This 5 night cruise from Ft. Lauderdale was to "make a memory" and celebrate our son's graduation from college with our family, his girlfriend and the two grandmothers (ages 78 and 88). The 2 grandmothers were in a handicap accessible inside cabin (1325) which was the largest inside cabin I have ever seen! There was a full size sofa and easy chair in the sitting area and there was more than enough room for my mother-in-law's scooter to maneuver around in. Their bathroom was larger than my cabin! My cabin was two doors down and was a basic inside unit. While it was not as large as the handicapped cabin, it was comfortable and we had enough room to be able to move around easily.
Embarking in Port Everglades was easy and relatively fast. It took approximately 1 hour from our parking the car to sitting down in the Windjammer Cafe for lunch. This was our first time embarking from Ft. Lauderdale (previous cruises have been from Port Canaveral and Jacksonville) and I was somewhat surprised at how unmodern it was. That said, check in was organized with each deck having it's own check in area. Once checked in, and taking the usual "On-Board" photos" we were able to get an elevator easily and get to our cabins and then the Windjammer for lunch.
Our dining experience was par excellent! We had anytime dining but we usually went to the dining room between 6:15-6:30 each night. All 7 of us sat at the same table with the same wait staff. The staff were exceptional. I don't know how they can remember every one's name and beverage preference after just one seating but they did. The menu selections were varied and the food was well prepared. Our waiter always brought out extra servings for my sons as well as extra desserts for all of us! The food selections and preparation/taste on this cruise was 100% better than my previous experience on Freedom of the Seas in Dec 2010. We had breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer each day and the selections were fresh and varied as well.
The ports of call were Labadee, Haiti and Falmouth, Jamaica. We were pleasantly surprised with Labadee. It was much larger and nicer than what I was expecting. Our son did the Dragon Zip Line and loved it. Unfortunately the Dragon Coaster was not operating during our visit due to electricity problems. The beach was clean and there were plenty of lounge chairs both in the sun and in the shade. There were multiple pavilions with the barbecue lunch set up so there were really no long lines for any of it. Probably the only downside to Labadee was the Haitian vendors that were set up to sell their wares. We did buy a few things and were able to bargain down from the outrageous prices the vendors first asked for. Our next port was Falmouth, Jamaica. We had read some negative reviews of it and were somewhat sceptical but were pleasantly surprised here as well. While not all the shops were completed there were still more than enough to browse and spend money in! We did the excursion for High Tea at Good Hope House Plantation. The excursion included a walking tour of the main house and then tea with finger sandwiches, pastries and scones afterwards. It was a very enjoyable tour and one I would recommend for elderly travelers. One of the grandmothers uses a scooter for mobility and the bus and tour drivers were very accommodating and helpful in getting her on and off the vehicles.
The ship was very clean and the cabin hallways uncluttered with room service plates/trays. I used the fitness center, taking 3 indoor cycling/spinning classes. There were more than enough bikes though some of them were in disrepair and could not be used. The fitness staff were very friendly and helpful and I enjoyed the classes.
One of the new features on this cruise that we did not have last time was the ability to make reservations for entertainment on line prior to the cruise. This is a fantastic service! We had reservations for the ice show as well as the two musical shows in the main theatre. Our Sail Away pass were scanned upon entry into the venues. No waiting on lines or pushing to get into the theatre. GREAT service feature. As for the entertainment, we really enjoyed the Ice Show and the "In the Air" show. The Saturday Night Fever show I though was inappropriate content for the children in the theater and I didn't think the storyline or singing was that great, however the dancers were terrific.
All in all this was a very enjoyable cruise and I am already looking at where our next RCL cruise will be!