Arrived at the terminal at 11:00 AM and it was easy as can be. Dropped luggage at the tent, parked our car within steps of the tent, went in and NO LINES for Suite Guests. It took about 20 minutes at best to go through the process and hop on the first bus to the ship (1 minute ride. Like everyone has stated in other reviews, the tent and location of the terminal is kind of dreary BUT that is the ONLY negative....if it is really a negative at all. Getting to the terminal is VERY easy coming from Staten Island Bayonne Bridge on 440. Took Minutes only.
Went on Board and first went to the Windjammer on Deck 11. Had a quick bite, food was good and plentiful and then walked around and explored the EXPLORER. So may things to do and not enough time to do it BUT was impressed. This was our second cruise we have gone on. The first was last October on Radiance of The Seas out of Tampa to Mexico which was GREAT also.
Went to our room at 1:30 and it was all ready and our luggage arrived within a few minutes after seeing the room. We again stayed in the "Owners Suite" Room 1592 on Deck 10 in Center and loved it. Stayed in the Owners suite on Radiance and loved that also.
We unpacked and I then explored some more. The ship was beautiful and NOT run down as others described. I am a clean freak and love nice surroundings and this ship had what I like. I think others are way to picky and forget that this is a ship that 1,000's use everyday and they NEVER stop going from one cruise to another. Was the ship PERFECT?...No but VERY acceptable to me.
We did Any-Time Dining which I love because you can go before 6:00 PM and avoid any crowds and avoid waiting. The service is GREAT because there are very few people in the Dining room besides some anytime dining guest. Once the Hostess who seats you and the waiters get to know you better you can get the same table no matter what time you decide to come. At least that was the case with us. Table for 2 on the railing of Deck 5(Third Tier) and very romantic each night. Great views of the 3 levels and it seemed more private than being surrounded by tables all around you.
Went to all the shows. Ice show was spectacular along with Love and Marriage. Those 2 were the BEST and entertaining. The other shows were good but we left during 2 of the singing/dancing ones because we were a little bored and tired from long days doing things. Bingo was expensive but fun. We one $250.00 one day. My Fiance(We got engaged on the ship the second night at dinner I proposed with the help of The Staff and photographer and had a 2'x4' vinyl sign made prior to trip asking "Will you Marry Me" Yes or Yes? Didn't give her much of a choice to choose from and she said YES & YES.
Casino was fun and my better half won $238.00 at Blackjack one night. It never seemed crowded no matter where we were on the ship and the wait for elevators never lasted more and a minute at best. Only time was when a show ended and Many people left at the same time. BUT that is anywhere you would go on any place on land or sea.
We had breakfast in Bed one day and room service and the food was GREAT and right on time. They called the night before to confirm and then called when they were on their way to deliver the food. Everywhere we went the staff treated us like Royalty, not knowing whether we were in a suite or smaller room.
It was nice that they had a separate area for Suite Guests at the pool and that we didn't need to sign for towels. There was plenty of room to get a lounge chair and it was right in front of the stage to see the pool events and shows. Radiance of the Seas didn't provide that extra perk.
The Gym was very nice and plenty of machines and weights to go around. I had a massage one day and it was great at the Spa. Very relaxing and clean area.
Bermuda was great and we tried Para-sailing for 2 and was exciting and right at the Dock where we were, Went to Horseshoe Beach the next day and that was beautiful and crowded but the sand was so perfect with clean warm water. Only about a 20 minute taxi ride from the Ship. We CAME BACK TO THE SHIP EACH DAY BY 2:00 pm AND WENT TO THE POOL EACH DAY. It was nice and empty since most people decide to stay on land it seemed we had the place to ourselves. LOVED That alot and would recommend that to people who go for the cruise more than the Port. I like the Ports BUT the main purpose of the vacation was to enjoy the feeling of being on the Ship
Embarking in New Jersey was even easier and quicker than arriving. We got off the ship at 8:40 AM and had our luggage in the car by 9:05 AM. We got home to Long Island by 10:30 AM and where very relaxed and Happy the way it all went.
I would definitely go on another cruise and next we will either go on The Freedom Class or Oasis Class for our next cruise in 2012. Other cruisers on Board suggested we go for the oasis or Allure. They were all on them and LOVED It.
Can't wait to do this again soon.
Try and remember with anything, LIFE is what YOU make of it. Others expect to much and are disappointed. We both expect little and receive so much that it is always appreciated and enjoyable.