Disclaimer: this was a free cruise that we received from my ladies cousin.
Review: Overall the trip was a bust ,but this wasn't the fault of the crew or the cruise line. Guests with medical issues and of course a Cat. 5 storm that kept us on the ship for 6 straight days. Things of note:
-the crew: each and every person was helpful and friendly, and could not do enough for us. Bravo!
-the ship: she's an older vessel and it shows. Ripped seats in the food area on the Lido deck, signs with room numbers rubbed off. Don't misunderstand, the boat was very clean, but shows her age.
-the food: went from terrible (the pizza & "Guys Burgers" to just outstanding (David's Steakhouse)
-snacks: bring all manner of snacks (cheese/crackers /nuts/popcorn, etc).
-the alcohol and it's prices: very reasonable, which surprised us. Unless you REALLY pound the booze, save the cash and don't get the drink plan. Can't speak on the soda option. If you want to save even more cash, smuggle your liquor on board. Many ways to do this (do a search on Google).
-the cabin: upgrade for $50.00 to a balcony room. Spend the cash and do it BEFORE you board....you can't upgrade on the day of sailing. The cabin was fine, a lot of hidden room for storage. Having a cabin without the balcony would have been hell on earth.
-things to do while at sea: not much really. They push buying this or that, but that gets old very quickly. Not enough places to dance (the "disco" was too loud and obnoxious to even contemplate). We only got to dance once or twice on the entire cruise, and we love to dance! More bands with better music are needed. The piano bar with Steve was charming.
-sea sickness pills: you'll need them if not used to being at sea.
Pools, spa's and hot-tubs: WAY to many people means you have to pick your times to enjoy them. Use the pool and hot tubs when people are seated for the first dinner meal, the places will be yours. Also, very late in the day is a good bet as well.
-water: much has been made of the quality. It was just fine, really no need to bring bottled water on board. Make sure to ask the cabin steward to give you two ice buckets of ice at the beginning and he end of the day. If anything, bring a water bottle and fill up at the fountains. If you need to flavor the water, you can bring those little bottles of flavoring, or better yet, cool-aid.
-mini bar: no reason to use it...and no, the water is NOT free.
I guess the best advice I can give is if you're going to do it, go all the way...play the bingo, gamble, go to the sales pitches for jewelry and art, see the comics, dance at the mambo contest, sing karaoke. What the heck...you'll never see these people again...be cheesy!