This was our first ever cruise so we got some tips from my parents who have been on quite a few cruises and from reading the stuff here. My wife and I just wanted to get away without the kids so my parents watched our 4 children for the week and we left Saturday night and stayed at a Fairfield Inn in Avenel NJ. We tried to go to Cape Liberty Sat night just to see how to get there but our Gps took us on a tour of Bayonne. We did find the dock after driving around so we had no problem on Sunday am finding the terminal. We got to the terminal shortly after 11am (even though out printout said to board at 2) We unloaded our luggage and i parked the car (133 bucks) and we checked in the Concierge Class line which was empty and then filled out health forms and did the on board credit card account and went through the pictures and then into the holding area for 10 minutes or so. We then got on shuttle bus to go to ship. On the ship and up to 10 for buffet lunch.
We got into our cabins around 1 or 130. We had a bottle of bubbly waiting for us, flowers in the room, robes, and a great view of the NYC skyline and Statue of Liberty. Also view of the man on the refueling barge with no shirt and plumbers crack. We went up to deck 11 to watch us sail away.
Food was good at buffet/pool. Food above grade in MDR our waiter and assistant (Moreno and Omar) were awesome. Ate a Normandie the last night and it was very good. Breakfast was great at the buffet but the potato selection was terrible (no taste and either overcooked or undercooked). We were not sure about eating with other people as both of us are introverted until we get to know people. Our table was great and we made new friends with our table-mates. we sat and talked and we were always the last table in the MDR to leave. Even the last night we ate at normandie (at 8) our MDR was 830 so we got done and went to MDR to spend the last night with our table. So give it a shot. The ship did a good job of matching us up. Did get some desserts at Cova Cafe on 5. They were good. Sushi at buffet at 530pm is good too. But dinner at buffet was the same every night (at least change up the Indian food).
Plenty to do on ship. Went to a few of the astronomers lectures. One of the engineers gave a presentation on ships propulsion and power. I took a tour of the bridge. (i am a nerd). We went to see 2 shows and they were very good. The music overall was good. The pool was too cold for me. We pretty much just relaxed which was good. The trip out we had 1 rough day and on the way home 1 rough day. I do get sea sick but I did alright. (wife spent 2 days pretty much in bed but due to being pregnant and the rough seas didn't help). Although she did not go to dinner with me the one night the Maitre de sent her a room service meal which was very nice. Got the classic non alc package not sure if we broke even or not but nice and convenient to be able to get soda.
Ship seems to be in good shape for a older ship. Room decor a little outdated but still clean and safe. bed wasn't the most comfortable but so tired it didnt matter. Only big complaint is too large of a smoking area at pool. the whole left side seemed to be smoking so we tried to avoid that side. but with the wind you could catch a whiff of smoke. Maybe they could make it smaller area or something.
The staff on the ship was great. Our cabin steward was awesome and took great care of us. The staff overall was very happy and accommodating.
We had been to Bermuda 12 years ago so we really just wanted to go at our own pace. We bought a transport pass (28 bucks for 3 days) so day 1 we went to Hamilton via bus and then got bus to Swizzle Inn for a swizzle and conch fritters. Then walked to Crystal Caves (amazing) then bus back to Hamilton to get bus back to ship. We had a 7pm glass bottom pirate sunset cruise. only 16 people on it and we went to the shipwreck Vixen and saw fish and a sunset. The captain and mate gave us a bunch of info about the island. Had dinner at Bone Fish in dockyard (good). Day 2 we did the shipwreck snorkel over the Montana and Constellation. that was cool. Had lunch on ship and then bus to Church Bay to snorkel some more (rented equip from guys on beach). bus back to ship for dinner. Day 3 bus to Gibbs Hill lighthouse.Then to Dockyard to shop and lunch at Frog and Onion (fish and chips yummy).
Ship pulled out at 430pm and Captain Costas let us go on helipad. then sailing home and docked at Liberty at 730ish.We were number 27 and set to get off at 940am. we got off at 930 and got luggage and went through customs and were in car at 1015am.
We would do this again and sail this ship again. We really were impressed by professionalism of staff and the maintenance of ship.