A pleasant surprise
OK, I will admit that I was very skeptical about this cruise. After cruising most major lines over 14 times I have seen the best and worst that you can get and for a 2-day cruise I was wondering just how good can they make this. Well, to my utter surprise this was a fantastic short cruise!!!
First of I want to say to veteran cruisers, don't expect the type of boat that is our there now, think more 15-years ago and the boats then. This is an older ship, but very well maintained. There are no balcony rooms, but you do have a great deal of ocean view cabins with a nice large window. You will not find the wood flooring around the ship, but instead everything is covered in a high traffic carpeting on the outer decks. A cheaper way to go rather than refitting the entire outer desk with wood flooring. It gives a good grip, but does get a bit sloshy in areas when wet, especially if it rains.
We had an absolutely great time taking this cruise. It was a nice short break before the northern winter sets in and for the price you can't beat it!
As stated, overall the boat is nice and well maintained. Yes, it is an older ship, but room experience they have kept up on ensuring that all areas are clean and there is very good signage for getting around the ship. Pretty much everything is located by traveling port side of the ship on either floors 3 and 4 for restaurants, casino and theatre and with the gift shop, spa and lounge on 6. There was a nice setup on deck 9 for the pool side bars (two adjacent from each other) with very large cushioned seating up both sides of the ship's deck. Very accommodating and comfortable. We never had to look very hard for a place to sit and all the staff was friendly and helpful across the entire ship.
The main glass elevators are extremely slow. I mean you can walk from deck 3 -â€“ 9 and beat the elevator by a good 5-minutes. If you need the elevator use the smaller ones around the ship and to the left of the main glass elevators. These are much faster, though they are extremely small (fit about 4 adults only!).
Another note, as sated this is an older ship, so you will notice much more sway and flow. It does not seem that the boat is equipped with the same type of stabilization systems on more modern and larger ships. For those with sea legs this should not be an issue, but many people are not ready for this and think they are in rough seas when actually it is perfectly normal ebb and flow.
As stated you do not have any balcony cabins, but we opted for an ocean view room, which was of a good size. Be careful not to go with the real cheep cabins, they are super small!! It is well worth the few extra dollars for the comfort and not having to feel claustrophobic. The cabins were kept very clean and everything was in working order. A few minor finish details in the room were missing such as the top part of our faucet. This is more cosmetic and did not cause any issues with functionality. I would say that you will have no issue with trying to get your room cool with the air-conditioning. One gripe I have always had with cruise ships is that the cabins air never gets cool enough for me. This is not the case on this ship!! The room was freezing!! Even when we turned this all the way down it was still very cold. This is not a bad thing, just something to be attentive to, bring a light sweater.
Overall we found the food to be very good. This surprised me a bit as I found the food to be one of the better on the cruises we have taken.
There was a signer one evening that was OK. Was good for the first song or two, but then was just watching a woman sing cover songs, some good and some just plain should not have been attempted. The second show was a magic act and a comedian/theatrical show (El Gaucho). This was a lot of fun and my wife and I were actually called on stage to be part of the magic show, which was fun. We have seen El Gaucho before and he is very entertaining and funny.
As we were only there for the day we decided to go to the beach. We did not do the shore excursions from the boat as they charge $35.00 a person for a beach day, when we simply took a taxi van for $5.00 a person to the same beach (Lacaya beach). Make sure you take the taxi vans as they are only $5.00 per person where as the regular taxi will charge $30.00 on way. The $5.00 per person is ($10 round trip) and with one taxi group, they will give you a round trip pass. The public beach access is a short walk around the police station and there is a bar and food available as well as people walking the beach selling water and beer. There are also your typical beach sellers selling jewelry, t-shirts, conch shells, etc. Good for a quick souvenir and you can bargain the price down within reason. For example there was one guy selling t-shirts for $10.00. I was able to get 2 for $10.00 with a little friendly banter. DON'T buy the conch shells, you can't bring them back on the ship!! I see a lot of people buy these and then lose them when getting back on board the ship.
There is not a lot of good shopping here in Freeport as you see in Nassau, but a few outside shops. Unlike the Straw Market in Nassau you will not be able to haggle prices here. There are some good eats if you take a look at all the restaurant menus.
Overall this is well worth the price and a pleasant surprise. If you want a quick getaway this is perfect!