The BF and I left January 1, 2011 for a week long cruise to the Western Caribbean. It was a great way to start the new year!
We chose to arrive the day of (risky, risky!) at the Ft. Lauderdale airport and used SAS transportation for $30 round trip transportation to the port of Miami. I highly recommend them. Just bring their phone number with you to call once you arrive at the airport. They always were there in 15 minutes or less to pick us up. After a 30 minute ride, we arrived at the port.
No problems with embarking. Luggage was in the room by 2pm, and in the meantime everyone is eating on the Lido Deck.
I wasn't prepared for how many kids were running around unattended. No complaints with them, other than they are unsupervised and running all the time.
The ship itself is decorated to hurt your eyes. I was wondering who designed the decor, but more importantly, who approved the decor decisions. It's a small detail but one you are dealing with for a week.
The food was good. After reading all these negative comments, I went in expecting worse than what it was. You can find something to eat and for those that want more choices, create your own lunch at the Burrito Bar, deli, or Mongolian areas. It's cooking for mass quantities, so it reminded me of a normal wedding buffet spread. I will say that you cannot go wrong with the molten cake or even the chocolate cake on the room service menu for a sweet tooth fix.
Another tip here is when using the room service on port days for breakfast, plan accordingly with time arrival because it was always a little late on those days. I even heard that one morning they ran out of coffee, I'm not sure though cause I didn't order any.
My only negative experience was that we wanted to take the Wine and Pairing course and they printed the wrong time in the Fun Times memo. We went to register and it happened the day before. :( No biggie though. We tried a couple of spa treatments, so wait to book those until the 3 for $99 special happens.
The pool is crowded so be sure to get there early for a good seat. I saw in another review that the hot tub wasn't hot and we found that out as well. Your showers are hotter than the hot tubs!
Overall, we had an excellent time on board. The staff was friendly and very professional. I never saw any of them smoking (like other reviewers) and they are doing there jobs to ensure YOU have a great vacation. Just remember, this is your vacation to make the most of. There is no reason why you can't have a great time. ENJOY IT!! :)