We sailed out of Tampa, celebrating my sister in laws wedding. The ceremony was decent, but rushed..I know there's a schedule they have to adhere to, but it just doesn't seem appropriate. The photographers prices were absolutely highway robbery, talking nearly 4 grand for an album and some prints. And being that the wedding was rushed the pictures weren't that great either.
The kids club for the little ones was ridiculous. Look, kids 0-4 are going to get upset when their parents leave them for some alone time. If your kid cries, or gets upset, they immediately summon you to pick them up. They have absolutely no interest in calming, or distracting them, most likely because they don't seem to really even interact with them in the first place. So basically me and my wife had to take turns going out to enjoy ourselves.
The only comedian we saw was awful, I mean it was offensive how bad he was. I'm a fan of stand up..and I'm not expecting a headliner on a cruise ship by any means..but this guy had to have ripped off jokes from at least 10 comedians during his set. No delivery, no effort..just typical fare of "what's the deal with.." and airline jokes that weren't even his!
Dinner was great, im not much of a snob, and some of the reviews I've read seem to have unrealistic expectations. This cruise line doesn't seem to be a luxury line, more of a casual blue collar family line. And with that in mind, the food was great. And so was the waitstaff. By far, my sister in law had a small special needs toddler, and there were times she was inconsolable and stayed with her on her sling, the head waiter actually took the time to cut her food up for her because he saw she was struggling. He would also very slyly come behind you and put your napkin in your lap, had impeccable timing with drinks and orders. Would also entertain the kids, and made sure they had activities at the table ready for them. We also caught him doing his rounds I presume as the shift manager in the buffet, and he made an ice cream cone for my son, and made him laugh. That means a lot to me as a dad. Guy had a lot of work to do, but he took the time to make sure we were comfortable and appreciated.
The buffet was decent, but the lines, didn't matter what time..there are just so many people on board. I read the chart, and there were 2700 guests aboard. They literally ADDED 700 guests worth of cabin space on an already crowded ship when they did the refurbishing. The official review here says the ship accommodates 2000, lots more now.
The casino is spartan, and the machines are tighter than a snare drum. They have about 10 blackjack, or other silly card games, but one poker table, and it's all digital with a MASSIVE rake. Its absolutely unacceptable in my eyes to have that abomination of a poker table, and what's worse is they added silly rules on top of the known variables of holdem. What do I mean by tight? The coin pusher game has chips that spell out bonus, get all 5, win 100 dollars. The trouble is the "S" chips rarely, if ever show up, and the only other prize if any is a stack of 1's to make 20$ there is literally no hope of a return, you might as well just be giving that money away. To me gambling should at least reward the risk with some kind of return with some luck. None such. The slots and video poker seem to be calibrated to give nothing. There are amusingly claw machines with bundles of cash, but obviously the claw strength is set to anemic mode, and it might pay out once every 5 days of heavy play. They also stack all the money back up every night which is bad form, and most likely reset the counter.
The pool is an absolute joke. It's about the size of a residential pool, only surrounded by literally a thousand folks on the main deck. At any given moment you can see people packed in there like sardines. There are 4 hot tubs, about the circumference of dinner table. Write those things off. Deck space on the adult only area is scarce, especially under shade.
A lot of the space on the main deck in the walkways are occupied by photographers, and stalls hawking massively overpriced designer watches. The live band can't seem to comprehend that you're trying to get somewhere and will shove the microphone in your face as you walk by. If I'm dancing, and have a drink in my hand, sure. If I'm pulling along my 3 year old whose sobbing because he wants back in the splash pad..leave me alone, please.
The elevators have a mind of their own, and it's not the ships fault, but people really don't seem to know elevator etiquette..they barrel in the moment the doors open, not even looking to see how many people are in there, and if they're leaving. And the layout seems very confusing, and lends itself to a lot of people mouth agape walking like zombies..which frustrates people like me to no end.
There is a movie theater on board, and I did manage to see black panther, which was nice. But due to the DGAF attitude of the daycare (which costs money) me and my wife didn't get to enjoy much of our cruise, neither did my son. I mean we tried to entertain him the best we could, but there isn't much for someone his age to do other than just that..and I have to stress how apologetically lazy that club is. He likes playing with other kids, if they would just be involved with the little ones they would have a lot of fun. I picked him up the first and only time he spent more than a half hour there and they just had him in one of their lap. Make him laugh ,play with toys with him..do something! Jeez why did you volunteer to work with kids? I don't think it's unreasonable of an expectation seeing how far the rest of the staff goes to accommodate everyone else. He's well behaved, just has a little separation anxiety as most kids do his age.
As far as entertainment is concerned, and aside from not having much alone time, there really wasin't much for me to do. A lot of the activities were hyper-social, nothing craft related that I knew of, tours are a paid (read: expensive) option.
And while I sort of understand the logistics of not allowing only one person out of two in a cabin to have the cheers package, it's totally unreasonable for someone like me. Wife literally does not drink, and I wanted to drink, but the drink prices are nearly 10 dollars for something like a long island. The last time we went my wife was pregnant, and they still wouldin't grant an exception. They wanted my pregnant wife to buy the package. It really feels like they grab you by the ankles and just try and shake all the money out of your pockets. Which lead me to becoming incredibly defensive with my purchases (bright side, only left with a 22 dollar balance)
I don't mean to be so negative, but I shelled out a lot of money for a cruise on a very crowded, old ship and it's left a bad taste in my mouth, especially when a bit of effort could have made a huge difference.
Also, Cozumel is a joke..the shopping is literally nothing but vastly over priced trinkets and vendors hawking you non stop. The resort we went to was decent, but the snorkling tour was a joke, very short and basically went out to the end of the pier and back.
The cabin was nice, it was an ocean view, the housekeeping staff was very accommodating and pleasant asked us once to sort of get to know our routine, and we maybe saw him two more times during the 4 days. He actually caught me leaving my room after I took a nap with the dnd tag and asked if I needed service, and towels.