Embarkation: We got to the port around 10:20. After doing all the paperwork (I still can't figure out why the Funpass online check-in is used because no one asked for it or wanted to see it!), we picked up our sign & sail cards and then waited until 12:00 in a port lounge. Everything was very organized and ran very smoothly. We were in the first group allowed on the boat and were allowed to put our carry-on bags in the cabin. They asked that we not stay in the cabin until 1:00 so that the stewards could finish up. Lunch was served at Rosie's (Lido deck buffet).
Overall ship: The decor in the lobby areas is Vegas-like gaudy. But most of the lounges were more sedate. The ship's layout was a little confusing, which sometimes led to going up and down stairs to get around places where you couldn't go all the way through.
Cabins: We had a cat 8b, balcony room which was on deck 7. The room is designed very well, with lots of storage and very tastefully done in deep corals. We heard absolutely nothing from any of the public areas and we didn't even hear our neighbors. Some people on deck 6 complained of hearing the disco beat until 2:00 a.m. in their rooms. There are no clocks in the room, so bring a travel one. There is only one plug in the room (by the vanity). This was an issue for us because my husband has a CPAP machine to help him breathe at night. The ship's electrician did bring us a extension cord to solve this problem. Our steward, Cecil, quickly learned our schedule and we very rarely saw him. But our room was always immaculate. At night it was fun to come back to the room to see what cute little towel animal he had left us. We felt truly pampered.
Dining: The dining rooms were the Washington and Lincoln, both done in similar decor (bubble gum pink). The major difference was the seating times. The Washington had 6:00 and 8:00 seatings, while the Lincoln had 6:30 and 8:30 seatings. We had the 8:30 and it was too late, both in waiting time until dinner, and it made it very rushed in order to get to the shows. The food was good, though a little bland for my taste. Our waiter the first couple of nights seemed overwhelmed and nervous. The assistant waiter never seemed to be around. There should really be three waiters so while one is taking orders another would be busing the tables and the third would running for the additional things needed at the table.
We had some particular issues also with our table. There were 17 of us, 8 couples and 1 single. We had requested an 8 person table and a 10, instead we got two nine person tables. One of the members of our group has severe food allergies. She discussed this with the waiter beforehand. The first night they managed to get some of the courses right but the second night not one single thing was brought out right, so she was unable to eat. The floor captain came and things were straightened out after that. The other issue was that one person was unable to get his steak (very well done) right. He had to send it back several times, and when you sent something back it seemed to take a long time. Even on the last night they did not cook his prime rib right. We were on the upper level in the dining room and were virtually ignored by the maitre d'. They also had the waiters sing and dance which would have been fine once or twice but got very old by the 7th night, and also held up dessert and coffee so that we could get to the shows on time.
Rosie's buffet on the Lido deck was great, good salad bar, wide variety of entrees and desserts. Near the pool there was a grill (best hamburgers ever!). They also had grilled chicken and hot dogs, as well as deli, Chinese and a "pick your own ingredients" stir-fry station (my husband's favorite). One night we went to the reservations only supper club, Scarlett's. There is a $25 per person charge, but it was worth every penny. The service was impeccable. The food magnificently prepared and the presentations were works of art. It was truly a wonderful experience. Make your reservations as soon as you get on board to ensure you can get in the time and day you want.
Staff: The staff was very friendly and helpful. The bar waiters were attentive without being pests. The shops were very nice. Several days they had extra things. "One day only" sales, etc. They had gold by the inch and beautiful amber jewelry another day. Theresa in the gift shop was especially helpful and went the extra mile to help me.
Outside areas: The pool area was very nice but very crowded, On the "at sea" days we were unable to get lounge chairs even at 8:00 a.m., they were already "reserved" by towels, books, etc. We ended up on deck 11, which was very windy. There was a live band by the pool which was loud but it was nice to have the music.
Entertainment: The Vegas Show the first formal night was fantastic. The comedians (3 different ones) were great. We also had a juggler/comedian (fantastic!) and a hypnotist, this turned out to be one of the funniest shows of the cruise. The second big show (2nd formal night) I didn't think was as good but it was still entertaining.
Excursions: We took an excursion in each port. In Belize we did the cave tubing -- it was a phenomenal experience , not to be missed! We spent the day in the Parrot Tree Resort in Roatan, beautiful beach, with lounge chairs and tiki huts, complimentary kayaks, volleyball courts and the bar to get sodas or drinks. The whole day was relaxing and wonderful. In Grand Cayman we took the kayaking tour (great!!!) and in Cozumel we went to Tulum. If you like history and culture this is the trip for you. It was a 7 hour tour, but since you are in port from 11-11 we still had time to shop. We chose to stay at the shops right at the port. All the main downtown shops have locations at the pier.
Overall we had a great time and maybe I am being a little picky on some of the items, but when you are spending good money on a vacation you want to have the best experience possible. This was our seventh cruise. As with any vacation, it is what you make of it. We had a lot of fun and didn't let the little things get to us.