Ok, I have to admit I was very worried after booking this trip and reading all of the reviews that were so negative. We were celebrating my father's 85th birthday and my brother and his wife were joining us as first time cruisers. They have traveled all over the world so I know they would be good critics.
Let me tell you all the worrying was a big waste of time - this ship was WONDERFUL. Sure we had a few complaints, those I will talk about at the end. First I want you to read the positives. The ship is beautiful - although it is big - you will spend the majority of your time on decks 5, 6,7 and 15. It was very easy to find your way - on the decks with your rooms, a reminder that orange carpet is even numbered rooms and the blue is odd numbered rooms. My father was in the single studio - which was very convenient for all of us. More on that room later. The elevators ran smoothly and you never had to wait for long. The rooms was so nice, for the life of me I can not figure out all of the negative comments - the sink was cute and fine - not one spillage on the floor - there was ample storage space - the closets are outfitted with plenty of hangers as well as nice baskets on the inside door to store lots of things in. There are also shelves inside the closet as well as a safe - both my dad and brother had some trouble with their safes, but the staff was very quick in fixing the problems. We had none. There is a medicine cabinet behind the mirror, hairdryer and pump soap and shampoo are provided - always have ice in your bucket - and a small table pulls out right above the drawers. It was hard to sit and apply makeup or do your hair. I wish they had had some type of pull out mirrow to make this easier. Beds were very comfortable, nice linens, AC worked fine - the shower was great - much bigger than other inside cabins we have stayed in. We loved having the toilet seperate - if you wanted more privacy than closing the doors to these 2 areas, they provide a curtain to seperate the toilet/shower area from the rest of the cabin. I truly was so worried about the rooms and ended up loving them.
The food - was great - we ate breakfast in the Garden Room as well as lunch - such a variety - soooo good - the best food of any of the cruises we have been on - 5 counting this one. We ate in the Manhattan room one night = this was my least favorite as it was just very loud. We had to wait about 10 min for seats after a show - this was the only wait we had all week - the ship was totally full. We preferred the atmosphere of Taste - we also ate lunch there the afternoon of our arrival. It was much more quiet than the Garden room and outside where everyone was. A nice place to start your cruise. We loved Le Bistro had a fantastic meal there - all the escargot we could eat was our favorite. This is a lovely restaurant and was empty the first night as we were told most all the restaurants are -if you want treated like a king go there the first night. The only other meal we paid for was the Italian restaurant - it was fair but in all honesty - it was the last night and I think we were just so stuffed from all week - it is a very cute restaurant and a great place to play cards etc during the day. You can go in and you are right at the front of the ship with great views. it is quiet and so relaxing there. We worked on puzzles and played a lot of cards in this area. Don't miss it. Anyone complaining about not enough choices are crazy - there is a set menu at Taste and Manhatton - but they also have 5 new selections as well every day. It was certainly enough choices for us. Of course, as with most cruises, they are more than generous with the food, try 2 entrees, desserts as many as you like etc. The booze is expensive on this ship but we are not big drinkers. We did enjoy 2 for 1 martinis in Moderno bar some nights. You have to have 2 of the same kind though - they were great. That pretty much was the extent of our drinking.
The shows - Blue Man - our first time = fantastic
Cirque - was very enjoyable - in the space we thought they did a great job - do not waste money on premium seats - it really seemed the cheap seats upstairs were better - sit on the opposite side of the stairs coming up - good show and food.
Second City - was a big disappointment - was not funny - fell flat - they group is changing this week so yours might be better
Howl at the Moon - HATED IT - the slob on the right was crass and was always begging for money to play or not play certain songs, was always asking for drinks and was not funny at all. I couldn't get pass what he was saying to enjoy the piano playing.
SLAM ADAMS JAZZ/BLUES I can't tell you how fantastic this show was Slam is adorable and can this group play. THe last 2 nights at the last shows - many came from the other groups to have a jam sessions -FANTASTIC - one of the blue men played his fiddle for example - the talent just blew us away. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW...
Gambling - there was lots of complaints about smoke - yes there was some - esp if you sit next to someone smoking - I hate smoke and it really was not that bad - nothing like I expected. We didn't come out winners but many seemed to - it was fun
Ports of call - we only went out in Roatan - it was ok - snorkeling was great - so much poverty though But this is always picked as the 2nd best place to snorkel in the world.
Staff - could not have been nicer - so pleasant and kept the ship in perfect order - not as pushy as other ships in coming around and asking for drink orders.
OK NOW A FEW THINGS I DID NOT LIKE
We loved the H2O private adult area - but there are not enough lounges -that is a problem on the whole ship - one time we had a problem with a passenger taking our seat - pools are small but we only went into the H2O pool, My husband did the slides and enjoyed them the best being the purple one he felt. Music is very loud esp at the main pool area - common problem in ships - they had a band playing with a great trumpeter. The main pool area was crowded - this was the only place we ever felt the crowds. On days that we were docked it was fantastic. Pictures only came in 8x10 at 20 ea - would have liked to have smaller prints available. Also could they do something so we didn't have reflections on our glasses from all of these pictures...that ruined many of the pics I might otherwise have purchased.
We missed the walking around the whole ship deck - they said they would have one going forward. I did the laundry special $24.99 for a big bag of laundry - they said washed and ironed - but I absolutely saw no ironing done on my things - I was upset about that. Shuffleboard is on deck 7 I think that was fun - but did not have enough sticks etc for all the shuffleboards. The gym is very very crowded before 9 go later if you want to avoid the crowds. It is very well equipped but I guess they still needed more machines for 4100 passengers.
Summary - We loved this ship and all it had to offer - from 85 year old to first time cruisers, to experienced cruisers. This is a big ship that has much t offer. Do not be scared off by the negative reviews. I am a picky person and had very few complaints.