We chose this cruise because we didn't want to drive to Florida. Baltimore is an 8 hour drive for us and with the Canadian dollar sinking, it was going to be expensive for us with hotels and food. We arrived at the port which is close to the size of a shopping mall. Very easy to navigate The staff was very friendly and kindly directed us through to drop off our luggage and pay for parking.
We were through security, got our seapass cards and on board within 20min. We went straight up to the Solarium and grabbed a couple of chairs. It was nice and warm. People were swimming. My husband got us some lunch from the cafe. They had nice paninis, salads and soups. We used this for lunch a lot as it was not crowded.
Our rooms were ready at 1pm -right on time.
The ship is older and it's showing wear. They were painting a lot during the cruise. The carpets on the stairs were coming loose, the pool chairs were missing straps.
The staff was friendly and always acknowledged us when we walked by. We didn't go to the dining room. There was always a very long line right at 5 pm and then a mad rush to get inside. The Windjammer served a great selection each day. The food was hot. We sat at a window each time. No trouble finding a table. The servers were courteous and always available to bring drinks and clear plates away.
We went to 3 headliner shows. They were good, but there is a lot of advertising. Perhaps to show that they have skilled people and not just someone who auditioned and won the position.
The cruise director was okay. He was present a lot, but we found he put down the activities director Andre a lot using sarcasm. It got old quickly. Andre was a great guy, always smiling and laughing and pleasant to listen to.
There was a lot to do on this cruise. Trivia, contests, raffles, dancing, shopping, casino. The library was well stocked and there was a daily Sudoku page available here as well. Bring a pen as there are none in the room. We missed the returning cruisers party. We were enjoying the pools. They are heated and just beautiful to enjoy. Finding chairs on the deck is difficult. People put towels on the chairs and the chairs stayed empty all day. Even during Superbowl there were towel covered empty chairs for the entire game while some people had to stand to watch. The pool deck is not set up well to watch the screen. The shade covers on the hot tubs obstruct the view.
We missed the meet and mingle. No invitations were sent out. I thought there was a brief announcement about it, but our door was closed at the time and I didn't hear clearly.
We watched Spectre in the theatre. This was great. There were movies playing each day.
Very small. The shower was extremely small. The showerhead had so much power and there was no where to angle it where the water wouldn't escape the shower. The floor and wall were always saturated when we finished. We had black oil coming from the sink tap and had to call to have this fixed. The cabin was always kept clean and well looked after by our steward. There were a number of soft drinks and snacks on the counter we had to ask the steward to remove as we needed the space. He left behind two Coke glasses from the drink program. When I picked them up I noticed they were both dirty and had juice in them. There is no fridge in the room. We brought two bottles of wine and had to keep them in a bucket of ice to keep them chilled.
Walked out through the markets to the beach right in the bay where the ships dock. Got 2 chairs with an umbrella and 5 drinks for $25. Free wifi. The peddlars were horrible. They would walk by repetitively and offer the same things over and over. I finally wrote "NO" in the sand and they left us alone. The water was gorgeous. Clean and warm.
We walked to the forts. This is a long distance up and down hills. The forts are beautiful. You can tour them for $5 each. We stayed close to some of the tours. It was superbowl day so there were a lot of people around and 4 ships in port. I'm not sure we would have toured by ourselves if we were the only ship in port. There is a lot tagging by gangs around the city.
We took a $9 each taxi ride to Coki beach. Free to get in. Beautiful shaded beach. $5 chair. $2 beer or $10 rum drink with extra shot of rum. They passed out samples of the smoothies. Taxis were always available. Coral World is here as well. There is good snorkeling off the beach. There is also a dive place here. Many people learning to scubadive. This beach is in a cove and protected from waves and currents.
Easy to get to. Easy to navigate. The staff was very friendly.
The beach is beautiful. The is a lot of shade available. The water was warm. There is a lot of coral in the water containing some sea urchins. We were fortunate we brought water shoes.
The barbecue was hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken.
We didn't go to the market, but heard that they were very pushy. Many people we spoke with were pressured into buying things. The vendors would ask your name and then write it on something like a shot glass or a bag and then tell you to buy it. People paid different prices for the same things ie. 3 bracelets for $10, while another lady got the same bracelets for $1 each.