We are a family of seven - four adults and three children. This group had only two seasoned cruisers. As Hurricane Irene made its' way up the Atlantic coast, the decision to go or opt out taking our 75% future cruise credit or give it shot. Well, we gave it a shot and the following is an accounting of this trip.
Embarkation - Getting to the unloading area was slow. But, once there everything went smoothly. We quickly moved through the screening process and were directed to the "Diamond" line and obtaining our sea pass cards also was quick. A never really stopping line hit with only one delay. They ran out of wrist bands for the children and we were informed that they would be available at our muster drill. On the bus, on the ship, and off to the Windjammer with no problems.
Cabins - We had two D1 cabins separated by two Jr. Suites on the stern. The cabins were spacious (a bit crowded when the sofa bed was open) and the balconies served us well. If I had to do it again I would take two connecting cabins. The accommodations were clean and in good repair.
Food - We ate in the Windjammer every breakfast and lunch. We sought out choices before picking our meals and found something to our satisfaction every time. The dinner meals were ranged from good to excellent. The kids always had something they liked.
Service - Both rooms had exceptional cabin service. The Windjammer staff did a very good job. We were on My Time Dinning but we ended up at the same time and table every night. The table service there met with the best we've ever had. I was apprehensive about the "pre paid" gratuities but the service could not have been better. (Of course, we added something extra to both the room steward and wait service envelops.)
Front Desk Personnel - These people did a marvelous job. One in our party had a tree fall on their house and had to make several calls to handle the problem. The front desk allowed and encouraged him to use the ship's phone for free to address the issues at home. I say thank you, thank you, and thank you.
The Ice Show - For obvious reasons the day one shows were cancelled. There was an extra show put in on the last sea day. Nice job by RCI on a really spectacular show. This was one of those do not miss events.
Kids Program - Was limited but enjoyed by 8 and 6 year olds. The 4 year old was not excited by the program.
The Kiddy Pool - This was NEVER opened. Even on day one before hitting the rough seas. This was a really big disappointment to the little kids.
Debarkation - This went very smoothly.
The really rough seas and high winds put a real damper on day two. However, the ship handled it well. The Captain kept us well informed.
First let me say, I am not a big fan of short cruises. We had no choice since we were taking our three grand kids after camp ended and before school started. If possible I would always opt for a longer cruise. But, in spite of the rough seas and disaster at home with Irene, we did enjoy ourselves. For my son, daughter-in-law and the kids, who were on their first cruise, things would most likely be better on their next one.