My husband and I chose this cruise for the itinerary, which was of course changed due to hurricanes. However, the port substitutions were poor. There is very little to do in Costa Maya- not a fair exchange for what I paid for. The ship was miserably overcrowded. Bigger is not always better. The food was bland, and you saw the same meals rehashed night after night. I felt like cattle on this cruise.
The lady at excursions had no knowledge of the excursions I had questions about or even the port itself, Nassau. I was under the impression, given what I'd read, they were experts there to help you make informed decisions. I booked a rainbow reef snorkel, and it was a beautiful coral reef, however the operator was barely passable. They have very old, worn snorkel gear. The vests we had to wear were moldy, and they run out of large fins before they got to my husband. Since the gear is part of what we paid for, this is not acceptable. My mask would not seal and leaked water causing me to waste the first 10-15 minutes(of 1 hour) before finally being given a new mask. The staff on the ship, with the exception of my room stewardess and the spa staff, were less friendly than other cruises I have been on. The up sales have gotten ridiculous! You are getting less and less unless you are willing to cough up more money. Grease was wonderful!, but the fine line was a letdown. Overall, not everything I hoped it would be.
I found the embarkation process in Fort Lauderdale to be much more efficient than previous years. We chose to use a shuttle service and park nearby. This saved us quite a lot of money. (I think it was called Park and Go) This is a fast service. They park your car for you. Once at the Port, We were met by friendly, helpful porters. Once inside, we were directed where to go and had only a short wait till we were onboard. The first thing we did was go check out our stateroom. We had a Boardwalk Balcony room on the 14th floor. Upon entering our stateroom, I admit it took me a minute to get the lights on. If you don't know, there is a slot that you must put your sign and sail card into in order to work the lights. It does help you to be energy conscious and keep up with your key. I thought it was a good idea. The pros-We had a view of the ocean to the left of our balcony, and despite being under the basketball court, we rarely heard any noise from it. On the other hand, when the aqua theater had late shows, we heard a lot of noise. We could stand on our balcony and watch the zipliners go by. My biggest issue with our stateroom(14711) was that it had a direct view to the mini golf course. It felt, at times, like we were in a fishbowl. I did not open my curtains as much as I would have liked because I often found people standing along the railing looking down into the staterooms. I am not sure I would want another boardwalk balcony for this reason. The room itself felt very spacious. The new design of having 2 closets worked out well. One closet had drawers underneath. I really felt like I had a ton of storage space. I like the way it was decorated, too. The bed was not comfortable, though.