Here’s my review of the December 27th sailing. Just letting everyone know in advance that it is a little long, as I am trying to include every detail I can think of to help those of you who are traveling on her in the future however, everything I write is just my opinion and may differ from others.
Prior to the cruise we completed our online check-in with our photos and everything. We also booked a restaurant for every night, booked the three shows Mamma Mia, Sonic Odyssey, and Starwater, booked the entertainer, booked all of our excursions, drink packages, and iFly and the character breakfast.
Our time slot to arrive at the pier in Jersey was 10:45-11:15. We arrived at 11:30 because we had to stop along the way to buy things I forgot to pack (oops). My boyfriend dropped me off at the curb and a nice porter helped us with our luggage. We unfortunately did not print the luggage tags from home because about two months before the cruise we changed our room # and the luggage tags on the website never changed from our old room number to our new one. The luggage porter grabbed some blank tags wrote our current room number on them and off we went! My boyfriend parked the car and took the shuttle bus back and we met each other at the entrance of the terminal. Once inside the terminal there were a couple of employees with ipads swarmed with people and then we saw the security line. We asked a security guard if we were supposed to check in before going through security or after and she said it didn’t matter so we went through security first. That was a breeze. Then we saw more employees with swarms of people around them trying to check in so we decided to just get on a check in line. These lines were not moving at all. I saw a designated area for emerald guests and gold guests to check in but didn’t see platinum (which is me) so I just stood on the gold line. After a few minute I noticed all the employees that were in the middle with swarms of people around them were walking away. We found out that their systems went down and they couldn’t help anyone. At this point we knew this was not going to be curb to ship in 10 min! Finally the employees came back out and a nice woman helped us check in on our ipad. We then went up the escalator and onto the ship
The first place we went on the boat was to our rooms, but the hall doors were shut and said they would open at 1230 so we decided to go up to the spa to book a hair appointment for me for new years eve and a shave/facial for my boyfriend on new years eve. Then we went back to the rooms and the door was still shut but we saw some families opening the doors and going to there rooms so we decided to follow. Our room key was waiting right above our room number in a sealed envelope. We put our carry on bags in the room and headed up to the windjammer for lunch. Surprising there wasn’t huge crowds there and there was no problem finding a table! They had fresh mozzarella balls that day and only that day which we loved! (Every day we looked for them but one of the workers said they wouldn’t have them for the rest of the cruise ) The pasta pasta station had a cook prepare your pasta fresh for you with whatever toppings and sauces you wanted. It was delicious!! That day they had two of these stations, but for the rest of the cruise there was only one station and a very long line! After lunch we went back to our room to see if any luggage had arrived (because our RFID tracking wasn’t showing up on the app). We got ready for the muster drill which was in michael’s pub and got there a little early to make sure we had a seat. We had dinner reservations that night at devinly decadence. The restaurant was empty!!! There was maybe three tables of people and that was it. When we walked in the hostess asked for our room number and I gave it to her and she said she couldn’t find any reservations. So I gave her our old room number and the reservations showed up. (It was like this for the rest of the cruise so I’m not sure if the people staying in our old room didn’t have any reservations or just couldn’t see ours). Instead of bread at this restaurant they brought us veggies and dip We also ordered the chicken satay and the flatbread pizza half bbq half buffalo. We liked the chicken satay better than the flatbread. For dinner my boyfriend had the chicken enchiladas and I had the cowboy rubbed beef tenderloin. He liked his entrée and mine was just ok. For dessert the gooey brownie was very rich, but the shot glass pumpkin cake was very good! Since we had the drink package we ordered three drinks between the two of us. I don’t remember their names but the strawberry one we did not like at all, but the blueberry margarita was tasty! Every night in the cruise compass they advertised for this restaurant and I began to wonder if it was because it wasn’t doing so well. Also, when you make reservations online for dinner it blocks out a two hour window, and dinner never took us two hours. We went to Mamma Mia that night in the royal theatre and that show was excellent!! The seats in front of you blow out very little air conditioning but we always found the theater to be very warm.
The second day we were at sea all day and we did the selfie scavenger hunt, played bingo, ate, and took a nap lol. Lucky Lizzy the bingo host made bingo enjoyable!! She was always full of energy and had a smile on. There were three different bingo packages to choose from and if you bought the bingo stuffed animal and t-shirt you received extras bingo cards every time you brought them to a game. I one bingo and split it between two other winners! We had dinner reservations at chops grille which was the only restaurant the entire cruise that made us wait an extra 15 minutes, which was no big deal. For appetizers we had onion soup, warm goat cheese salad, crab and shrimp cake, and the black pepper bacon. Let me tell you, for the rest of the cruise all I talked about and wanted was another warm goat cheese salad! It was amazing. The onion soup was very good also and was different than the one they offered in café two70. We both had steak, which was good, and for dessert I had the molten chocolate cake, which was the only chocolate thing on the cruise I had that tasted to me like regular real milk chocolate. This was definitely my favorite restaurant.
The third day we were in port Canaveral and we took an excursion to Disney world. We knew that we weren’t getting back to the boat til around 1015 at night so we didn’t make dinner reservations that night. The Disney excursions and the kennedy space excursions all met in the royal theatre and we sat according to excursion group. Getting off the ship took a long long time. But once off the ship, we boarded an air conditioned coach bus and took it to Disney. They dropped us off at Epcot and told us to be back on the bus by 830 that night. We went to Hollywood studios and magic kingdom that day. When we got back to the boat we ate at the wind jammer and then went to sorrentos to make our own personal pan pizzas. The pizza place was very good!
The fourth day we were in Nassau Bahamas. Getting off the ship went a lot smoother and quicker. We chose the shallow water dolphin excursion at atlantis. This was an awesome excursion and requires you to wear a wetsuit provided by atlantis. If you choose to do this excursion do not wear any jewelry including earrings because they make you take it off. They provide towels and lockers for you to use there and they do not permit you to take any cameras with you even if they are waterproof. They have professional take pictures of you and you can purchase them at the end if you want. We had dinner reservations at Jamie’s that night and we said outside in the enclosed glass area of the restaurant. We ordered the Italian bread basket, crispy squid, and rice balls. All were excellent! We split a bowl of penne carbonara and I asked the waiter if he could leave out the pancetta but he said its already in the sauce (no big deal). I had the eggplant parm and he had the chicken al mattone. They were very good! That night we saw the jugglers/comedians in the royal theatre who were incredible! They pulled audience members on stage and did tricks with them and they were very funny.
The fifth day was in cococay and we went shopping as soon as we got off the tender ship. We booked snorkeling and jet skis for the day and I forgot to pack my underwater camera so I had to buy one there. $20. A t-shirt there is $20. A tank top $20. A starfish $20. $20 seems to be the magic price there lol. We walked to barefoot beach where I heard there wouldn’t be such a crowd and they were right! There was plenty of chairs but we couldn’t snorkel or swim there because no matter how far you walked out the water was never past your knees. So then we walked back and struggled to find one chair. A lady was nice enough to give us one of her chairs that her child wasn’t using and we put on our snorkel stuff and headed to the water. The rocks were unbelievable and killed our feet. So we needless to say we never actually snorkeled. The bbq on the island was very good but the ribs were tough. The jetski tour gave us about 50 minutes on the water which was awesome but you had to stay in line and follow the person in front of you. The jetskis went up to 41 mph. We had dinner reservations at the grande however I didn’t realize we were online for chic. I didn’t think it mattered which podium we went up to since the restaurants are right next to each other. When the guy asked for our room number I gave it to him and he sat us down in chic. I realized it wasn’t the grande when I saw people around us sitting there in shorts and sweatpants with sneakers and hats. I went back up to the podium to explain what happened to the guy and he told me do you how long the line is? It doesn’t matter where you eat because it is the same menu everywhere (because it was new years eve). I was a little annoyed about the way he handled it but I wasn’t going to make a fuss. New years eve was done very nicely on the ship they had balloon drops in the royal esplanade and two70. They handed out party hats noise makers and bead necklaces. After the ball dropped, the employees cleaned up everything very quickly!
The sixth day I did ifly and that was my favorite part of the entire cruise! They give you earplugs, goggles, helmets, and a suit. You watch an instructional video for about 10 min and then the instructor comes to gives you tips. They take professional pictures of you as you are flying. We also did the northstar that day which was amazing! You don’t realize how high you are until your up there. The views are breathtaking. We had dinner at silk and we ordered the eggrolls, crab Rangoon, and tacos. Everything was very good! Sonic odyssesy was very cool!
The seventh day we went to the character breakfast and the menu was big. They only had shrek, Fiona, and puss in boots come out though, which we were surprised. We thought there would be more characters. We saw starwater which was probably my favorite show because I loved all the dancing.
Here’s the extra stuff that didn’t pertain to a specific day:
We receive a towel animal every other day in our stateroom, our stateroom attendant was very efficient and friendly. I honestly liked the dynamic dining. The only thing I didn’t like was eating at a different time each night and having to either remember or look up where and when you are eating compared to just showing up to the dining room for the early or late seating. I did miss the relationship you build with the same waiter every night. The best seat in two70 to see starwater is upstairs. Two70 doesn’t have an age restriction at night like music hall does which caused it to be filled with teenagers at the bar ordering sodas. If you are planning to order the photos, order then early in the morning on the last full day (around 830-930am) and the photo place is empty!! In the afternoon and at night it was mobbed with people. Bring pen and paper with you if you are one to write stuff down because there is none in the room. If you plan on doing the bumper cars, arrive a half-hour to twenty minutes early to avoid the line that forms all the way around the court. Bumper cars are fun! The ride time is a long enough ride. They cannot apply visa gift cards to your account. They will tell you to go to the atm and get the cash and bring it to guest services (hopefully that will avoid you standing on line twice at guest services). Take advantage of the sales they offer for booking your next cruise onboard! Everywhere around the ship we always saw employees cleaning which was nice to see! Towards the end of the cruise, the cocacola freestyle machine flavor choices were very very limited and they said they have to wait til they get back to jersey to refill it.
The #1 tip I can give everyone is reserve everything you can before you board the ship. I can’t tell you how many people were turned away from the spa or restaurant of their choice because it was booked solid or the stand by line/waitlist was extremely long.
The room is perfect size for 2 people! We of course overpacked, but we were able to fit four large pieces of luggage and two carry ons under the bed with no problem. We used every drawer and closet space possible but the room was comfortable. The balcony was a nice size with two reclining chairs and a small table! The shower was a good size and the water pressure was even better than what I have at home! We were right in the middle of two elevators which was perfect.