This was our third cruise, the first two being on Carnival. We live in Florida so we drove to port the morning of our cruise. We arrived around noon. We dropped our luggage off with the Porters then my husband parked the car while I waited for him near the terminal entrance. Embarkment was quick and easy. There was a short line and wait but that should be expected with almost 3000 people sailing.
Our room wasn't ready but we did drop off our carry-ons and the cabin stewards didn't seem to mind too much. We then had lunch in the Ocean View Cafe. It was busy but not chaotic. There is a great selection and the carving station with the roast beef and mashed potatoes was very good. We ate most breakfasts and lunches in the Ocean View and never had a problem finding somewhere to sit. There were some good food choices and then there were some things that weren't so good. That is to be expected in almost any restaurant. The nice thing is that if you don't like what you selected, grab another plate and try something else. The staff cleared tables quickly and during breakfast they had someone coming around with a coffee cart to serve you so don't worry about putting your plate down and then getting up to get coffee just to come back to cold eggs. We just got our plates and some juice and waited for the coffee to come around.
Our room was ready around 1pm. We booked a guaranteed balcony and then for only $49 upgraded to concierge class to ensure a room on a higher deck without an obstructed view. The room was very nice, clean and had plenty of storage (and we overpack). My husband is tall so he used the storage above the bed and I used all the drawers. We shared the closet. The bed is large and comfortable. There was plenty of space under the bed for our suitcases. With concierge class you get champagne (we made mimosa's with it), flowers and canapes in the afternoon. Cabin service was fine but I didn't notice it any better than on Carnival. Canapes were fine but not outstanding. I wouldn't pay a lot more for this class.
We spent our days lounging by the pool or in the solarium. We never had a problem finding a space even if it took 5 or 10 minutes to scout out some space. We loved all the choices in lounges, singles, doubles, private hammocks and cabana type things in the solarium. There weren't a lot of 20 somethings partying nor where there many children. Both a plus for us. The ones we did see were all well behaved and parents had a good handle on their children unlike on Carnival where parents let their kids run wild on the ship.
Dinner the first night in the MDR was awesome. I had prime rib and my husband had lamb. The second dinner I had pasta with chicken which was very good but my husband had some chicken burgandy dish that was just ok. Our third dinner in the MDR was just ok. I had chicken wellington and dh had some risotto dish that just was not good at all. We passed on dessert except cheesecake one night which was excellent. Appetizers weren't very good for the most part. We ate at Tuscan's one night and had filet mignon which was excellent. We also ate at Murano's which was excellent. I had lobster and dh had dover sole. For appetizers we had diver scallop wellington and a goat cheese souffle. Both very good. However we did not care for the lobster bisque. Had lunch at Bistro on 5 once and it was very good. Service in all restaurants was excellent.
Entertainment: We saw 15 minutes of one show and left. Cruise ship shows are not our thing. It was one of the main shows (there are 3) but I can't remember which one it was. Live music throughout the ship was very good. We especially liked when we could find salsa music to enjoy. We went to the dance club once and the DJ (like many DJ's) wanted to play what he wanted and didn't take requests too well. He really needed to be playing more current music. It is a dance club after all. Played very little in the casino. Again, it's not our thing. Shopping was very overpriced on the ship. We only bought liquor.
Ports: It's the Caribbean. Islands are all very similar. Great beaches. Too much jewelry. Not enough true local arts/crafts to buy but we scouted out a couple of unique things to purchase. We always feel too rushed in the ports and that's one thing we don't like about cruising. We also don't care for the pushy locals all trying to sell you the same stuff. They don't take no for an answer. Also, we don't understand all the littering and garbage on these beautiful islands. Their governments need to get a handle on that.
Disembarkment: We decided to go on the later side (9:50 a.m.) thinking there wouldn't be as many people. We had our last breakfast, relaxed a little afterwards and then proceeded to our assigned area. Leaving the ship was a breeze but the line for receiving luggage was very long. I had a book to read so it made it go by faster. Once we got to the luggage area we got a Porter. They are hard to find in that area so you have to be quick but I highly recommend using a Porter. They have their own line for customs and although it was long it was much shorter than for those without a Porter. The process for us was complete by 11:10.
Overall, it was a great vacation and a great ship with very good food and very good service. Here are a few negatives. Pool bartenders are not the friendliest. Concierge Class is over rated. Food could be hit or miss except in the specialty restaurants. Ports are rushed. Getting off the ship takes a while but we expect that so we were not bothered. Expensive shops and spa services (did not use spa services although I would have if they were priced competitively). And now for the worse part of the cruise for us. The other guests! While we did meet a few down to earth nice people, overall the guests were snobs who loved to hear themselves talk! We heard all about their careers, money, jewelry, houses, cars, 401k's, etc and the only thing they were interested in knowing about us was what we did for a living. One woman went on and on about her houses and jewelry and never asked us a thing, not even where we were from. That same woman then proceeded to complain about the 15% gratuity on the drinks! It was a major turn off for us. I can think of a thousand things to talk about besides money and work!