We purchased this cruise on Groupon, for an unbelievably cheap rate of $199 for myself and my boyfriend. In addition to that fee, we had to pay port fees and taxes (an additional $70 or so per person). This was our first cruise, and I had mixed feelings after reading some reviews. However, we decided to take a positive attitude and make the best of our vacation.
Arriving at the port was kind of confusing, but this may be partially because we had never cruised before. We were herded through several stations to make dinner reservations, book excursions, have our photo taken and buy the drink package. We made dinner reservations for the complimentary dining only, and we booked the beach day excursion for the Wyndham resort (because it included lunch and an open bar). We did not buy the drink package, because we are beer drinkers and it would be more expensive to buy the package than to buy the beers outright. The representative was helpful with this, and told us honestly that it would be cheaper to buy beer on the ship than to buy the package.
The first day on the ship we attended the “orientation” because I mistakenly thought it was the required emergency drill. It was not. It was a 40 minute seminar about what is available on the ship and the various excursions. After that waste of time we attended the drill.
The ship: the furnishings are dated, but are very well maintained. It was obvious that the ship was a decade or two behind in style, however everything was clean, and nothing appeared to be broken or worn.
The cabin: we chose the interior room without a view (cheapest!), because we figured we wouldn’t spend a lot of time in the room anyway. Over all, the room was pretty small, but I felt like it was comfortable. The bathroom was extremely small, and the shower would flood the entire bathroom when running, but it was clean.
The food: the food was ok. It was definitely edible, however it wasn’t amazing. It was what I would expect. The buffet was always well stocked with food, but the food was tastier in the dining rooms.
The staff: the staff all seemed friendly, however it was pretty obvious that they earn tips. They were eager to help- because each beer they brought earned them 18% gratuity.
The activities: we did not attend any shows. We lounged on the deck, sat in the hot tub and just hung out around the ship in the sunshine. We are from Michigan and hadn’t seen blue sky or sunlight in 4 months before this trip. I was content just relaxing.
The excursion: the day of the excursion was kind of confusing. We had to meet our group in a specific area at the designated time, and it seemed sort of like a mess. People were confused, and the staff wasn’t as helpful during this time. Eventually we figured it out.
We took a double decker bus the the resort. It was very windy on the top! The staff at the resort was GREAT. Very friendly and welcoming. The bar tenders were very personable.
On the beach there were local people attempting to sell things to us, like sea shells and jewelry- and marijuana! One local man was showing me shells, and asked if I wanted to buy marijuana too- I declined, as attractive as being detained in customs was, I decided to pass.
Unfortunately the security at the beach wasn’t super attentive at shooing away these people selling things, and it was kind of annoying- it’s hard to relax when someone is yelling in your direction to get your hair braided.
Overall, I think this was an acceptable experience. Some of the reviews were negative, but we had a great time. I think it was because our only expectation was to enjoy our relaxation vacation. We didn’t expect lavish accommodations, and five star meals- we expected to enjoy the beach and sunshine. I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants a quick and relaxing cruise.