Background: Two adults (mid 30s) and 6 years old daughter. Before her birth traveled a lot to Europe, but lately to all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, Dominica Rep, Jamaica. This was our first cruise ever. I have done a lot of research on Cruise Critic and some of suggestions/comments came out very handy during the cruise.
Embarkation went very smoothly. We really appreciated the fact that we don't have to fly, just drive for 30 minutes from NJ. We parked for $ 180 with no problems and were on board around noon.
Loved the cabin 4013 on Upper Promenade deck. Very comfortable with great bed. I still can't believe how I managed to allocate my staff from 3 suite cases. Our cabin steward Yoyo was amazing. Great towel animals! They work around the clock and really deserve extra tipping.
We had table 195 with great view. Our dining stewards Dodih and Albert were just perfect.
My daughter enjoyed Club Hal every day. Yes, it was crowded, but I still think they did a good job with kids (at least for 5-7 year old age group). I also saw groups of kids just hanging out around the ship (most of them 8-14 year old). And yes, they looked bored.
Skipped Tortola. A women from Canada tripped on the stairs, broke her glasses, and piece of glass got inside her eyes and cause a lot of bleeding. Since it took over 6 hours to reach nearest help (chopper picked her up closed to the shore), she died while flying to the hospital. Tragic accident... everyone understood. But HAL should reimburse for missed island more than just refunding $ 7.67 per person. St. Thomas. Went to Coki beach - small and crowded. Took almost 1.5 hour to get back due to heavy traffic. There 7 ships during that day. Also went to Coral World, but didn't enjoyed at all. Dominica. Took HAL tour to Emerald pool and drive around the island. Enjoyed! Barbados. Went to Boatyard beach. Everything in town was closed due to Easters. Beach was great. St. Martin. Butterfly farm shouldn't be missed by anyone. Great for all ages. Then to Orient Beach (just few minutes away). In Puerto Rico just walked around for few hours. It's was pretty hot and everything was closed till 10-11 am due to Eastern Sunday.
Disembarkation. We selected Express disembarkation, rolled our luggage at 8 am, were home at 9 am, finished laundry at 11 am and started looking at my pictures by noon. Can't beat that! Going from NY just great. Yes, it's crowded but soooo convenient.
Overall enjoyed our first cruise. Will be planning again for next summer to go to Bermuda.