We booked the cruise Jan 2010, travelled with 22 family and friends. Flew into Miami two days prior, and stayed at the La Quinta (East) near the airport on La Jeune Road. The hotel accommodated all of our group, and check in went well. The price was more than reasonable and the rooms were adequately appointed with comfortable beds and the necessary amenities. They provided a free shuttle from the airport and also the cruise terminal. Arrangements were made with the shuttle service for a nominal fee of ten dollars per person, to pick us up at the cruise terminal and return us to the hotel or the airport. This all worked out quite well. The staff were friendly and the breakfast each day was plenty. Waffles/Hard boiled eggs/bagels/muffins/toast/yogurt/fruit/coffee/tea/juice etc.
The check-in at the cruise terminal went effortlessly, and were on board with-in approximately 45 minutes. Ship was at full capacity. Some waiting occurred in the main dining rooms, but received a beeper when a table was ready, the maximum wait was no more than 20 minutes. After all, we are on holidays some time is what we have lots of. The staff were friendly and professional, from the wait staff to the entertainers and room stewards. Any negative issues were so minor that they were not worth mentioning. This ship is showing a bit of wear in the carpeting in the cabins.
Overall the balcony suite we had was more than adequate. The balcony was small, but it worked. Two chairs and a small table. Great spot for reading,relaxing and listening to the waves. We received our suitcases before dinner, and at the end, we didn't have to be out of our rooms until 09:00, and off the ship at our designated time of 10:15. Lots of time for breakfast and not having to hurry. Our baggage was awaiting us, and since we were coming back to Canada, we just handed our Customs form over to the officer and we were on our way.
The cruise was a positive experience, and most of the ports were interesting. The only negative port for us was in Samana Dominican Republic. Our "rickshaw" motorcycle driver took us for a few photo ops, but mainly took us to his acquaintance's to shop for jewellery and paintings, and when we got back to the tender, he argued for more money. So we were all glad to get back on board. All other ports were great. The train ride we booked on board for 100 dollars each in St. Kitts was not worth the money. It was an hour bus ride to the train and a couple of hours on the train circling the island through mainly sugar cane fields with the coast off in the distance, through some small villages with children waving. At the break neck speed of 10 MPH. The train squealed so loudly that one could not hear the narrator speak about the island. The "ladies" dressed in their native costumes were great, and provided us with some of their songs. At the end it was back on the bus for a ride back to the ship. Free drinks and a sugar cane/coconut desert was provided. Just not worth the 200 dollars per couple. A bus/taxi tour would provide you with better views.
Overall a wonderful cruise with family and friends with lots of wonderful memories and photographs. Thank-you again Norwegian