We are a family of four, ages 51, 48, 20 and 17. We drove to Port Canaveral the day before and stayed at the Country Inn and Suites. It is a good basic hotel with a decent breakfast. For one night it was fine, but if staying longer I would pick another hotel. The next morning we went to the port and parked our car in their lot. Didn't want to deal with the shuttle when coming off the ship. We had nine pieces of luggage between the four of us. I was upset that Royal Caribbean never sent the luggage tags even though I requested them numerous times. At the port, they fill them out and it was not a big deal.
The ship is beautiful with lots to do or nothing to do if that is what you prefer. We loved the food and were lucky to have excellent service. I never felt there were 4300 passengers. They do a good job with crowd control. We used the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch. They have the drinks premade so all you have to do is pick up a glass. When it is busy they will get you a table and get your drinks. They have an omelet station where you tell them what you want and they give you a number. Very efficient and not much waiting in line. The breakfast for the most part didn't change but in my opinion was excellent. The lunch was not as impressive but truthfully I wasn't very hungry because I ate such a big breakfast. We did use Sorrentos pizza and Cafe Promenade for lunch. I loved the promenade. We would sit on the couch at Cafe Promenade and it was very relaxing. Also, good deserts there. They sat us with another family of 4 for dinner and it was nice to meet new people for dinner. The service in the dining room for dinner was excellent. One day my daughter didn't like the pasta dish she ordered and I had an excellent beef dish so I asked for something else and no problems changing it. Also, when I couldn't decide what I wanted I would order two entrees and this was never a problem. On the 2nd formal night, the waiter brought out seconds of lobster tail and shrimp dinner in case anyone wanted it. He was very attentive and the assistant waiter was very efficient with serving bread and coffee or tea. We were sitting on the main level (3rd floor) near the staircase where the music was being played. A very elegant dining experience. We tried the dining room for breakfast one morning but the service was extremely slow and the selection was limited.
We had two adjoining E1 balcony mid-ship cabins on deck 7. Excellent location. The cabins are small but laid out very nicely. With all the luggage we brought I decided to unpack everything and didn't have a problem with space. The door between the cabins opened up and the balcony door opened up. It felt like a suite with two bathrooms. Our room steward was very efficient in keeping the rooms clean and very pleasant. We were so impressed with the service on this ship that we gave more than the recommended gratuity.
My 17 year old son tried the flowrider, rock climbing wall and mini golf. Otherwise we all spent our time at the solarium (adult only) pool. It was very relaxing in that area and not as noisy as the other sections. We were not able to get a lounge chair in the shade but were able to get 4 chairs and a table in the shade which suited us fine. There were two very large hot tubs in this area and the pool was the nicest I have seen on a cruise ship. The main pool area is very noisy and very crowded. The H2O zone is great for younger kids. It looked like a lot of fun.
There were many activities in the evenings. We went to all the shows. We were not overly impressed with the production shows, but loved Earl Turner who was the headliner show, a singer/comedian.
I have been to all the ports before. Coco Cay is a nice beach day. There were seagulls all over the lunch buffet grabbing food out of people's plates. We chose to eat on the ship. We did the Screamin Eagle in St. Thomas. It is a fast boat ride where you get soaked. It was so hot that it felt great. It is right off the pier so after the ride we went back to the ship to put on dry clothes and then went shopping near the pier. My family enjoyed this excursion. I thought it was just okay. St. Martin is my favorite port. We did the beach excursion through the ship. We went on an air conditioned bus to Orient Beach and there were lounges and umbrellas already set up. The umbrellas are $3 each which covers two chairs. This excursion included lunch where they serve you in a covered area with a choice of ribs, chicken or fish. They also give you a drink when you get to the beach and a drink during lunch. The food was just okay but the service was good.
Overall, this is a great family cruise. There are a lot of activities that will keep you busy, but if all you want to do is relax you can find places to do that.