This was my 1st cruise. I booked in late Jan. '07, and paid quite a bit for a JS room for my 14 yr. old daughter and me. But luckily I had read up on cruise critic and knew to check the prices every day. About one month before sailing there were 6 JS left and the price went way down. I had my travel agent call RCI and I got an $850 refund for each of us, total of $1700 refund! The price only went down for 2 days so it was good that I was checking and caught it. Also, I originally had a JS between the two sets of elevators, but because I checked availability of all JS's every day online, I was able to see that a hump JS became available and got reassigned to this great JS on the hump. Again, another tip I got from this board.
I really got the jitters just before the cruise. I was worried because our JS was under the Royal Suite which has a player piano and I had read postings about being able to hear the piano in our JS. I was worried about people not dressing nicely for dinner, when my daughter and I were so looking forward to doing so; I did not want her to feel out of place if she was dressed up. I was worried about it being spring break. I was very ambivalent as it got towards date of sailing. All my worries were unfounded. This ship was incredible, we LOVED it. Although there were 1200 kids on board (!), they all seemed well-behaved and I never saw any rowdiness at all.
We flew into FT. Lauderdale and took Airport Express shuttle to the 4 Points hotel Miami Beach ($18 apiece), very convenient. Hotel looks ok in lobby but room was very work, furniture nicked up like crazy and old carpet, very dirty. Our rm. was oceanfront with wet bar, fridge, microwave, full sofa, 2 queens, nice balcony. We spent a few hrs. on the beach (paid $10 apiece for lounge chairs) and then cleaned up and went to Adventura Mall to shop, get our nails done, and have a birthday dinner. There is a bus that goes directly to the mall right on Collins Ave in front of the hotel, 25 min. and easy This mall has over 200 stores and is very nice. Great restaurants also. We ate at Cheesecake Factory, although we wished we had tried the Grand Lux Cafe, which everyone said was best. We took a cab back to hotel because it was 9 pm ($30).