My wife and I have cruised 4 other times, but this was the first time for our two boys, ages 9 and 11. In short, everyone had a great time. On recounting the trip, the "memorable moment" count was far higher for this cruise ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 4 other times, but this was the first time for our two boys, ages 9 and 11. In short, everyone had a great time. On recounting the trip, the "memorable moment" count was far higher for this cruise than any of our previous trips.
The four of us stayed in a Grand Suite, which was quite nice. At first glance, I thought it would be too small for our family, but after the 5 day cruise, honestly, it was plenty of space. The balcony adds a lot of square footage to where you can move around.
I highly recommend being in a suite. The primary perk is that it gives you access to the Concierge Lounge. Why is that a benefit? It's kinda like a private club. The room itself is underwhelming, frankly, but you go there before dinner and you meet other suite people -- and there's some light hors d'oeuvres, but more importantly, an OPEN BAR.
They don't have frozen drinks, but they can make just about anything else with their 15 bottle bar of standard stuff (gin, vodka, rum, wine, etc.) We'd get a drink, then just before we left for dinner, would ask for a glass of wine to take to dinner. No problems leaving the lounge with the wine.
(I hadn't brought any cash the first night .. on the second, I tipped the bartender $20 for the many drinks he'd served us .. future glasses of wine pours were HUGE.)
Two other Suite perks .. a complimentary, private tour of the bridge and galley. Also, on disembarkation day, you have your own private area and you show up in any 30 minute window, they will put you at the front of any line off the ship.
Four negatives about the cruise:
* The pool water is freezing cold. No one wants to be in the pool for more than a quick dip. This didn't make sense to me. Heat the pool.
* The Wi-Fi speed was about 3 megs down on Day 1 .. but by Day 3, everyone was using it, and speeds were in the 150kbps range, with massive latency. (I'm a network guy.)
* The "kids club" for 9-11 year olds was .. simply. bad. Our two sons had zero interest in it, which was disappointing, we'd hoped they could hang out there. It shouldn't be that hard: Buy some Xboxes and TVs, and let the kids play/watch, like other cruise lines.
* During peak hours, breakfast and lunch, the Windjammer cafe is awful. Far too crowded, too disorganized, and not enough seating. For breakfast, go to the Main Dining Room, and avoid the Windjammer.
Lunch food was generally average .. dinner was quite good. They always had a kids' menu, and let the kids pick off either menu. They were happy campers.
Conclusion: We loved the cruise. Will repeat. Read Less