This was our first cruise. We had a fantastic time and can't wait to cruise again. Our itinerary was changed to avoid Hurricane Matthew. The ship stayed where the weather was great and the seas were calm. We had a balcony cabin. The cabin was very nice and very clean.
We did not get off the ship in Cozumel or Jamaica. We enjoyed the beach at Labadee - as you walk from the ship, try the beach on the right, it may be less crowded.
We chose this cruise because of the ship - we had never cruised before and were worried about feeling confined. The pools were crowded in the afternoons, even on port days, but that was the only time we felt like there were a lot of people. The interior of the ship is beautifully decorated and maintained, and I loved the interesting artwork that is everywhere. Most of the time I could not feel the motion of the boat at all, and we never got seasick. We paid to take the behind the scenes tour, and it was worth every penny. It took 3 hours and included a Q&A with a member of the crew. We saw the galley, the food storage, the laundry, the engine control room, the crew cafeteria and pub, and the bridge.
Our regular dining room was American Icon Grille and every dinner we ate there was fantastic - our waiter, Sander, was great! So were the desserts, which included a soufflé and baked Alaska and cherries jubilee. Park Café was great for salads, but the selection was limited. Chops was as good as everyone says - the steaks, the bread and appetizers were outstanding. Giovanni's was good, but since pasta was regularly available, I'm not sure it's worth it. Sabor has awesome food and margaritas, and the food was inexpensive. We shared the guacamole, prepared tableside, and barbacoa tacos with homemade tortillas - yum! Room service was good and arrived hot, but the selection is limited and has a lot of fried food. We never ate at the Windjammer.
If you have seen theater on Broadway, you may not agree that the shows are Broadway quality, although the cast of Mamma Mia had a lot of talent and we enjoyed it. Blue Planet had about 11 costume changes in an hour and was a little hard to follow. The dive show in the Aqua Theatre is impressive and it's nice to sit outside at night. We enjoyed the running track on deck 5 and the fitness center, which always had equipment available. I also enjoyed a recently released movie in 3D in the Amber Theatre one hot afternoon. We bought the surfing internet package and it worked great.
Service throughout the cruise, everywhere, was impeccable. It exceeded any expectations we had. Embarkation was very smooth and we never waited long at any of the steps in the process.
Disembarkation was not smooth - next time we would try to leave as early as possible. The later departure times offered aren't really allowed - staff started rushing us out of our designated waiting places on the ship well before our 10:35 departure time. We were hurried onto the pier even though the customs line was backed up to the ship. The wait on the pier was very long, although it appeared that if you hired a porter, they would cut in front of other customers who had waited up to half an hour to get you to the front of the line. We didn't hire a porter, but a few cut in front of us. RC has some work to do, since this could have potentially ruined an otherwise fantastic experience.
Our cabin was beautiful and clean. The room was very comfortable for the 2 of us. It had plenty of closet space and room under the bed for our luggage. We sat on the balcony a lot. We ordered room service for breakfast a couple of mornings so we could eat on our balcony - it was really nice to watch the water go by. We enjoyed it more on days when we weren't directly facing the sun, which made it hot.
This cabin is close, but not too close, to the stairs and elevators. The location of this cabin makes it convenient to the Amber Theatre, the spa and fitness center, and the Solarium. The dining rooms are on the other end of the ship.
We just walked over and got some chairs and relaxed in the sun. They served a buffet lunch that was very good. There were plenty of places to buy art, crafts, and souvenirs. It was a nice and relaxing break from the ship.