My husband and I (both 41 years old) took this cruise together. This was our very first cruise and we figure our expectations were relatively high. The embarkation process was extremely fast because we had already completed our information online. The ship was absolutely beautiful and sparkling clean. We had a balcony in our cabin and our stateroom was bigger than what we had expected. We found there to be more than enough storage in our cabin. We are now spoiled to a balcony from now on, that's for sure! It was wonderful hearing and seeing the ocean every day and night.
Our cabin steward, Xavier, was very friendly and helpful - great service in every way. We chose the early seating for dinner at 6 pm. We sat with 8 other couples and it was great. If we are ever so fortunate to be able to cruise again, I think we would choose the late seating because it felt a little rushed to make it for 6 pm. Our waiter and assistant waiter, Dominick and Sherlyn, were wonderful - they even sang for us at the table! The food throughout the ship was better than what we expected, and we expected quite a bit. We were amazed at how such a large variety could be consistently good. We had previously read other cruisers' reviews about this ship and decided to pay for the 2 fine dining restaurants onboard: Chops and Portofinos. These were 2 of the best meals we have ever had! And, we LOVE food and like to think that we are "amateur" food critics. Wow! The first port-of-call to Coco Cay in the Bahamas was cancelled due to bad weather. I was very disappointed but seemed quite alone in that feeling. Most people I overheard seemed happier to be going to San Juan Puerto Rico as an alternative. I just wanted to lay on a beach and snorkel. But, that's ok - nothing much you can do about weather. We just shopped around old San Juan and it was all right - reminded me a bit of Puerto Vallarta.
The second port-of-call was St. Thomas and we had booked the St. John, Trunk Bay tour. This was cancelled due to weather so now I was a bit annoyed and paranoid about our next excursion! But, we went to Buck Island to snorkel. The weather was on and off but overall it was a great experience. The first couple of days on the ship were rough and I felt a bit sea sick. Two of the couples at dinner didn't show the first couple of nights because they were very sick. It makes me wonder if perhaps April/May would be a better time to sail weather wise (?).
Our third port-of-call was St. Maarten. We booked a swim with the dolphins and this was definitely the highlight of our trip in every way. We are animal lovers and this experience was amazing. We took a boat to the island of Anguilla to the Dolphin Discovery. We swam with the dolphins, spent about an hour on their section of beach on Meads Bay and had a buffet lunch afterwards. The beach was unbelievable. All the water and sand that we saw on this island was unbelievable. Since we've been back from this trip, we've read on several websites that Anguilla is voted as number 1 for the best beaches in the world, and we can understand why. We fueled up in St. Croix but my husband and I decided to stay on the ship. We participated in The Quest, the adult scavenger hunt-type game show in the Colony Club. This was so much fun! We found ourselves in the Colony Club at least a few times and loved Santorini who had a nightly show. He really knew how to get the audience involved and had a great voice. I enjoyed the male strippers in the disco while my husband enjoyed the midnight buffet on the second to last night.
We watched 3 shows: The Piano Man, the comedian and the final show. They were all great. The casino was fun for my husband - I don't enjoy gambling but I went with him a couple of times.
We had such a great time on this holiday. It was a very long time prior to this that we actually had a real nice and relaxing holiday so we were long overdue. It was one of our dream vacations and we finally did it. It was everything and more than what we expected. We had heard that first time cruisers aren't nearly as picky as people who have cruised many times. But, we are pretty laid back people and went into this vacation with a positive attitude. Life is what you make it most of the time so we made it a wonderful experience. We would highly recommend this ship and cruise line. The food, service, decor, ports of call, cleanliness, entertainment and classiness was even more than what we had expected. Thanks to Royal Caribbean for this great memory!