We flew into Orlando the day before the cruise. Rented a car from Budget then drove out to Cape Canaveral. Stayed at LQ in Cocoa Beach (which was right on the beach) just a few miles from the cruise terminal. Cruise day-we took all of our luggage to the cruise terminal around 11 am and dropped it off then took the car to Budget to drop off and took their shuttle to the cruise terminal. Was on the ship by 12:15 pm. The embarkation went very fast and smooth. We were very impressed that we were able to drop our bags early then come back, made things much easier. No problem getting a table for lunch in “The Gathering” (main lido buffet) there were a lot of people but lines were going quickly.
We had the your time dining in the Crimson deck 4, where we could dine anytime from 5:45 pm – 9:30 pm. Every night we dined at or around 5:45, never had any trouble getting our table with our wonderful headwaiter, her name is Nazan and team waiter, his name was Sudarma. Impressed with the food quality, never tried the steakhouse. Never really wanted to, as we were happy with the food quality in the Crimson. Had the warm chocolate melting cake almost every night. We did try the deli at the back of the Gathering and it was very good, lines never really long either. Never tried pizza and burger in the pool area, lines were usually long. I have to add that the omelet stations in the Gathering went quite fast since there were 2 guys making three omelets each.
Our ports were Nassau, Bahamas and Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands.
Bahamas was great, weather was a little windy but the temperature was around 75. We went to the Sheraton at Cable beach and bought the day pass. It was $25 for adults and $12.50 for children. You could also get a day room but we didn’t see the need, as we only wanted to use the pools and beach. We decided on this hotel, as the pool was heated, not very hot but just warm enough to get in and swim. We walked over to the Wyndham also so my daughter could use the slide; it looked a little run down over there so we went back to the Sheraton. We enjoyed about 4-5 hours there then took a cab back (cabs were $20 each way, you can take the bus but we were more comfortable with a cab) walked around the shops then headed back to the ship.
Grand Turk, not much here other than the cruise terminal shopping area and the pool at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. We rented a cabana, it was nice as we were able to lock our things up and go over to the beach, shopping, etc. We ordered our food from the cabana and ate there. It was really crowded at the pool area, was glad to have had the cabana. By 11 am there were no chairs left available around the pool. The beach was very shelly. My daughter was getting in the water and the water came up with tiny shells in it and cut her legs up so she could not get back in. We then decided to venture into town and took a cab. Not much to see. This is definitely a port where it is better to do an excursion or stay in the cruise terminal area. Overall, we were happy with the cabana and cruise area. It was about 78 degrees, nice weather. Pool was absolutely freezing though, did not stay in it long. It was fun watching people try the flow rider.
My daughter started out going to the Circle C area activities the first night but then stopped. The Circle C was for 12-14. She did go to the Spa Teen Party in the salon where she was pampered with a pedicure and had ice cream. She was the only one signed up but she said it was still fun. She also enjoyed the waterworks area with the water slides and the mini-golf.
We only went to one show in the Encore and one PG-13 comedy show in Burgundy. The show in the encore was very entertaining but the comedy show was not very impressive.
With the size of this ship, I was surprised it didn’t feel crowded. The elevators never took too long, had to take stairs occasionally though.
We were on deck 8 aft and never smelled any type of sewer smell I have read other cruisers comment about. Our balcony cabin was nice and roomy, looked very similar to balcony cabin on the Conquest. The vanity area looks a little elongated which was nice, more counter space. There were three compartments in the closet, which was nice especially since there were 3 of us in this cabin.
Overall, this was our 10th cruise and we really enjoyed it.