argued with the security guard at the gate to let us at least just go sit someplace and wait until they were ready to start the boarding process. What a surprise we received after going through the security checkpoint that there were already over 500 people in line who had been there since noon ! Nice trick there ! By the way, if you decide to take this ship - feel free to bring your own booze on board. I stashed mine in soda bottles in my luggage but there were people carrying 12 packs of beer right through ! People even brough plastic bags of food and stuff.... That was a hint right there !
Once we arrived at the forms desk we were argued with because the forms I printed off the website were not the same as the ones they were using now - why - because the form on the website is a full page form has 2 parts for the cruiser's info that needs to be just cut into two sections. They wanted the damn piece of paper already cut in half before I arrived. You've got to be kidding me ! So I ripped it in half and then they were happy.
Once we got past the forms desk began the herding process through the ropes.... waiting in lines, while never pleasant can be ok...until some cruise executive opens the ropes ahead and takes 50 or so people from the back of the line to the front of the line ... the boarding process was so riduculous and unorganized. They would just lump 20 or 30 people in an area and tell them to pick a teller to verify your passport etc. People were just massed up everywhere with no organization and no direction. Ask a question and they look at you like you're from another planet! It was a fend for yourself right there in the terminal.....
Once you get your boarding card and have your picture taken it's time to sign up for excursions, wine to drink or your soda card ( $20 per person) or your dining times. We signed up for 8:30 for the Cove and declined everything else for now. One thing about the Cove - food is excellent - non rushed - service excellent. But give me a break with the big rush on signing up - it took 2 hours for this 5 course dinner to be served and in that time there were a total of 8 tables used out of 15... They gave my hubby a big deal because he was wearing dress shorts and a dress shirt with no pants. Not formal but neat and dressy. About 10 minutes later they seated some slobs in ripped jeans, sneakers, t-shirts and oversized hooded sweatshirts who proceeded to eat their meal with their hands... yeah ! Dress linen shorts on a man are worse than an oversized hooded sweatshirt and sneakers on a women. Oh, I forgot - the sneakers - high top canvas ones with the laces out... yah...dressy !
We arrived at our room and were pleased with the size but not with the bed... twin bunks for me and hubby...nope... so I proceeded to go to the info desk to straighten this out and was told nothing could be done until all passengers boarded and they knew what was left... please come back at 5... so we go have a snack, explore the ship and come back at 5... still not all passengers boarded but they took our info and the copies of our confirmation sheets indicating we were to have a queen bed and asked us to come back at 7... guess what happened at 7... we set sail into the sunset... so hubby got to stay on deck and take pictures and enjoy that and I waited in line to fight for our room change. Told to come back at 8... no news yet.
So since our reservation for dinner was 8:30 we dressed and went back down at 8.. they were able to accomodate us - same floor - queen bed... the room was actually nice - flat screen TV - nice size bathroom and full stand up shower with sliding glass doors. No towel animal until the last night ... Bed was comfy and temp in the room was fine - not freezing cold and not hot. Hubby had some issues with hot water but I don't know if he was just not turning the faucet fully. I never had a problem and always had plenty - even during my 20 minute morning showers !
We signed up for the excursion to Our Lucaya and Glass Bottom boat rides which were ok...but more unorganization... all guests for these excursions had to meet in one of the lounges at 8:30 for 9:00 departure. But then some poor hapless creature had to get up there and tell us that they overbooked the excursions ( glass bottom boat and Our Lucaya day for $69 per person) and who would like to opt out ? They'd refund the $20 difference from the plain Our Lucaya day but no other extras... gee thanks ! They only had 110 spaces and sold about 150.. ooops ! They said they had no idea who booked first and when you booked...so they couldn't say who the 40 who booked last were that should have been refunded. I guess they tossed the paper sign up sheets once the info is downloaded into the computer... yeah... gotta rethink that filing system! We were at see - exactly where did those papers go ? Someone check the waste basket maybe ?? After about 20 minutes of uncomfortable begging they took a group of 39 of us out to the excursion. Why they didn't take the additional 16 needed to fill the boat I have no idea !
The Glass Bottom Boat ride was fine... no big deal - nothing exciting to see but for an extra $20 it wasn't bad. The Our Lucaya resort is nice but spring breakers were there as well so it was an active area. The water was cold - not their control - beach was nice, sand clean - not rocky - easy to walk into the ocean if you dared. The changing facilities were ok - a bit messy but I think the spring breakers had to do with this more than anything - girls are slobs in the bathroom sometimes. Lunch was crap - cold burgers and hot dogs, potato salad - lunch style buffet food that is just not using any Bahama flavors etc. And a salad is not just lettuce in a bowl ! Add a tomato or cuke or something will you ! We could have saved ourselves the $100 for this part of the excursion and taken a cab over here and just walked onsite and used the stuff and then bought our own lunch someplace. The only thing with where the ship docks is that it is in an industrial area. Nothing to do there but look at some huge storage tanks. You have to either take a cab someplace on your own or take their excursion.
There was a small shopping area - some high end jewelers, a Harley store and then all the typical "straw market" vendors. They would barter with you but not much.
The boat itself is ok but these are not high quality acts - watching some guy spin plates on a stick is not what I would call entertainment. Not nearly enough deck chairs or lounges and you end up fighting for plastic chairs. The pool - well...as you can see - its a clear above deck pool... anyone with a spec of cellulite is not getting in there and the water was freezing ! We never got near the hot tubes because I was not going to soak in that water that all these spring breakers did who knows what in... Monitoring by parents and ship members is not something you see on this boat. Its a free for all !
Debarkation - what a joke - are all cruise lines this bad ? Out of the room and into a hallway at 7:30 am - yup all 1300 of us hanging around with our bags at 7:30 and the boat wasn't cleared by Customs until 9.. and then the zoo began. Breakfast food and drinks cut off at 8:30. Also can't get your cruise photos once they dock... would have been nice of them to tell us that ! Oh well...saved some money there too !
They don't debark by deck ...but by some color coded valet ticket...so if you didn't valet... you wait... .and wait.... and wait. Hubby asked a number of times what to do if we don't have a valet ticket and they said listen to the annoucements. They had NOBODY to answer questions or instruct people. When they would announce another group to depart they would say to use the back stairs - but some would use the front and some would use the back and others would use the elevator - and then everyone would just cut into lines and ....ugh ! We finally said screw it and got in line. At that time it was the orange valet coupon. Nobody checked anything - nobody asked for your color coded ticket to make sure you should be in line now.... nope....just swiped your card to let them know you got off and goodbye ! If you could come up with some good excuse and whisper it in the swiper's ear, he'd let you off early...which is what two college girls did... they cut the line from behind him into a roped off area and told him the desk clerk told them to do that and he just let them off.... No organization whatsoever !
Would we cruise this cruise line again - never.. would we recommend it to someone else - never ! The best thing that could happen is they go out of business !