Embarkation: Embarkation was a breeze in Tampa. The Port in Tampa has their act together. The longest time was spent going through security…we also didn’t arrive at the port until 12:00 noon…it was bustling by that time! We had VIP check in and that was a snap once we made it through security. We were on the Lido deck by 12:45 with a drink in hand. Our rooms were ready by 1:30 with our baggage arriving by 3:30pm.
Dining: The food was great. The selection in the dining room was enough to please any palate. I found the fish options were just okay but with so many other tasty options, I never went hungry. My boyfriend had the Warm Melting Chocolate cake every night—it was really good! The pizza was fantastic and even better fresh from the oven. The onboard deli was just a wonderful too. The buffets had the standard buffet fare which seemed to satisfy everyone.
Public Rooms: I found the public rooms to be fine. They had numerous shops with duty free items. Jewelry, liquor, trinkets could be had by all! The casino space was pretty large and I was impressed by the layout. Many lounges and places to hang out scattered throughout the ship. Disappointed with the pool and hot tubs…only four hot tubs on the whole ship which never seemed to accommodate the crowds. One item of note…the hot tubs were barely tepid and not as hot as I thought they could be. The Serenity deck was a great addition; however, it was difficult to get one of the cushioned lounge chair due to the crowds.
Cabins: We found an awesome deal for an “obstructed view” junior suite. First of all…our view wasn’t obstructed at all—our cabin was the “last” obstructed view. The balcony was on the small size but perfect for our needs. The room size was perfect with enough space to move around, hang clothes, drawers for everyone. Bathroom was roomy with a shower and plenty of room to move around. The bed was great and very comfy. However, do not forget to bring your hair dryer...none are provided!
Entertainment: The shows were good. We paid the $55 for the "Behind the Fun" tour. It was worth EVERY penny. I highly recommend signing up for it on the first day on board...limited space! You get to go behind the scenes from the theater stage to the kitchen as well as the Engine Control room and the Bridge where the Captain drives the ship!
Spa & Fitness: Spa was great. I had a deep tissue massage while on board. Be careful though…the therapists are trying to push their products! The Fitness center was great too…however watch out for peak times (early morning) and the ensuing wait for a machine. They have spinning and yoga for an extra charge. Sign up early for the spinning classes b/c they only allow 12 per class. I never made it into a class. The walking/jogging track was a great addition and alternative to the fitness center.
Shore Excursions: We were outrunning Hurricane Paula so the only shore excursion we had was in Grand Cayman. We took the Cayman Deluxe tour which included Hell, Turtle Farm, and Stingray City. First of all, the tendering process in Grand Cayman was smoother than I expected. The tour was good. Hell was a brief stop at a gift shop with a post office for postcard with the “Hell” postmark! The Turtle Farm was okay. I thought the Turtle Farm was a rehabilitation farm for turtles displace during hurricanes, etc. NOT SO! It’s a farm where they raise turtles for TURTLE MEAT! Yikes! The Stingray City part of the tour was great. We were able to swim with the Stingrays on a sand bar about 30 minutes from shore. We battled rain on the way back, but all in all, a great day. Our beach excursion in Cozumel was canceled due to the impending Hurricane Paula.
Service: Service throughout the cruise was fantastic. Our cabin steward Narieya was OUTSTANDING. She was sweet and her team provided superb service from beginning to end. The nightly towel animals were a welcome addition to twice a day service! Our dining room team Komang and his assistant were attentive without being bothersome. Anything we wanted was provided!
Value-for-Money: Overall, I think we exceeded the value for the money we paid. Our cabin was fabulous.
Rates: Thought rates were great for the cabin, food, entertainment, service we received.
Debarkation: This was a breeze. We tagged our bags the night before and debarked at 9:00AM. We were off the ship with bags through customs by 9:20AM. We had a late flight out of Tampa so took advantage of the service the Port of Tampa provides. For $7 you can check your baggage and for $20 get two people shuttled to the airport. We picked some discount tickets to the Tampa aquarium (which was worth every penny). Before leaving Tampa we had lunch at Taverna Opa located at the Channelside Shops and Restaurants! WONDERFUL Greek food with tableside made hummus! Don’t miss it!