Cast: 8 adults, 7 teens (between 13 & 19)
Embarkment: hired limo service to pick us all up, arrived at dock at 11:00, luggage picked up almost immediately and then went to check-in, also went smoothly except for the woman handing out group cards screaming at us to keep moving because we had stopped to wait for the rest of our party - it was kind of funny though. Boarded the ship, went to lunch and then a comedy took place. Both the travel agent and the representatives of the ship told us we could switch cabins once we came aboard (adults would be in the balcony cabins)and the kids would be right across the hall in the inside cabins) of course, they didn't tell you what a nightmare it would be with the keys!!!! We couldn't just switch keys because of the billing nightmares and the kids' keys, of course, were clipped off so they couldn't purchase alcohol. So once we figured out that only one person per room would have a key (what a pain), we went to lunch then explored the ship. It was beautiful and pretty easy to figure out once you knew where everything was. The elevators were a bit slow at busy times of the day so we usually took the stairs which turned out to be a good thing because it ended up being the only exercise I got. I had planned to use the exercise room but never did - oops! I did walk on the lido deck Sat. morning (1 mile) but never got there again.
Cabins: Loved our cabin, so happy we chose a balcony. Slept liked a baby, kept the slider opened at night when we were at sea so we could hear the ocean. Wonderful!!! The kids had no complaints either. Although, they would have slept all day in their dark cabins if we didn't wake them up. One morning around 8:00 a.m., one of our girls came stumbling out of her room in a fog, I happened to be in the hallway, all dressed up in her bathing suit and announced she was heading for the pool - when I told her no you're not, it's raining she turned around and I guess went to sleep for two more hours - LOL
Cabin steward - Rod, he was the BEST!!! Treated all of us like royalty. We will miss him. The youngest of our crew, my nephew (13), found out he liked fishing so he bought Rod a dolphin keychain in Bermuda, so cute. Rod was so shocked and thankful, something I will remember forever.
Crew: Just wonderful. Made friends with a few bartenders. What great, hard working people and always with a smile on their faces. They work their butts off, most 10 hours a day, everyday for 9 months and then they get to go home to their families for 3 months. No-one should ever complain about the $12 a day service charge. They deserve every bit of it and more. It was a pleasure to tip them extra and they really appreciated it. The only crew complaint I had was one of the gentlemen that worked at the onboard ship credit desk, he was not too pleasant to deal with. We asked mid-week for a printout of our account and you would have thought I told him he needed to paddle the ship all the way back to Boston. My request took him all of one minute to perform!!! He didn't have to be so miserable.
Food: the food in general was very good and liked the fact that you could eat when you wanted, especially with a large group going off in all different directions. Sometimes would eat with just my husband, other times would have a group of 6 or 7 with us. We did make it a point to have one dinner all together, made reservations at the Venizian (sp?) and had a wonderful meal and a lot of laughs. 6 of our party went to the Japanese restaurant and absolutely loved it and another 12 went to Moderno, very good as well except a couple of the kids wouldn't eat anything but the beef so they had a long wait between servings so they complained about that.
Entertainment: honestly, we really didn't participate much in the planned activities. We were always doing something else when the time came to do anything we were interested in. I guess we made up our own activities.
Pool: that was the only complaint - too small for the amount of people on the ship but had fun anyways. Kind of hard to get all of us chairs so we switched off - when some were in the pool, others would sun bath and vis-versa. Loved the live entertainment and the DJ as well as the barbeque. Had so much fun at the pool area during the days at sea!!!
Bermuda: Lovely island. Really disappointed in that Snorkle Park Beach - mostly because it was rocky and they charged us $10 pp to enter. It's usually $5 and sometimes it's free so they really were just taking advantage of the cruise ship passengers the first day in Bermuda. Full day in Bermuda was spent at Horseshoe Bay Beach. What can I say - I have been to a lot of different beaches, Aruba, different Florida beaches, Myrtle Beach, Maine, NH, RI, CT, NJ beaches, but nothing can compare to the beauty of that beach. Espcially when we first got there, arrived very early, were the first people there and it was unbelievable. Traveled by cab, charged us only $7 pp so it was worth the extra money rather than deal with the bus. Cab driver who took us to the beach was awesome, gave us a little tour of that part of the island, even took us up to the lighthouse before dropping us off. Ride back was a different story. Went up to a cab and the guy starts off by yelling at my husband to put on his shirt which he was planning on doing and then yells at my daughter for being wet, yeah, no kidding, we just left the beach. So she refuses to get in his cab so some of our party got in and he complained about Americans - to the Americans in his cab - the whole ride back - he really should find a different line of work the jerk. We got in another cab with a more pleasant driver. Last day in Bermuda was spent walking around the dock area in the pouring rain, which actually was fun.
Weather: Mostly sunny/partly cloudly the whole trip except our last morning in Bermuda - it cleared up later in the day and our last full day on the ship, it rained in the early morning.
We had a lot of laughs and now some inside jokes - like "washy, washy, happy, happy" and "it's bingo time - woo, hoo! Those of you who have taken this cruise knows exactly what I'm talking about. Can't wait to plan our next cruise but I also believe that it wouldn't be so much fun if we didn't have such a large party.