Well I have never done a review before so I figured I would try and let everyone know about this beauty of a trip.
We started off leaving Cleveland on Friday Feb 17th heading to Fort Lauderdale. We decided to leave the day before because we didn't want to take any chances of our plane being late and stressing about it.
We went and stayed at the Ramada Inn Airport hotel. They had a free airport pickup and a free shuttle to port. It was nice.....enough about that lets get the the ship.
We arrived at the port at around 1130am. The check in process was a piece of cake. We breezed right on and had no problems at all. They tell you not to be at the ship to 2pm for check in but we were on by 12noon at the latest. One thing I will tell you is that the rooms are not ready til around 1pm. So you have to lug around any luggage you bring on until your room is ready. We carried on some things and checked the rest. We did have a few water bottles in our bags that we carried on and they let us carry them on no problem.
Once on we found a place to eat at . We ate at Park Cafe because of all the reviews we had read and it was very good. I will go in further detail later on about the restaurants. Once done eating it was about 1pm so we went to our room and put everything away.
Now I wanted to try and sneak water bottles on because I was worried about the water on board. Do not worry . We drank the water all week and it tasted fine.
No problems at all.
Our room attendent was named Halstead and he was excellent. No complaints for him at all. He got us everything we needed. He worked really hard and kept our room very clean and made up. I asked for some ice on the first day and it was there every day from then on. EXCELLENT ROOM SERVICE
- We had a balcony room overlooking the ocean. AWESOME. Very roomy and like other reviews i read , the only thing I found wrong with the room is where the outlet is. Bring a extension cord if you have anything you need to plug in that can not sit close to the desk area.
- They had a variety of Beers on board for you to purchase . But they will offer a deal after the first day for a Beer cooler that you purchase for 39 dollars (that includes tip) for 8 16oz beers of either Budlight, Budweiser, or Micholob Ultra. After the first purchase you can refill it for 29 dollars ( that includes tip) for the rest of the cruise. This starts on Day 2. If you drink beer , I would recommend it because one beer is $6.04. I just bought the cooler and put it in my room. I would grab a beer when needed and go to whatever event i was going. I sometimes would carry a second one with me not opened and they would give me a cold one when I was ready for it.
- They offered a drink of the day every day and it was $6.25 plus 15% gratuity every day . You got to keep the cup as a souvenier.
- All drinks they put on 15 % gratuity on your order
- Some of the bars - DAZZLES AND SCHOONER BAR - offered 20percent drink specials on some nights. That will save you a little money
I will give you my opinion about the places we ate at. There were some places we did not try but we probably only ate at half of the places on board. I tried to go to all but it is hard when the ship is so big
Windjammer Buffet - This is located on Deck 16 and we only ate breakfast there one day and it was your normal buffet. They have food for all kinds of food lovers. The Lunch we only ate there one day. It was the same as breakfast . It has a bunch of food for all kinds of food lovers
Solarium - They have a healthier breakfast option there with turkey bacon, turkey sausage, sugar free syrup and lots of fruit. We ate up there on most mornings because of the food and because of the view. It is on the opposite end of the windjammer and it is nice and quiet up there as most people flock to the windjammer for breakfast.
They offer a dinner there for 20 per person which has healthier options for dinner but we did not do this
Opus dining room - This is the main eating place if you choose the main dining room. They offer breakfast there in the morning and we liked this as well. We went here once and really enjoyed it.
At dinner time this is where you eat. We went to the main dining room for dinner all nights except one. We loved everything about it .... No complaints about the food at all. Service was great and I know some people complain on how long it takes to do the dinner thing but we would show up at around 615pm and we were leaving at 7pm every day. Now we did have a table of 2 so that could be a big thing to.
Johnny Rockets - This is a 4.95 per person extra charge - We did this for dinner one night and it was good. It was good to have a good hamburger and fries one night. They have a great dessert there that is included. But if you want the milkshake it is extra. My opinion is if you really want a milkshake , then just go in there and get it on your own. You are so full after eating a dinner there it is hard to enjoy a milkshake after that. That is just my opinion.
They also serve breakfast here in the morning for free. I went there a couple of times and they have excellent potatoes with cheese and onions. AWESOME.
Park Cafe - This is located in Central Park and is open for breakfast and lunch. We did not eat breakfast there but we did eat lunch there on several days.
My wife would get a salad almost everyday and loved it. They have a nice salad they make for you. I loved the grilled panini's they had there. The roast beef was good and it was a nice quick quiet place to eat. It is located in Central Park.
Sorrentino's - This is the pizza place in the Royal Promenade. They have pizza there for that late night snack .. Pretty good
Cafe Promenade - This is open 24 hours. And the food was good to stop in and grab something if you were not that hungry. They have good cookies and had some good sandwiches as well
These are all the places we ate at. We did not try any of the specialty restaurants.
SHOWS AND ENTERTAINMENT ON SHIP
Zipline - This was fun . We did this on the first day of the cruise while we were still at port. We were told to go early because lines got long during the week. This is true. We did not have to wait at all and rode it 2 times in a row. The rest of the week when we walked by it looked like there was a line
Rockwall - We did this the first day as well. WE were the first ones on the wall for this cruise. We had a good time and it was a lot of fun. This looked pretty open the whole time without a long wait.
Carousel - They have a carousel on board but we did not use at all
Donut shop - did not try this because people said it was just ok. We figured we would save those calories for something else.
There is a lot of kids things to do on the ship. We have 6 kids but we did not take them with us because this was our 10 yr anniversary trip. We noticed a lot of the kids having fun but try to stay away from the kids things if we could
Flowrider - This is cool. This was busy all week long especially on sea days. They had 2 sides - Boogie board side and Stand up surfing side. We only tried the boogie board side and it was a blast. It looks like you can get hurt but it is very well padded and very easy to learn.
Mini Golf - This was just ok. Nothing to write home about.
They had a nice basketball court and ping pong table but we did not make it in there to play at all
They have a card room to play cards and play games. This is also where the computers are for internet use. I dont recommend a internet plan unless you have to be on for work. We just checked once a day to see how the kids were doing. We used 16 minutes for the 6 days we checked on the kids. They charge 65cent a minute for use. Rip off but they know they gotcha.
Oasis of Dreams - This is the aqua show. It was excellent. You can book this in advance online before going on vacation. It is a big area and what they do is scan your card and if you have a reservation for that show you can go in and get a seat. If you dont , you have to wait until 10 minutes before and then they let standby's in . If you dont get a reservation , there is plenty of room in the back to see and you will be fine.
Comedy Live - This was the weekly comedy show. It is the same show all week, so once you see it you are good. They dont bring in different comedians. This is 18 plus , so dont take your kids in. It wasn't horrible language but I would not take them in . This is a small venue and this is something that is very hard to get into on standby. So book in advance.
Come fly with me - This is an excellent show and this is held in the Opal theater. This is a big venue and you can book in advance but if you want to go standby it is very easy to get into.
Headliner show - I guess this changes weekly and this week is was ABBACADABRA and it was ok . I left early but i am not a ABBA fan.
Hairspray - This was a musical and was very good. We went to a afternoon show in the Opal theater. Another big venue and easy to get in on standby but you can reserve in advance.
Frozen in time - This is the ice skating show and was very good. This is a reservation in advance but we got in on standby but this is held in Studio B and it is a little smaller.
They did other shows that did not need reservation .
Love and Marriage - This is like the Newleywed Game and it very funny
Quest - Funny but we saw on previous cruise and knew what was coming
Battle of Sexes - Funny ....girls won this week....oh well
Throw me a line - this was a show on last night that was improv comedy and was very funny to watch them improv. They use audience members to help .
All the shows were great and we had a great time .
The ship is enormous and it is hard to realize that it holds 6000+ people and 2100 crew.......We did not feel crowded at all......
They do have specials on the last night of the cruise. Tshirts - all 10 dollar.
Watches - 20 dollar
Pool area was nice but we did not hang out that much because of all the kids. We have 6 at home so we did not want to see any more :) I think there was a lot of kids this week because of Holiday weekend.
Casino - This was nice. They have smoking and non smoking sides. Most tables are 5 dollar bets. But Blackjack was 10 dollar a hand. They did offer 6 dollar black jack during the day. They did several tournaments. One was 100 dollar for Texas holdem for chance to win a cruise. They held Blackjack tournaments every sea day for 20 dollar and they paid out cash. I took third in one of them. They had a slot tournament for 25 dollars. This was for a free cruise.
We did sign up for the meet and mingle through cruise critic and did attend. They gave away some cool prizes. I did not win any but some others did .
This ship did not feel like it was moving . My wife is not a big fan of cruising but she took bonine and ginger and never had a problem. I only felt the boat move once or twice the whole week.
Ports we went to were -
Labadee - Avg. We went to beach and swam in ocean and bought stuff from locals. They were very pushy
Falmouth. - Avg - We just walked around shops and then back on the boat
Cozumel - We took a taxi to paradise beach . It is 13dollars for up to 4 people. We went to this resort there. It was 2 dollar for a beach chair and then we paid 12 per person to use all the water toys that were set up in the ocean . Trampoline , slides, kayaks , snorkeling..... It was worth it. You dont have to purchase the 12dollar wrist band if you are not into it. They also have free internet there. They have a nice bar and pool to swim in if you are not a fan of the ocean. We ate lunch there and it was nice. WE came back and then just shopped at the local places and bought some soveniers.
I also bought a 6 pack of Dos Esquos for 7 dollar and tried to take back on the ship . It made it through, so i saved some money the last 2 days on beer.
Disembark - Easy . They have a program if you want to take your own luggage off. You line up at 615am and they let you off. We got in line at 615am. The line started moving at 630am and Iwas at airport at 7am.
Amy fickert was our cruise director and was awesome
I would recommend this ship to anyone. It was a lot of fun and I will be going back with my kids next time.
Also if you have any questions ask away and i will do my best to answer.