We flew to Fort Lauderdale the day before our cruise and stayed at the Holiday Inn airport cruiseport because of the free shuttle from the airport and I was told a free shuttle to the port. The shuttle picked us up within a decent amount of time ,took us to the hotel and we were checked in quickly and politely.I found the room to be neat ,clean and beds quite comfortable . We then took a taxi arranged for us by the front desk staff down to Los Olas Blvd and had a wonderful supper at the Cheescake factory .The transportation service gave me the option of paying for one way or a return trip ,so I chose the return trip too.After a wonderful supper we got to walk around a bit and sit down by the canal and admire the beautiful boats going past.The only problem was getting back to the hotel because after I called for a pick up I believe the service forgot me but after a second call we had a van there pronto.We got a good nights sleep and the next morning enjoyed a free breakfast ,not the greatest but edible and the price (free)was right . The shuttle to the ship was not free as I had been told by my agent but it was not expensive and it got us there quickly.Embarkation was a bit of a mess because there was a shortage of customs agents to check in the disembarked guests ,so the resultant chaos meant going in one line then shifted to another .It was also a bit disheartening to have to wait for all the VIP guests to go through security first.
We were checked in then had to wait until our group number was called and I must say there was a shortage of seats in the area .It didn't take overly long to get on the ship and I think the chaos was a result of the shortage of officers to process the disembarked guests.Once on board we went straight to shore tours to book the behind the fun tour -the same one we enjoyed last year on Liberty .It was just a fascinating as last year and I highly recommend it.Our cabin 1035 on the Panorama deck was a balcony cabin and it was the usual configuration with one exception -a super stateroom attendant named Javier from Costa Rica. He came by ,introduced himself and showed us how to call him and he urged us to call him for service . Although we didn't bother him ,I have a feeling he would have given us the moon if we asked. At the end of the cruise we left a special thank you just for him. I hope on future cruises we get stateroom attendants just like Javier.Likewise I highly recommend a balcony cabin ,a luxury I will have whenever possible on future cruises. We dined most of the time at the Lido buffet ,with only one visit to the dining room and one visit to the steakhouse.The dining room was wonderful and the service just as good ,it is just that my daughter and I like to dress casual and dine at our own speed and that is why we didn't go to the dining room more than once.We also indulged in the steakhouse alas only once because of the dress code ,but I had the best steak I have ever had in my life.
I did try to talk my daughter into going back to the steakhouse but she is more averse to dressing up than I am .
We went to all the shows in the Victoriana Lounge and enjoyed all of them especially the Beatles tribute which we saw twice .It pays to get there early to get a good seat .
We also went to the adult comedy a few times and keeping in mind it can be pretty raw ,we enjoyed the humor although it is not for everyone.
We did not use the spa services onboard or the casino so I cannot comment on those places. We also participated in several trivia contests and a digital scavenger hunt . Mistee the Assistant cruise director ran the scavenger hunt and it was a blast . We really liked her too.Disembarkation came too fast and due to Naval activity in Fort Lauderdale we were shunted to a smaller terminal . They asked if the able bodied could bring off their own bags and we did that . It was actually nice not to have to put bags out the night before ,take my time packing and enjoy the ship instead .We got the shuttle to the airport and had a looong wait for our flight . We got breakfast at the Chili's ,sat on their concourse patio and killed time playing spot the label (Vuitton,Coach,Gucci,Prada etc ). It was a great trip and an appropriate celebration of my daughter's graduation with her nursing degree.