Embarkation was quick and easy. We arrived in Baltimore just before 1, and were able to get on board with virtually no waiting. Went up to the Lido deck for lunch, and while waiting for our cabin to be ready, stopped at the dining room to change our dinner time. This was easy and quick, again no lines, and the maitre d' was very pleasant and efficient. Got to our room around 3 pm; our room stewart Angel was there to greet us, but unfortunately our luggage was not delivered promptly, and didn't arrive until after dinner. Angel did a great job of taking care of our room all week, though.
Our first day at sea was extremely windy, with high seas. Most of the pools and hot tubs were closed, and it was very difficult to walk around the ship. The captain clearly did not deploy the stabilizers. I know that they do cut down on fuel efficiency, but felt they should have been used in this situation. Quite a few passengers were seasick. Fortunately, conditions improved by dinnertime, and after that evening, things went much more smoothly.
It was interesting to compare this September trip with our July cruise to the Bahamas. Very few kids this time, so we were actually able to use the pools and hot tubs! We still were unable to get a lounge on the Serenity deck, though. People arrive very early in the morning and hog them all day.
Tuesday night we had dinner at David's Steakhouse. The meal was delicious and beautifully presented. For breakfast we generally went to the omelet station in the Mermaid Grill -- sometimes the lines were a bit long, but the freshly-prepared eggs were a big improvement over the pre-cooked ones in the buffet. We usually had lunch in the grill as well; some of the buffet lines were long, but if you don't go when the buffet first opens, you can usually get your meal without too much of a wait. For dinner, we decided to try "anytime" dining for the first time, and liked it very much. Again, don't go when the dining room first opens and you won't have to wait in line. Dining room staff was very efficient. Several times we were in a bit of a hurry, and they always brought our meals very promptly.
Our days in Bermuda were hot and sunny, and we really enjoyed spending 2 overnights in the port. In the future I will definitely look for cruises that have overnight stays. We had time to visit beaches and the city of Hamilton, but unfortunately didn't get to St. George because the ferries don't run very frequently. Wish we'd known that in advance, so we could have managed our time more efficiently. None of the shore excursions sounded very interesting, so we didn't sign up for any -- maybe we should have!
Entertainment on the ship is very good. We really enjoyed Ron Joseph's Motown show, very entertaining. The Pride Showband also did a Motown night in the Starry Nights bar, and vocalist Kelsey really got the crowd up and dancing. On our last Pride cruise I complained that there wasn't enough of an opportunity to dance -- maybe somebody listened! We also attended some Karaoke and Superstar Live just to hear the band, even though I'm not a big karaoke fan. The stage shows are a bit dated but very well performed by the singers and dancers. Loved comedian Percy Crews, didn't see any of the other comics. Watched the Legends show on Saturday night; if you enjoy seeing your fellow guests get as wacky as they can be, you'll enjoy this. Most of them were not wonderful singers, though, and personally I prefer watching the professionals. Although seeing cruise director Brent as Dolly Parton was pretty funny!
We used the spa several times; Daniella gave me one of the best massages I've ever had -- very relaxing and enjoyable. Went to the gym a few times, and everything there is in good shape.
Without exception, the crew on this ship is wonderful. We make a point of talking to as many of them as possible, and were always greeted with a smile, and often by name. Some of them even remembered us from our last cruise.
Debarkation went smoothly. We were one of the last groups scheduled to depart, so we took our time with breakfast in the Grill and relaxed by the pool for a while. We were off the ship by 11.