PRE CRUISE: We flew in late Friday night (into FLL), and spent the night at the Spring hill suites in Dania. We have stayed there many times before and as usual we were very happy with our stay. The hotel is clean and the staff is always wonderful. We were picked up by Quality Limo promptly at 9am. We had to drop a large family at the Miami airport first and I was impressed that the driver asked us to make sure all our bags were there before he continued on to the port of Miami. We were dropped at the port by 10:15.
EMBARK: We were greeted right away by a porter who took our bags and told us that we would have to wait until 1pm to go into the check in area and pointed to an area where we should wait. We thanked him and went straight to where you get in to go on the ship. Glad we didn't take his advice, since we were able to get in and were right by the front and got in to check in with the first group (we are Diamond, but stayed with our friends in the regular group for check in). We were on the ship by 11:45! We did see a packed terminal when we went to get on the ship. We went to make our spa appointments and then ate lunch at the Windjammer. Easiest muster ever that day too!
STATEROOM: We had a wonderful, clean cabin with plenty of storage space and we had our room attendant open the balcony divider. Fitzroy was a great attendant, and even looked for us one afternoon to make sure we were happy since he never saw us (we were always on the go).
DINING: We ate in the MDR (MTD), the Windjammer, and on the promenade. We were very happy with the food. Not perfect, but we just wanted a place to eat that was good. We also ate at Portofino and Chops and had very good meals at both. My DH and his friend liked to sit in Sorrento's and people watch. His friend's better half and I liked going to the new cupcake store (the staff there were very nice and also very interesting to chat with) The food is a good value for what you paid for! The staff was great in all venues!
BARS: The bars seemed a little short staffed at the pools, there was usually a wait to get drinks. I felt bad for the bartender in the Solarium, who worked his tail off! The drinks were never watered down! I was glad to see everyone around was patient about the wait.
POOLS: The pools were very crowded on sea days, with lots of empty chairs with towels on them. We went to the pool(solarium) around 8am and would bring our breakfast to eat by the pool. We would usually leave for the day by 1pm, and some of the loungers around us would remain unused the entire time we were there. The second sea day, my DH and another gentleman next to him started pointing out chairs to people that had been unused for more than two hours, so they could have the pool patrol move the towels.
PORTS: St. Thomas is very familiar to us, since we have stayed there multiple times, so we just did our own thing. We love it there, so we had a blast. Went to Morningstar beach and shopped and went to the Greenhouse for lunch and Wikked for drinks on our way back to the ship. The long day in port was WONDERFUL! We were met at the pier in St. Marten by Lloyd, the owner of Twin Island Excursions. We had a private tour, and it was worth every penny! we saw the butterflys, the urchin man and lots of beautiful places. We asked to spend most of the day at Orient Beach and he made all the arrangements for our chairs and umbrellas and picked us up when we were done. He then dropped us in town for an hour of shopping and then took us back to the ship. He was also very interesting and we learned alot about the islands history. I will use him again next year! We did the walking tour thru the ship in San Juan. It was very good and we got a ton of exercise! Labadee was amazing! We were lucky enough to score a cabana (s-1) and it was worth the cost. We were the last to leave the beach at the end of the day. The vendors market was a aggressive as everyone has warned! We bought a few things, but had to leave because the pressure to buy was so bad.
ENTERTAINMENT AND CASINO: We didn't go to one show, just too beat every night!
We did go to the casino two nights and played Roulette. The smoke was a real turn off, so we only spent an hour there each of the nights. The staff was very patient with us at the Roulette wheel and I even won enough money to pay off my spa bill! We also went to a movie one late afternoon. Wish they had earlier movies on the other nights.
SPA: The staff was very good and professional. Not one person tried to sell us stuff, we were very impressed with this. The spa is very expensive.
FITNESS CENTER: Clean and easy to get on equiptment
DISEMBARK: We got off the ship at 8am, and were sitting in our shuttle (Quality Limo again), by 8:30. We got to the FLL airport by 9:30. No hold ups at all.
This was the best cruise we have been on to date. We loved the 8 night with the ports offered and the extra sea days. The staff was wonderful and very helpful the whole trip. The Diamond lounge was also very nice, even though i only went there for coffee (love the machine ) and to use the Internet. Only complaint was that the WI FI is just terrible, they need to fix the lack of IP addresses! Wonderful ship, only wish they would keep the 6/8 cruises!