We decided not to travel far this Christmas, being a UAE resident boarding the cruise on Dec 19th was easy as it was a simple taxi journey from home which was very convenient. Suite check in was fine just a short queue which took approx. 15mins. Luggage arrive very timely about half an hour after we arrived in our room 8070 JS. The Suite was smaller than what we are used to having just been on the Allure of the Seas around the Med, so next time for 3 adults I will book a suite and an additional room.
The ship is quite dated but I found all the rooms, common areas etc clean but the ship does show its age in some areas. The shows were not great as was the karaoke due to very limited entrants so we skipped the entertainment after giving it 20 mins or so. Schooner bar was the busiest bar on the ship with great entertainment from 10pm with a chap who played Piano, there was a carol service in the auditorium on Christmas eve which was well attended but the ship is too small for large crowds but it was well planned and delivered. Although there was one large Christmas tree, a bit of holly in the main dining room and a nice nativity display I thought the ship could have been decorated more to make the atmosphere more 'Christmassy'.
Did not bother with the Windjammer or for fee restaurants, we dined very well in the King and I on deck 5, we had a fabulous service from Devkumar and his team. Food variety and quality was fine although I must admit and agree looking at other reviews the US Christmas dinner is not the same as the UK. The casino is ok quite small with no bar, drinks service can be slow. Viking lounge was ok again quite small and the only area to host a nightclub which did not allow under 18's in after 11pm so as a parent of a 17 year old we struggled to find somewhere decent after 11pm, the schooner bar is always packed. Bar service through the day was hit and miss I was not sure which bars were open or closed, generally I think the bars lacked staff, wait time was quite long on many occasions particularly in the Casino and the Schooner.
Clean much smaller than larger ships, decent size balcony. Wifi very expensive and patchy. Some maintenance required during cruise, toilet not flushing and lights failed in the bathroom.
poor and lengthy customs check up, embarkation after customs no problem.