This is only my 4th cruise. And i had a great time solo parenting with 3 kids. But nothing was particularly OMG breathtaking, either. The ship is older, but still neat as a pin. The staff were mostly all friendly, all the time, but when they werent looking i noticed they too has a sense of wear-n-tear/exhaustion, too.
I booked exursions early, thru the ship, and that was worth it for safety and convenience traveling with kids.
Inner cabin was tight but totally doable with 4.
Shows were hit or miss... nothing outstanding, but one comic was pretty funny. was so glad to get to see suicide squad without paying for it : /
The biggest thing i noticed, compared to expectations from previously cruises: the food was pretty Meh. even in the dining room. even on formal nights. on NYE they had filet mignon and lamb, those were noteable good. there was one night they had pecan tarts as a snack item and those were noteably good. one night there was an indian chicken item in the cafe.. that was noteably good. One day there was napolean as a dessert.. that was noteably good.
..that's it. everything else ..and dont get me wrong, there were a lot of choices.. an abundance of food... everything else was just alright. sometimes rising above cafeteria food but sometimes not. I remember this being differerent not more than a decade ago.
In that vein, what i noticed was a lot of mouse-like desserts named as other things... everything was a whipped creamy sort of texture, like actual baked goods couldnt be had. actual chocolate was rarely sighted: i had to scavange an ice-cream station for shavings when i wanted a fix. Sad memories of midnight chocolate buffets from a generation ago.
Also, the kid's area is REALLY small considering how many kids were there. And unlike how it's presented in the literature, its a tight FCFS sort of system and no one is gaurenteed that their kid can get in any given session. In the lit it's proposed that "my time dining" means someone gets your kids early so you can eat your grownup meal in peace..but in actuality you have to walk your kid to outside the dininhg room and hope that you're in line ahead enough to get them in. Also, the arcade where they make it sound liek there's actual video games and even (i recall reading) xboxes set up? Its literally 4 claw machines, a machine where you pay to play Candy Crush, and two motorcycle riding games. thats it. so like, not really an arcade.
That's the bad stuff, but all the good stuff evens it out: wonderful ports, streamlined services, accomodating staff, and plenty of options for activities. The spa was wonderful. Had my daughter's hair straightened, and got two massages. I liked that there were places (solarium eg) where grownups could escape to a peaceful place.
The BIGGEST draw for me, a mom of 2 10 year olds, was once my kids (and maturity levels are obviously a factor... my two keep each other grounded/in fear of mom being told but i saw kids half again their age who should have had constant supervision) got comfortable with the ship by day 3? they were free to check themselves in and out of club, go to and fro the pool, and eat when and where they wanted. If they wanted to go see a movie while i lounged, they could do so. That freedom covers a host of ills and even if things had been a 2/5 situation overall, that freedom alone is worth the price of the ticket.
Islands were nice. nothing cray-cray special to any of them although we really liked the "vibe" in barbados, and the green monkey sactuary/island tour was especially lovely/peaceful.
We snuba'd in Lucia, and that was a great experience too... but if you've already done it before, i would say get yourself a taxi to the company rather than do the ship booking: swim time was only 30 minutes out of a 4 hour trip.