We chose this ship primarily because of the cheaper cost, itinerary. (St Croix) and port of departure. We own property on St Croix and wanted to visit to take care of a little business as well as see friends and have a vacation in the mean time.
Price: This cruise was cheaper than getting to JFK, flying to STX, renting a car for a week, renting a cottage for a week and handling all our food expenses. I think the location as well as price attracts many repeat cruisers. We found people who had been on the ship 33 times! 3-6 times was fairly common. Also, as others have said, it is an old crowd with many diamond members.
Crew: They are excellent. Every one of them. Can't say enough nice things about the wait staff, room attendants, customer service etc. They get to know you quickly, like to kid around and talk and always took good care of us.
Passengers: Much older crowd with very few kids. That's ok because they tend to be a laid back, smart, experienced crowd that are fun to meet. Maybe it's the mid-west and mid-atlantic vibe due to the departure location but almost everybody is very friendly. Some folks practically live on this ship.
Activities: It's an older ship and doesn't have a lot of activities, especially in the evenings. That's ok with us. We are 60 & 64. We don't need DJ blasting pool parties. If we really want to see a Broadway show we'll take a train to Broadway. A little more entertainment and more outdoor dance options like an afternoon pool party would be nice.
They did have a fun 70's night but most dances seemed to cater to an older crowd of very well practiced dancers doing waltzes, cha-cha's and even tangos. That left us feeling a bit left out but the showy dancers are still friendly. Most dancing takes place in the Centrum which is ringed with seats for 3 levels and open all the way from decks 4 through 8. It was nice to be able to walk down the hall from our deck 8 room and look down & check out what is going on.
We enjoyed "enrichment" watercolor painting with Rosemary and her hubby. They are a lot of fun. Also the after 9 PM piano singalongs in the schooner bar with Russ were fun. What shows they did have were fun with comedians, singers and a jazz sax player. My wife saw the cruise director put a great Neil Diamond tribute. I was at a wine tasting at the time.
Ports: We did a 12 night Eastern Caribbean run and the ports are were very good. St Croix, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Martin. We mostly did 3rd party tours. We had one RCL excursion on St Lucia; a catamaran ride for sightseeing, swimming at a bay and then viewing the Pitons. The crew on the cat was a blast and very knowledgeable. On/off was super easy as the cat was docked right in front of our ship at the port.
Cabins: I said that we went cheap. We were in an interior room. It was 136 sq feet. It was tight getting in & out of bed but otherwise very serviceable with plenty of cubbies to put stuff. Others have said that suitcases don't fit under the bed. We solved that by leaving then open so they slid under, but that limits how many you can fit. I suggest bring bags that nest inside each other when empty like Russian Dolls.
Bottom line: if you like an older crowd and are looking for a laid back relaxing ship this fits the bill. We would defiantly go again if we were still going be nearby the departure point.
We love St Croix. We are biased because we actually own a villa there but there are many good reasons to visit for a day, a week, or forever. It's not your typical port of call for cruise ships. There are no Diamond Internationals or Margaritavilles. You will find a laid back vibe in an interesting town of Fredericksted and the most friendly people anywhere. Cruise ships are much less common here than in nearby St Thomas so the locals put their heart into it. There are pop up tents selling local goods and nearly restaurants and bars for relaxing time. Try a locally brewed Leatherback beer!
For more shopping and more upscale restaurants as well as a pretty boardway with bars and restaurants take a taxi or a tour to nearly Christiansted. This small city is also full of some great Danish architecture. For more adventure, go on a hike in the rain forest or jeep tour on rough dirt roads with great views.
You can walk to a nice beach right near the ship, down a bit is The Fred Hotel, a small boutique hotel with chairs and umbrellas. A little further is Rainbow Beach, a great spot. A cab ride away is Cane Bay with great snorkling and the famous Wall for scuba divers.
Definitely get off and venture into & then beyond F'sted. You're in a US flagged paradise, so enjoy!