Embarkation day in Miami was smooth and quick. Online check in helped I believe. I arrived plenty of time before my room was ready. Ended at the top deck for some sun and food. Typical lunch buffet,nothing much to report there.
I chose the EPIC this time for the single stateroom. Now that was a little cute abode for the week. My steward was wonderful and kept everything nice and neat. Hairdryer was present. There was coffee or tea or hot chocolate in the living room if you so want. Big screen TV also , so you can have a private quiet time there after too much people during the day. The people staying in the studios had a separate living room area where Meghan helped the single folks meet and mingle. She also made arrangements for some entertainment for us. No pressure with staying with the group or not.
I loved the stay in the stateroom, it was plenty enough room for one, I think everything you need within reach. The colorful lighting sometimes was too much but can be changed.The bed were relaxing.Plenty of pillows for me!Had fresh ice water twice a day. Hot cocoa at night. I am spoiled.
Entertainment: The plunge and the rock climbing area was very good. Yes the pool is good for wading not really for swimming. There were a few hot tubs you can relax in. There were not much kids on board or if there were they probably were somewhere else with Nickelodeon. Maybe the timing of my cruise or the places I went to were not for kids but the atmosphere were more for adults. Lots of chairs for sunning at the decks and relaxing. Lots of offers for drinks. Spent a lot of time at the howling at the moon. The dueling pianists were excellent and kept the audience well entertained. Saw the Blue Man Group as well as the Cirque show.They were very good. Oh and BTW the fitness room and spa is huge. Plenty of room to exercise and a few classes was optional.
My spa day was relaxing.I did not go to the casinos because of the smoking area plus I am not a gambler. Spent my money on the howling moon and drinks and excursions instead. It was too smoky, the set up was weird. The ship itself is a destination, plenty of stuff to do. Most of the crew were very nice and polite.
Shore excursions: Stayed with the tours from the ship which were reasonable. I finally got to swim with the Dolphins in Roatan. I highly recommend that experience. Oh after the swim with the dolphins we were brought to a resort where there were free food and drinks. Plus you can get a $20 hour massage from one of the locals. Now that was worth it.The Mayan ruins was thankfully good and confirmed that its not the end of the world. I joined a cooking class at the end of the cruise in Cozumel. After eating the Mexican food we cooked, lots of free drinks we were able to relax by the beach and sun. Of course a chance for souvenir shopping at Cozumel.
Freestyle Dining: This is the first time I have had to decide when and where we eat, main dining room or not, room service or not. You can make reservations for the specialty restaurants anytime. Plenty of Food. Took advantage of Le Bistro a few times. Love those escargots, service was excellent. Otherwise I spent my food times at the buffet or MDR. I did read here that there were not a lot of seating during peak times, but I thought that there were enough seats and one can always share with some folks.
What I loved best from this cruise is the direct to airline check in baggage handling on departure. Left my bags out of my stateroom the night before and the next time I saw them was when I got off from the plane at home. Love that online check in. I hope they have them in all the ships. I would take advantage of that. It cut down on the stress and baggage the morning of disembarkation. I was able to take my time and leisurely have breakfast and wait for time we were allowed off. Lines were not as long and I was out the ship in 20 minutes.
Overall experience with the cruise line was excellent. I am going again in a few weeks to The Baltics, this time on the SUN. I know its not as EPIC but the itinerary was great. I do love the freestyle cruising. I will miss the studio staterooms but I think the company is thinking of doing more in the future.