We arrived in Miami a day early to avoid any airport delays. We were glad we did. While there were no problems from Chicago, some East Coasters missed the ship and had to arrange for transportation to Aruba. We met up with a small group from the M&M for a pre-dinner get together. It went quite well. It gave us time to get to know each other in addition to the M&M arranged by RCI.
We got the port around 11:30 (a bit early). After checking in we were taken to a "waiting area" while we sat while additional cleaning of the ship was performed. We were told "stomach virus" was identified on the previous cruise and extra care was being taken to insure our safety. There were the typical complainers, but if it was being done for our safety, what difference did it make if we were held there or in the check in area? They wouldn't allow boarding that early anyway.
The previous reviews pretty much covered most of our views. I do have some things previously said that I need to question. -- The reviewer that mentioned "no salad with dinner". Where did they eat? Salad was always an option on the menu. -- Waiting for elevators. There are a lot of people. What do you expect at busy times (dinner)? If you're that pressed for time and it's only one or two floors, walk. -- Why does somebody always have to complain about the liquor policy? You can't bring any on board. Get over it. If your priority is to drink, drink, drink, book something else. -- C&A cutbacks. This has been talked to death on all of the boards. There is probably not much any of us can say or do to change this. Why waste your time and energy. Enjoy the fact that you are on vacation. Even the worse day on vacation is better than a good day at work.
Our cabin was was nice, just the right size. We like being on the "hump" for this class of ship. The other balcony cabins have an obstructed view due to the canopy over the life boats. We had no problem storing everything. Plenty of closet and other storage areas. We like the shower doors instead of curtains. It makes it feel like you have more room and the curtains don't get "overly friendly". The bed was very comfortable. We both slept very good every night.
Dining was good. We didn't have any bad experiences in the dining room. One evening was in Portofino's. Also excellent. A nice quiet change of pace. We wouldn't do it every night. We like the large table and meeting new faces every cruise. WJ was where we spent our breakfast and lunch. We like the layout of the WJ on this class of ship better than Vision and Freedom. It seems more organized. We never had problems finding a place to sit.
Shore excursions are detailed below by port.
Getting off the ship was very organized. We were off in almost record time. We also just walked right through customs since we didn't exceed our allowance.