My wife and I travelled with our family - children and grandchildren - we had cruised before but none of the others had. The cruise was terrific in that the grandchildren were well catered for - food, entertainment, port activities - but you MUST remember to take you own reef shoes, goggles, snorkel and flippers - thankfully they did. The adults enjoyed the experience and the benefits of cruising life - including the kids club and kids entertainment/activities. Our reading said the ship had a re-furb in 2011 - our daughter suggested it was a 'soft' re-refurb as there were parts of the ship that still looked 'tired'. Staff were polite and reasonably friendly but seemed to lack the 'zest' for their jobs - it was like they were going through the motions. Having said that we were super impressed by our waiters in the Cascades Restaurant - they were brilliant - they were patient with the children and attentive, knowledgeable and courteous with the adults.
The same could not be said for the fee-for restaurant Chops Grille - the meal was quite good but the service left a lot to be desired, mainly due to being short staffed, very short staffed - I had no qualms about tipping in Cascades but didn't even consider it in Chops - give it the Chop. We had anytime dining but because of the size of the group were able to secure a regular time slot but our observations were that there was always a wait to be seated if you didn't have a booking - no matter what size your party was - at better choice may have been set time where the dining room/area seemed to be slightly better - but we did have the best waiters/servers you could ask for. My wife and I continually compared this cruise with the cruises aimed at the adult market and we did find that it didn't compare but we were there for a family holiday and in that sense - mission accomplished.
We were on deck 8 - not far from the Centrum - and found it central to just about everything - up/down, forward/aftFound the cabins to be a bit tired - all the timber could have done with some work - the balcony rail, the cabin cupboards, dresser etc.Our cabin steward was very good only too happy to oblige any reasonable request from any of us.
We didn't take an organised tour and not really sure what was on offer - we waited till we were on the island to see what the locals offered.There two options $15 or $25 per person. We chose the $15 tour and most of those driving people movers won't move until they have a full van - 11-13 people. We were a family of 11 and the driver was still trying to tout business to fill the last 2 seats as we were leaving.The driver only speaks French (very little English) therefore there is no commentary - the tour makes 5 stops and we went flat chat from one to the other.Not sure what the difference would have been with $25 trip - possibly one or two more stops - maybe a bit slower.
Again didn't take an organised tour and waited till we arrived.There were 2 options The Tchou Tchou Train, or the Hop On Hop Off buswe took the train - wrong choiceKids had gear for the beach but we didn't stop anywhere near the beach and only had two scenic locations that we did stop at - we passed by the beach, café and retail strip - but that was it - I'm assuming the bus would have stopped in this area and that you could get off - sight see a bit then hop back on the bus.The train was 'nice' but nice doesn't cut it when you're looking for a coffee, something to eat and places to entertain the kids.