**First of all, I'd like to give some advice to those who may drive to the Port of Miami. We used Royal Caribbeans published directions from the web page and we got confused. We found the port, after backtracking and making left and right turns where the directions said the opposite. With that said...
We arrived at the port at about 11:45 and dropped our bags at the check station. We were parked, unloaded, and through the security checkpoint and walking to the gangway at 12:00pm. We stood in absolutely no lines from dropping the bags all the way until lunch. We couldn't enter our stateroom until 1:00, so we spent the hour in the Windjammer. It is a very beautiful place to eat, but some parts are slightly cramped. The line on the indoor section exited where the drink station was, which caused a mass of people trying to leave the line and those comming back for drinks. The line was almost always long, but I expected that because it was a full ship. I would advise eating lunch a little later or earlier than usual times, just to avoid the lines and it makes it easier to find a seat. We set sail promptly after the muster drill at 5:05pm and we were on our way to Nassau.
Dinner that night was awkward. The service at our table was very poor, we didn't get what we ordered and my water glass was empty and never re-filled. Although other tables were very happy with the same waiters. They were even pouring steak-sauce for them. We got no water though.
I've been to Nassau before, so it wasn't much to see. It was very crowded as there were four ships including us was docked. If you take this cruise for the first time, I would say book an excursion to a beach rather than try it on your own. The beach we finally found was small, and not very appealing. COCOCAY was very very fun. There was so much to do if you were willing to spend some money. We were the first ship to visit since Hurricane Jeanne made a call at the island. The sun and sand was great and the food was excellent. Try the Cocolocos!! Key West was the highlight of the trip for me. I enjoyed the scenery and walking around shopping. We sat and had a "Cheeseburger in Paradise" at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, which was the goal for the whole trip. We visited the Southernmost point of the Continental US and took pics. Lot's of fun.
As I stated earlier, the service at our table for dinner was very slow if it happened at all. We didn't get what we ordered and I was disappointed enough that we elected to skip dinnertime the remaining nights to view the sunset. If you want to see them and still have dinner, I suggest late seating dinner, especially during the very late summer. The Windjammer food was great, a big variety. Service there was better for me than the dining room waiters were. The pizza and hotdogs were great at the Mast Sports Bar as well. Don't miss the midnight buffet, the food there was wonderful and the atmosphere is great.
The shows were fun. The South American Cowboy was amazing and the comedy was mostly funny. The only thing, other than the gameshows, there's not much else to do other than gamble, drink, and dance. And if you're not big on those things, you have to make your own fun. Don't miss Majesty Quest. I laughed until my sides hurt.
Exiting the ship was quick. We walked practically right off the ship, collected our luggage and proceeded to Customs. Since we were in a US port prior to returning to Miami, things were much smoother than my other cruises. The only line was at customs. We were on the road again by 9:00am.
The ship barly showed it age at all. It was very clean and tidy. The Stateroom was interior, but small. Sufficent for what we used it for. Compared to my previous cruises with Carnival, the interior room was much smaller. It was not a problem though. With kids I would assume the cramped space would be horrible.
This is a great cruise for those who need a short vacation. I plan on maybe taking it again, just to go back to Cococay. I hope this review was helpful, The other reviews were very helpful to me before I booked this ship. If you need more info, feel free to e-mail me at PDSandman01@aol.com.