We flew into Fort Lauderdale airport the day of our cruise. We arrived around 11:30 a.m. and easily found a taxi to take us to Port Everglades which was about 5 miles from the airport. We were to the check in area very quickly with plenty of open lines to help us get set up with our sea passes. We had no troubles what so ever and were on the ship in less than 10 minutes. We were told our rooms would be ready by 1:30 so we had some exploration time on our hands and some time to get something to eat. We had read on this message board that the roast beef sandwiches at the Park Cafe in Central Park were wonderful so that is where we headed for our first lunch on board! I have to say that the reviews of the roast beef sandwich were right on. They were great! We also enjoyed the made to order salads that were available with the dressing being tossed for you in your very own salad bowl. We did visit the Park Cafe a few more times during our cruise for lunch since it was just the right portion size knowing your dinner would be larger!
As promised our stateroom was ready and waiting by 1:30. We were able to drop off the things we had. We met our stateroom attendant right away and the rooms were very clean and organized. We felt the size of the room was very adequate for the two of us. The luggage easily slides under the bed which helped with making room in there. There is a hairdryer provided, but you can only use it by the desk area (can't use it in the bathrooms- only shavers can be used in there). This worked out fine for us because where you could plug in the hairdryer was also a make up mirror so I could finish up there while my husband was showering. With the room all set we started our exploration of the ship. We had done some homework ahead of time so we were somewhat familiar with the ship, but with its enormity it is easy to get twisted around. There are plenty of signs available as to where your stateroom is located and where the front and back of the ship are. There are also flat touch screens available in different areas throughout the ship where you can put in where you are and where you want to go and it will give you directions as to how to get there. The different neighborhoods are also indicated in the elevators so you can easily check what deck you want to head to.
We loved the different neighborhoods with what each environment provided. This is what really intrigued us about this ship- the different neighborhoods. The Boardwalk and Royal Promenade are definitely the happening places both by day and especially at night. Central Park is always peaceful no matter what time of day or night it is. You have to make sure you visit the neighborhoods both in the day and night as their surroundings definitely change. We loved the Solarium (adults only). It is a huge area with plenty of chairs and a fantastic view. It has two hot tubs and a pool although the pool is small for this size solarium, but there was only one time where we felt it was too crowded. We also enjoyed the other pool areas and what they had to offer. We were always able to find chairs no matter what time of day we headed in there. You will never go thirsty while on this ship as there are plenty of waiters ready and willing to get you something to drink. There are also plenty of bars in and around the ship to get it yourself. We did purchase one soda package and that worked out well for us. We ordered this online prior to our cruise so our insulated soda cup was in our stateroom waiting for us. It was also indicated on our Sea Pass right away so we were all set from the start with this.
We chose the My Time dining so we could work our eating schedule around the shows we wanted to see. This worked out well for us! We did make our reservations before we boarded the ship for both our dining and the shows we wanted to see. You can wait until you board the ship, but you do take a chance on not being able to get in when you want to if you wait. In your stateroom you also have a flat screen TV and you can check your daily schedule from there, your dining reservations, your account balance, restaurant menus, etc. and much more! This was very handy! We thought the food was excellent no matter where we ate. We did find that the breakfasts were mostly the same (Windjammer, Solarium Bistro, Opus Dining) but we were perfectly fine with that. We ate a light breakfast usually of fruit, eggs, or cereal. We thought everything we got in the Opus Dining room was great! We were not disappointed with anything that we ordered. We also ate at Giovannis (casual, family style) for dinner one night and thought it was very good. We did try the Seafood Shack and Johnny Rockets for lunch (Boardwalk) and also enjoyed what we had there. We also ate the pizza from Sorrentos Pizzaria(Royal Promenade) and thought that was good too. We did sample of Turtle cupcake from The Cupcake Cupboard (Royal Promenade) and thought it was very good, but only went there once since there is a cost for the cupcake and you have so many options for desserts at dinner time that you can only eat so many desserts! We did try the donut from the Donut Shop (Boardwalk) and thought it was ok. Nothing to rave about. The Wipeout Cafe had some good snack options if you got hungry after swimming (pretzel dogs, french fries, nachos, self serve ice cream, etc.)
We loved the shows that we saw and thought they were all great! We went to the Oasis of Dreams in the Aqua theater, Hairspray, the Stand Up Comedy show, the Headliner show, and Frozen in Time. We were signed up to see the Come Fly With Me show on our last day, but it was during the afternoon and we decided we wanted to be outside around the pools instead of inside a theater.
We really liked to private beach area that was developed by RC for the Haiti port. There are plenty of chairs available (and Haitians willing to set them up for you and not shy about asking for a tip) and there is a free lunch provided. The port in Falmouth, Jamaica was open for us to dock there. When we booked the cruise we weren't sure if it would be open by then. Not all of the buildings etc. are done yet~ they hope to have it done by June. There are lots of excursion people in this small area so it was a bit hectic, but seemed well organized. We went with a private tour suggested by our travel agent and enjoyed this a great deal since it was geared to exactly what we wanted to do. The port in Cozumel was also nice, but be prepared to be asked to do everything under the sun for excursions as they are all set up in this area which you have to walk through.
To disembark we chose the express departure. This is where you take your luggage off with you. We liked this option because you didn't have to put your luggage out in the hallway the night before and you didn't have to wait to be called by sections to retrieve your luggage. We were able to leave the ship between 6:15-7:30. We got off with absolutely no problems and very quickly. Once again, there were plenty of cabs waiting for us and we were to the airport in no time!
How does one summarize all of this?? The only thing I can say is we felt this ship and the trip itself was awesome! We weren't disappointed with anything. The ship had over 6,000 guests on this particular sailing and you would never know it. The ship is so large and there are so many things to do and places to go that this ship easily accommodates this large number of people. The elevators were plentiful and readily available and got you to where you were going very quickly. What more can I say?? It was wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!