In our group, there were varied levels of experience. Two cabins in our party enjoyed interior accommodations on the 7th floor, and I thought their space was laid out well. They were down the hall from our Superior Verandah, which I felt looked phenomenal and offered great space/price value.
One in our sailing party complained about the smell of smoke coming from across the hallway - where someone really was lighting it up. My wife and I felt the bathroom had some lingering smells of smoke. The a/c really didn't blow as cold as we'd like (it also broke before the end of the cruise and was fixed the same night), and initially the hot water could have been hotter. Again - the room steward took care of the hot water immediately.
Not sure if the previous cruise presented a problem disembarking, but we arrive at the dock at 10:45 and were among the first 10 parties in the line. We were unable to enter the boarding area until 11:05. Getting onboard started at 11:45 (realistically) and we were on the Lido Deck at 12:05. I believe the said we could get to our rooms by 12:15.
Food at the Lido deck really surprised me. It was mostly very, very good - ranging up to excellent, actually. Some seared flounder was remarkable. Breakfasts were standard fair, lunches great. The coffee in every venue was outstanding.
My wife and I had the turkey burgers on the same day my daughter did. Two of us thought they were great; fries were good. A burger ordered from the room service got kudos.
Roomservice in general was superb, if sometimes a little too quick. Nearly everyone in our group relied on it to some degree.
Table for six on the first night at Tamarind and absolutely LOVED it. I've eaten at the best NYC Oriental places and this would go step to step with anyone. Went back the next day alone for lunch and the dim sum was good, but not as great as dinner.
MDR - the Rembrandt - nearly always hit a home run. Our party rarely ordered soup and salad and instead would typically order two (or three!) entrees, so I can say we pretty much had everything they were offering every night. Certainly as good as Carnival or Celebrity, perhaps better. We had anytime dining and never waited a minute to be sat.
Cattalano's ... nothing special. The maitre de was outstanding at the restaurant as was the service, but the food didn't knock us off our feet.
Midnight chocolate buffet - terribly disappointing. Don't hold your breath for it.
Specialty dining at the Pinnacle grill was simply superb for lunch. For dinner, I enjoyed a night at Le Cirque/The Pinnacle. We were incredibly fortunate to have Sirio Maccionne and his wife onboard (they did presentations in the Culinary center!), and although the two of them had a table in the room eating with the Captain the night we dined, she still made her way, table to table, to ask if we were enjoying ourselves. So gracious, so warm. Needless to say, the food was prepared flawlessly. Nick was a great server.
Generally fine, across the board. The staff really does a bit more to try to make your trip enjoyable.
Loved the Crow's nest. Felt the Cabanas would have been mostly wasted money if you didn't get on the 10th floor; they were booked by time we got there. Generally plenty of space at the pool for adults, and glad to have the kids sectioned off midships.
We sailed from March 25 to April 3, the last sailing in the Caribbean before drydock and on to Europe. Generally normal distribution of people. 91% American. I would have guessed Club Hal had 40-80 munchkins or more. Our 17 year olds found more than enough boys to talk to, and there were plenty of other younger people. Adults mostly in the 45-65 age group.
Ship does close down relatively early. By midnight, almost everything is closed. The singers and dancers in the shows were good, almost very good. The shows weren't inspired or anything, though. Comedian, very good; magician, super. Noone in our group felt the singer by the pool had any chops at all.
Overall, a reasonable part of the ship.
Turks & Caicos had a nice beach, small shopping area. We did a great value on snorkeling for $49. Two plus hours, two stops and some time with stingrays.
Old San Juan was of course stunning. We walked it ourselves, wife caught a great deal on a Coach purse. In St. Thomas we were able to find some good deals on Tanzanite, enjoyed a great plate of nachos at cool restaurant off Main ... Coconuts? Can't remember the name. Owned by a Red Sox fan.
Half Moon Cay is all that and a bag of chips. Gorgeous, and worth using HAL instead of a competitor all by itself if you like beaches. Our $79 horseback ride in the surf turned out to be no surf riding; the waves were too much (and frankly didn't look all that threatening to me). But still fun and a worthwhile trip.
The food truly shined, as did the service and the overall pace of things. The ship seemed easy to navigate, gracious in space and the staff responded quickly all the time. Some components were truly difference makers; my 400+ square foot cabin was something I could never have afforded on Celebrity. I've never had a distinguished guest like Sirio Maccionne share their insights. Jason, the Cruise Director, was superb and any activity went off like clockwork.
Overall, a great experience and different ... for sure. There were activities going on all over the place and we'd come upon them by surprise. Which is nice; if you don't want that "loudspeaker" environment the staff isn't intruding on you. Loved the trip.