ROOM: We had a balcony room on the spa level (deck 11). There is no balcony above it - only open air and an adults-only deck area. We had cigarette butts, crumbled pieces of paper, and sanitary napkins land on our deck from above. This completely ruined the balcony experience. Don't ask me how they got on our balcony; I'm just reporting the facts.
SPA: We went to the "Secrets of a Flatter Stomach" seminar. The spa / gym supervisor gave the presentation, and he "pulled numbers out of a hat" to get his points across. For instance, he commented that people spend the average person $600 a year on multivitamins. Really? The seminar lasted over an hour and was full of inaccurate information which he justified by stating that he had a biochemistry degree and many years of experience with personal training. So what!!! . Towards the end of the seminar, the supervisor started talking about detox and all of the various expensive products he wanted to sell us! I just did a pubmed search about detox diet, and the overwhelming majority stated that there is no scientific proof that these diets help get rid of toxins faster. Most people quicly regain any weight that they may have lost.ACTIVITIES: Out of many cruises that I've experienced, this one has the least amount of activities throughout the day. Plus, most of the available activities fell into three categories - "under maintenance", "overly crowded", or "extra charge". For instance, the slide was open for only two hours during the entire cruise, and the weather was fine for much more than those two hours. It was almost 100*F in New York on the first day. When I called about this, guest relations first assured me that the slide was open, so I volunteered to bring them a picture that it was not. Then they spoke to the pool staff who kept pushing the date of the slide opening by 2 hours…. so that it did not reopen. At other times, such as during the comedy show, cooking demonstration, etc, there was limited standing room available, unless one came very early. Example of one day's free activities (not including singers at various bars): 7:30 am sunrise stretch class, 9 am friend of Bill W/ Jimmy K, 1 pm Grease, the sing-along movie, 1 pm basketball free throw, 2 pm bean bag, 3 pm (mini golf), 7 big screen trivia, 7:45 gender showdown, 8:30 sixty seconds or less, 10 pm love and marriage show. Again, very few activities compared to other cruises especially since we're talking about 3,000 cruise passengers!
DINING: Disorganization to the fullest… I signed up for your time dining, expected your time dining, and checked in for the cruise… only to find out that I had inadvertently been switched to late seating. When I tried to correct this obvious mistake, I was told that I needed to go the Platinum Dining room to see the maitre'd. I got there, and there was a wedding in progress - no maitre'd in sight. By the time we found the Golden Dining Room, it was past 3 pm, and the maitre'd had checked out. Hence, our first dinner was spent at late dining. Luckily, the next day, we found Chabba, a maitre'd for the Golden Dining Room, who was able to sit us at your time dining. He's Hungarian from Budapest and very nice. Koszonom! Now back to the food… small portions. Bread, an appetizer, an entree, and dessert. Where are all of the extra in-between courses that most cruise ships offer?SUGGESTIONS ABOUT THE FUN TIMES ITINERARY:
1. Add a weather forecast to each day’s Fun Times itinerary.
2. Saint John's is one hour ahead of New York. If there is a times discrepancy, make it clear which times to use. Let me try to explain.
a. Fun Times had debarkation posted around 8:30 am. My watch (set to the New-York time zone) saw people debarking around 7:30 am.
b. Fun Times had all aboard at 5:30 pm. My watch (set to the New-York time zone) saw people coming on board up until 5:30 pm.
SHIP LAYOUT: If you’d like to cross the ship on a lower deck, you have to go through the smoke-filled, crowded casino on deck 5. There is no pass-through from aft to forward on decks 3, 4, etc. Basically you spend a lot of time around the casino.