We have just returned from a very successful first cruise. From getting on the ship to getting off, everything was spot on.
We had port parking included (free) in our package. We parked up within 500 yards of the ship, left our luggage at the front of our car and walked on the ship. Checking-in was a breeze. From parking up to getting on the boat took no longer than half an hour. As we got on board we were told that our stateroom was ready. So we made our way straight there.
The ship has got the WOW factor. It is very big but very easy to get around. It is very clean and someone is alway cleaning or repairing.
There were 4 of us, 2 adults and 2 teenagers and we had an inside stateroom. A little on the cosy side. But for the amount of time we spent in it, it didn't matter. The bedding and towels were changed frequently and our room attendant could not have be any more helpful. We enjoyed coming back at night to see what towel animal had been left for us.
Food and Drink
If you wanted to eat 24 hours a day then you could have. We have a table in the King Lear My time dining room. Service and food were faultless. During the first week it was out daughters 18th birthday. We had ordered a cake and this was brought to the table by the head waiter and 3 other waiters and they sang happy birthday her. People on the surrounding tables clapped and wished her happy birthday. This was very special. We tried to eat in the main dining room every other night. We also eat in the Windjammer, this is a buffet style restaurant and could get very busy. We found it to be quietest in the evening just as it opened at 6:30pm. The food was very nice and there was lots of choice, but it did get a bit samey towards to end of the second week. We also eat a Johnny Rockets Diner (there is an extra charge of $4.95 per person (£3).
I have read in some reviews that people thought that alcoholic drinks were expensive but we tend to disagree. Cocktails worked out to be cheaper that a beer or a short. The average price of a cocktail was around $8, working that back into £'s worked out at about £5, similar to what you would pay at home. A bottle of wine was $31 (£19), what you would pay in a restaurant at home. Worked out on an exchange rate of $1.57 to the £.
The production shows were just as good as going to see a show on the west end. The Ice shows are a must see. Don't miss the Parades and Promenade shows. One evening there was a deck party, we stayed for a while but it did get windy and a little cold.
Pools, Fitness and Spa
As a treat for my daughters 18th I took her for a couples full body massage and a float. Price wise this was expensive but well worth it. My husband had a deep cleanse and shave in the Barbers on the Promenade. My husband also used the gym. We all used the pools and sunbeds and on most days did not have a problem getting a sunbed.
We booked 4 trips, to Rome, Pisa, Lisbon and Cadiz. Well organised if not sometimes a little rushed. The only port we decided to stay on board at was Toulon, France, we had not booked to trip but we found out the the ship docked away from the town and it would cost $15 per person for the shuttle. At Gibraltor you just have to get off the ship and there are white mini buses that will take you round the rock (25 euros each). Corisca is lovely, you just have to walk straight off the ship and then wander.
Could not keep my children away. They made loads of new friends, of which they are still in touch with via the powers of technology. They had loads of activities of there own, one was the flowrider which my son thoroughly enjoyed.
Overall this cruise was brilliant, not a moan to be had. The children keep asking when are we doing it again. The sooner the better for me.