We drove down from South Carolina to Ft Lauderdale. We always leave early so that we don't miss the cruise due to traffic, and I like to get there early to enjoy the boat before sailing.
Embarkation was a breeze...hardly had to wait. We had booked "Veranda guarantee" and found out that we had been upgraded to a Spa Veranda!
The buffet was VERY full, but we just had to wait about 10 minutes for a table to open up.
We were able to go to our room about 1 pm. It was VERY clean and beautifully decorated. None of the neon colors from the 80's you see in some cruise ships. The mattress was perfect for my husband's back. Similar to the upgraded mattresses you find in Marriott, Westin, etc. And I had an actual tub! Guys might not understand, but it is NOT easy to shave your legs in a typical cruiseline tiny shower :)
The common areas were smaller than some of the bigger ships like Royal Caribbean's voyager class, but much quieter and dignified.
The food was very high quality and excellent service (I used to be a server at an AAA five diamond restaurant, so you can believe me). They don't get very exotic on HA, so don't expect to find lemongrass or spicy foods unless you go to an alternative dining location. I ordered the cheese plate for dessert each evening, and they even had them at the Lido the one night we ate there.
I purchased a wine package and was pleasantly surprised to find out that you can even request "your" current bottle from the Lido staff.
We didn't see many of the shows, but the Main show was very entertaining and the dancers did a wonderful job.
We did the catamaran champagne & snorkel excursion in St Thomas. The only thing they don't mention is the 30-45 min open air (exhaust fumes) ride to/from the marina which ate up too much of the time. I would suggest the snorkel excursion that leaves right from the port dock and use the money you save to buy a few glasses of higher quality champagne on the Eurodam :)
You CANNOT go to Grand Turk w/out doing a snorkel excursion. Pick one that goes to Horshoe Reef and pick the earliest session if you want to see the most fish. We hung out at Margaritaville on the way back to the ship. Yeah, it's touristy, but they make the BEST "perfect margarita."
At the private island, just bring yourself & water and relax on the beach--it was surprisingly our favorite stop. We headed back to the ship for lunch & beer.
This was our second visit to San Juan. The city was a bit run-down from our first trip in 04/2002, but the walkways along the water are still gorgeous. And you can always count on free Mojitos from the Don Q shop--they have the best rum for a good price and they KNOW how to pack it so it won't break.