My sister and I chose this cruise for our first getaway together, primarily because it fit into our schedule. We had a great time. This was my 5th cruise and her 2nd. I had previously cruised on Holland America and Norwegian, she had cruised on RCI about 20 years ago. My overall impression was great--the ship was beautiful, food was good, and every crew member we dealt with was pleasant and accomodating. My only complaints were with the shore excursions we chose, which I'll discuss a little later.
We arrived at the Port of Tampa around 11 am. Lucky for us (if not for the people on the cruise prior to ours), the ship had been in port several days due to bad fog which cancelled her previous cruise. We spent the expected time completing the medical forms, were second in line to check in, and were on-board within half an hour, with unexpected immediate access to our cabin. We had chosen a balcony cabin on deck 9, midships (on the hump). It was clean, nicely decorated and comfortable, with a large balcony that had a great view aft, since it stuck out further than the ones behind us. Our cabin steward, greeted us almost immediately. Our beds weren’t separated when we arrived, but he assured us it would be done before bedtime, and it was (much earlier than that). Despite being in the last cabin in his group, he was always there if we needed him.
The cabin door was only a couple of steps to the Centrum, which was a beautiful, 5-story open space in the center of the ship. From the rail or the elevators, you could see straight down to R Bar, and watch the performers for the “Centrum Experience” (a Cirque de Soleil type of show) rehearse and perform about at eye level. Very cool. I was a little worried that it would be loud because of the performers in the bar every evening, but they generally stopped around 11 and it wasn’t an issue.
Great Cabin! Clean, well appointed. Centrally located.
Unfortunately, there was only one real “food stop” on this tour, where we were served an appetizer-sized portion of 3 items and could purchase a beverage. Good, but not much food. The second stop was a hot sauce shop (tortilla chips), and the last stop at a key lime pie place where we had a frozen lollipop-sized key lime pie on a pretzel stick. We had figured we’d eat lunch on the tour, so hadn’t eaten much on the ship. We walked away from the tour hungry, and I didn’t feel like I got much of a feel for the island, which was disappointing.