I am not going to go into detail about embarking in Miami, the ports, or disembarking, because those have been covered in many reviews. Instead, I'll post how I felt what I experienced on this cruise.
First, the attitude of the crew when we arrived on the ship. They had just gotten through leaving Cozumel 8 hours late, had to listen to grumpy people about missing flights and trying to get ready for the next group of cruisers. We were greeted with smiles and the cheerfulness of a brand new crew ready to take care of us. Our room steward, Analyn, learned our names and cabin number the first time we met her. She was eager to make our trip as comfortable as possible and always was smiling during her long days. Thank you, Analyn, for the wonderful job you did for us. Down the hall we met another room steward named Marta. She wasn't ours, but she and I made friends quickly and had a lot of laughs together, many at my expense. Thank you, Marta, for enjoying your job and making me laugh!
The food was excellent no matter where we ate. The restaurants we didn't get to are The Epic Club (only villas allowed), Shanghai's, Wasabi, & Cagney's. I tried things that I have never eaten and everything was delicious. (Except the liver pate, I couldn't stomach that). The servers in the restaurants were exceptional. Jonalyn in the Mahattan Room, Marlon in Taste, & Norrbere (I'm sorry if I spelled it wrong!) at the Waves Bar, taking great care of us on the pool deck. In the Garden Cafe I met Jinky, a very sweet young lady who has a heart of gold. I hope to keep in touch with her and watch her future unfold.
I love the small venues! Fat Cats, Headliners, and the smaller theater were wonderful! I believe they felt more personal and cozy. We didn't know we were there with 4200 other people. The one thing I didn't like was having to walk through the smoky casino. I didn't keep this to myself to wait to post it here, I did speak to Richard, our Asst. Hotel Director about my complaint. He explained to me what they were trying to do to fix this to satify the smokers and nonsmokers.
Yes, the ship is large. There is a lot of walking, but as much as we ate, the walking didn't hurt us a bit. We always found chairs on the pool deck somewhere. There were always tables available in the Garden Cafe whenever we were there. Spice H2O was the best place to relax and watch a U2 concert. There were always movies or something on the big screen in the Atrium. Later in the day we found this incredible singer in the Atrium. I don't remember her name, but she is fantastic! The guys in Howl at the Moon were amazing! How they know so many songs is beyond me. Oops, getting off topic here. The ship is very large, but there were times we found it so empty that we wondered where all the people were hiding!
Last, but not least, the officers are the best. On the last night of our 14 day cruise, they had a reception for all of us b2b'ers. Captain Vorren is a very gracious man, and really appreciated us cruising with him. Denis, our hotel director, was wonderful. He has a lot of pressure on him to keep everything running, but he was always smiling and ready to chat anytime we saw him. Thank you, Denis, for taking such wonderful care of us and making our cruise so memorable. Our cruise director, Paul, is a very energetic and funny guy. He is always on the run (I mean literally!) from place to place, doing everything to make sure everyone is having fun. He always had time to stop and chat, no matter how fast he was moving. Thank you, Paul, we had a wonderful time!
My last observation is, talking to the crew and the officers, we got a feeling that we were there to make THEIR cruise more enjoyable. We felt so welcome, so appreciated, and now so ready to go back & cruise again!!!