As several other reviewers have stated, I began this cruise with little positive expectations. I was unhappy with the cruise being changed from a 3 night to 2 night trip, with a change in the embarking port from Ft. Lauderdale to Palm Beach, and the Port of call changed from Nassau to Freeport. So I really had some concerns.
Parking at the port is valet, which cost $30. My wife does not like leaving car keys with others, so she was somewhat concerned. However, when it came time to leave, it really took no time to get the car.
We bought our bags to be x-Rayed by customs. No problem there, yet the gentleman directing the baggage demanded a tip. Not good for no real service being provided.
Checking on-board ran smoothly, so the kinks they originally had with the change in ports seemed to have been corrected.
Our room was better than expected. We have a queen size bed, with flat screen TV, and a desk. There is no refrigerator in the rooms. Because I use insulin, I had to go to the bar to get ice. The bathroom was large for a ship.
Public rooms were adequate. The entertainment was better than expected for such a small ship. We had a singer and then an exceptional comedian. I enjoyed both their performances.
Dinner in the Cove was outstanding, the service very good. Dinner in theRio was not as organized, with partial buffet and partial table service. Breakfast in the Rio was very good, better than I expected. I particularly enjoyed the omelet.
Their casino is adequate for the size of the ship, and the payouts are about what they would be at a shore casino.
We took the glass-bottomed boat excursion, with the buffet and beach resort trip. The beach was marvelous, the buffet was acceptable. We did not do any shopping, but the shops didn't look particularly special, mostly the same as can be found at any port catering to cruisers. In reality, given the time available, there really are not a lot of excursions or things to do in Freeport. I would have preferred Nassau. The price of the excursions was reasonable for something booked off a ship.
For some reason disembarking was a problem, not with the ship, but with customs, as there was some problem ahead of us, and the line was stopped for about 20 minutes. Excluding that delay, we were off the ship within 15 minutes, and it took less than 5 minutes to get our car.
The cruise was much better than I expected for such a short trip. The ship, while old, had more entertainment than I expected. We did not use the pool. Children facilities seemed exceptional. While most of this review has seemed tepid, what made it enjoyable was the service and attitude of the staff. They tried very hard to provide a pleasant cruise, and took care of all our needs. I have had less service provided by larger cruise lines.
I would definitely recommend this ship if you are interested in a short getaway at not too expensive a price. Of course the expenses associated with operating any cruise ship is high, so understand that despite the seemingly inexpensive price, ancillary charges will be added.
I expect my wife and I will likely cruise again for a weekend getaway. I did not see the problems that some cruisers had, and it was a nice trip. The distance between Palm Beach and Freeport is 84 nautical miles.