Time Availability, and Budget all factored into my choosing this cruise, since I was already in West Palm for other travel. I did not want to be gone long, and the ship is brand new and from Italy, so I wanted to check it out. The ship did ... Read More
Time Availability, and Budget all factored into my choosing this cruise, since I was already in West Palm for other travel. I did not want to be gone long, and the ship is brand new and from Italy, so I wanted to check it out. The ship did not disappoint. Unlike the mega cruisers offered, it had quaint charm and beautifully decorated throughout. You walk into the atrium with a Murano type glass sculpture and a up looking view 9 decks above. It was spotless. In fact, I travel globally often, and have not seen such attention to cleanliness detail from a staff like this ship's in a long time. The elevator buttons glisten, the floors are polished, the rails are varnished every day, and the carpets, upholstery, curtains, tables in public areas all were as clean as my own living room at all times. The Elder Yellow dining room was really nice. Food was average. Salmon first night was great, others had beef which was overcooked and tough. Service was fantastic, exceptional staff, every attention to detail one would expect, and beyond for the price of this cruise.
Buffet: If you know Golden Corral restaurant, it is pretty much the same thing as far as quality and selection. No other way to describe it. Not bad, not good, just food. Soups were actually very good though. Seafood Gumbo and pepper pot very tasty. Breakfast had omelette station and what you would expect from Shoney's or Golden Corral. The area to eat at the buffet was nice both inside and out on the back deck of the ship. So food aside, the views were great, and service good as well. They have burgers, and hotdogs, fries, etc... outside as well. They were good.
The ship is not overly large, a pleasant adult pool with two aft hot tubs overlooking the stern was really nice when leaving port. You can sight see and Jacuzzi simultaneously. Hot tubs were very clean and well maintained, as was pool areas. The second pool is the "activity area" pool and kids enjoyed it, my son won two contests and got virgin bahama mama's.
So the other amenities are as follows:
My cruise had 600 booked guests aboard. It was half capacity, you can't fault the cruise line for non participation in the events they put together, so here it goes:
Casino was clean, smokefree, and what you would expect, nice new slot machines. Front room from there had awesome Latin band perform all night, they rocked. Front of ship crows nest nightclub was well decorated, had a modern dance floor with lights, smoke, etc... and a banging system with DJ but nobody went! Dead empty, not the cruise lines fault. The main lounge was like being in Monte Carlo, well decorated, tasteful seating arrangement, very open, airy, and great public space. Saw Donna Summer singer, was good. Night band was not that great though. The big shows were fantastic! No lie, they were better than the mega cruisers shows I have seen. Each night, same performers, totally different show. My teens had a teen area that was well thought out and a big space with full time staff to supervise. X-box, dance floor, etc... all for them.
Went to Lucaya Beach on excursion, was pleasantly surprised by humor filled tour guide with microphone on our double decker open air bus ride to the resort. Very organized, safe, and gorgeous beach. Would do it again. The port itself has no reason to disembark, unlike Key West where you disembark and go on foot, there is literally nothing at this port but industry.
USA Customs was slow and terrible getting off the ship at the end of the cruise. Waited an hour with only 50 people ahead of me. This has nothing to do with cruise line.
Here is the thing, I feel bad for the bad reviews, everyone complaining seems to lack simple reading comprehension skills. How did you not know about drink vouchers, included vs non included amenities etc... BEFORE purchasing and boarding? I set expectations on what I paid for and knew other fees would follow, as is customary to cruisers, like gratuity, tax, etc... Being shocked about cruise economics is a newbie problem.
The staff truly cares, Alex the cruise director is straightforward and humble of his beautiful ship. He asks everyone to fill out comment cards so "they can get better" and I do believe they want to, there is a sincerity in every cruise staffer I engaged with, my fellow cruisers were a true representation of South Florida with about 50 - 60 percent Black and Latino and about 70 percent under 50 if those things matter to you. Everyone got along, no issues whatsoever or bad vibes from everyone enjoying there getaway. Everyone greeted each other on the jogging track with friendly hellos as I passed by.
Give this cruise a try and keep expectations reasonable and you will definitely enjoy yourself. I am not an unsophisticated traveler, been all over the planet, and my family came away from this experience smiling and enjoying the memories. Read Less