This review is for first-time cruisers to this ship or to cruising.
Starting out: Our family of four (children 7 and 4) took this cruise in August 2011. We flew from Detroit to Florida and boarded same day. The wait was probably 1.5 hours, but we expected that so we brought donuts from the airport for the kids. Once on board, we had lunch right away, walked around a bit and went to our room to find our bags there. Our room steward was helpful and efficient. The beds for the kids lifted out of the ceiling and were locked during the day.
Food and Services: The phone line to make a wake-up call took a few tries most of the time. The shows were entertaining - more than expected. We liked the sushi bar and the seafood dining on deck ten above the lido. We booked the steak restaurant, but then had to cancel and there was no issue with that. Our children enjoyed the kids club everyday - we never had to sell it too hard. The kids staff looked pretty tired at 10pm when regular hours closed. The rule is that if you're on the ship for lunch, you take your kids to lunch, which is fair. The cruise director pushed the onboard photo ops, spa, the jewelry and the art real hard - could have done with a bit less of that. Lots of activities - something for everyone.
Excursions: The two of us went to all three ports of call without the kids.
Key West: We simply walked around for free (no trolley), went to a bar and visited some shops - just took it easy.
Grand Cayman: We book land and sea through the ship and we were happy with it and to be with out cruisers. Yes, you can book many excursions at port that are cheaper and some are shorter without a guarantee - we didn't want to risk a "get what you pay for" situation. Cayman was lovely and laid back.
Jamaica: We took an inexpensive trip to mystic mountain up the cable car, swmimming at the top and had no trouble. If you go on the street, they'll bug tourists, but you can go straight back to the ship and avoid all that.
Everglade Tour: We had a late flight so we went on an air boat and saw an alligator show - kids loved it.
Attire: Dress was beach wear during the day obviously and at night it ranged from casual to dressy (more casual than I expected). There were two dressup nights and the first seemed dressier than the second. For the ladies, if you have a few cocktail dresses and some high sandals, you're good to go.
Guests: Most people were friendly and just minding their own business wanting to have a good time. There were lots of family groups/reunions. Some people were loud, rude, obnoxious and self-absorbed. The line-up for the info desk wasn't clear and people often budded in. The complaints I heard on the ship and read on review sites seemed like people were being a little or a lot picky. Of-course it was busy with long lines, but there were ways around that if you played it smart. Staff did a good job and were friendly to us, but guests were not always friendly to them. Some of the guests could have used a dose of humble pie/treat thy neighbour...
Doctor doctor: My son had a bee sting on the bottom of his foot from the giant chess set. I bought some benedryl liquid from the medic centre and was able to talk to the doctor about dosage (during his supper no less) without any fee.
A few tips: Water bottles are helpful to bring drinks back to the room. Bring goggles for the pools that are all salt water. Don't expect to do any lap swimming; they'll really cooling pools, not swimming. Like most reviews, the pools were small for the size of ship, but okay. The one covered pool on deck 12 is actually for tots and babies although it was not clearly marked. Bring athletic shoes for the onboard walking/running track, gym and excursions. You pay for yoga - okay, but not worth it in my opinion.