Stayed at 4 Points by Sheraton the day before the cruise so we could get a shuttle to the port. We arrived at 8 AM from Anchorage and found a room waiting for us thanks to an email request a week earlier. The folks at 4 Points could not have been nicer - the hotel falls comfortably into the 3-star category.
Transfer to the port was problematic as the transportation company kept asking for our voucher, which RCI had never provided. All we could do was show the reservation confirmation that included the shuttle. We finally arrived. Checking in at the cruise line was strange - the premium guests (suite or platinum/diamond) were at the very end of the line. It went well, the folks were pleasant, etc.
I was looking forward to seeing how this renovated ship would look. It's small, and showing her age in spite of the renovation. Adequate would be a good word. The room was fine, Dolly was magnificent. How she can remember new guests names every three or four days is beyond me.
The food was okay in the dining room, but my wife declined to eat anything at the Windjammer except for breakfast, after our first lunch there. I believe the words slop and gross were in her description. She has cruised on many cruise lines before we wed, so has a lot of good memories of the days when cruising was something special. We found the deli food to be tasty and adventurous and the venue was delightfully empty and quiet.
The purpose of our visit to Miami was for a college graduation and while we were Outside, thought we would take a sunny, warm vacation away from the cold and dark of Alaska. It wasn't that warm on the cruise - 40 and windy in Key West, for example. RCI can't do anything about that, however.
We took the trolley tour around Key West and froze ourselves. The visit to Nassau was nasty. What a despicable place. It seems designed only to separate cruise passengers from their money, first by junk shops along the waterfront, and by criminal means two blocks away. Dirty and disgusting! Yikes! We did not participate in any of the Atlantis stuff - I believe it is cheaper to do that directly with the resort than through the cruise line, but it doesn't matter - we'll not be visiting Nassau again in this lifetime.
Coco Cay was reported to be nice - my wife went snorkeling and enjoyed herself totally. Food was okay, souvenirs were overpriced and she said she missed me. AWWWW! I stayed behind with her semi-ambulatory dad who travelled with us.
The overall impression of the trip was that it met our needs (getting away from -20 and snow for a few days), we didn't starve, service was pretty good, although not inspired, and we slept well.
We've already booked our next cruise, for 2012, in the Southern Caribbean out of San Juan. Overall, I like Royal Caribbean, but this sad little ship and it's sad itinerary won't be seeing us again.
PS. One last thing - could we get some large fans in the fitness area? The glass is nice, but it let's in a lot of heat and traps what we all exude. I'm done now.