We stayed in Ft. Lauderdale as it is close to the Miami Port and better suited to our travel style.A Go suttle from the Ft. Lauderdale airport is less than $25 per person and very convienent.
Embarkation was quick and smooth.Probably 1/2 hour until we were on the ship.As is the case, the first few hours is crazy as everyone is trying to explore the ship and to have lunch.
We got to our cabin early and the bags were delivered before we expected them.
They did take 2 bottles of wine from our bags which was returned after discussion with customer services(it must be carried on in your carry-on bag), but they did not take it from the other two groups travelling with us who had it in their bags.Luck of the draw!
Interesting developement with our room which was situated directly above the theatre,it was very noisey. We could hear all of the shows as if we were in the front seats. We called customer services who sent someone up who agreed, but indicated the ship was full so they could not move us.It is important to note,you have to call each time there is noise as they give you a credit based on how many times you call, even if they can do nothing about it.Each time someone has to come up and confirm the noise(seems foolish but those are the rules...)We called twice and were given a $100 credit and 15% off the next cruise based on two calls. Had I known I would have called every time(again very lame but they think the noise goes away if you do not call).They also practise in the afternoon so you get to hear each show a number of times.We tried to adjust our times in the cabin to be away during these periods.After 11:30 PM it is quiet.
The service was very good on ship, maybe a little slow in the dining room,but we were in no rush and had excellent table mates.The food was very good, better than we experience on Royal Caribbean in the fall.
The ship was clean and well cared for with great cabin service.
The casino provided a card after you reach 1500 points which got us free drinks while in the casino for the balance of the cruise.(Got it on day 3)
The ports were the best! We were looking forward to Aruba, but Curacao was the surprise,paradise. Now our favourite island.Be sure to visit the little village on La Romana(not sure of the name) but it was built as a resort 40 years ago and was constructed to look like something from the 1400's. All stone and very interesting now used for student artists and tourism now.
We generally do not use the cruise tours, but hire a driver to take us where we want to go. We find it cheaper and usually see things not on a tour.Make sure the driver speaks English and that the van is air conditioned.
All in all a good cruise with good food,good stops,good service,and a clean ship.Customer service desk is iffy, and they have some crazy rules(the call every time you have noise so they can send someone up to verify it even though they cannot do anything about it...and carry your wine in your carry-on luggage)
I would highly recommend this cruise, but watch were your cabin is if you do not plan to be out late each night(great for younger crowd).The Ports were the best.