We chose this cruise because we needed specific dates in July and also because the itinerary was new for us and the ship was a good size and attractive.
PORT - We flew in to San Juan Puerto Rico the day before and stayed in the Sheraton near the cruise port. We got up before sunrise and took an Uber to the Fort to watch the sunrise then walked around Old San Juan. It was our first time with an 8:30pm set sail time but was nice because we headed right over to the ship when we had to check out from our hotel at noon and then we didn't feel like we were rushing to get on. Our rooms weren't available until 1:30 sharp so that gave us some time to head straight to Guest Services to do switch who was in which rooms together which was no problem. Once our rooms were ready we unpacked everything so we were ready to enjoy the week.
CABIN/SHIP - Our cabin - panoramic ocean view - was GORGEOUS! It is on deck 12 and is an area that was refurbished in 2015 and is very attractive. We could hear some talking in the next cabin when sitting right next to the wall, but otherwise no noise, only some wind noise when it was very windy out because we were on the 12th deck.
This cabin was AWESOME and just like the pictures! The view from the panoramic windows right next to the bed provided for constant views of the seas. This was our first cruise in this type of cabin (we always book balcony room) but this is now the only cabin type we will want on future cruises! The decor is updated and very clean and tons of storage space for everything we needed for a week long cruise - unpacked it all and stowed the luggage under the bed. This room is on the 12th deck forward and so we did feel the movement of the ship more so than we when had a mid-ship, mid-deck cabin but we got used to it and was not a problem and I get queasy easy.
Arrived in San Juan the night before our cruise. Spent the morning of our cruise at the Fort watching the sun rise then walked around Old San Juan. Very interesting but too early for shops to be open on a Sunday and many were boarded up because of the protests so didn't get to experience much of this area. Some of the taxi drivers we had were very informative and offered a tour for additional cost, but we did not want to take the time as we were eager to get on the ship as soon as possible.
After doing much internet research we planned to take the water ferry (within walking distant of where our ship docked) to nearby Water Island. Was easy to find and cost was $10 per person round trip and Water Island was within view of the ship. Honeymoon beach was a quick shuttle (free) from where the water ferry dropped us off. We were the first ones on the beach and it was awesome!! Beautiful calm water for swimming or snorkeling; also rented wave runners. The guys in our party rented a golf cart for cheap and explored the island too. We enjoyed drinks and lunch from one of two beach bars on the beach. I would go here again!
We booked our own excursion separate from the cruise line and becuase there were 6 of us in our party it was affordable to do a private catamaran tour through Pereia Tours and it was awesome! St. Kitts is beautiful and the water was gorgeous, as were the two snorkeling stops and beach stop at Nevis.
We booked our own activity through Antigua Reef RIders. They picked us up at port and was about 15-20 min drive to Jolly Harbour where we had a tour guide take us on 2-person boats for several miles along the shoreline (which was absolutely gorgeous), passing many beaches that looked inviting, to a stop at Cades Reef to snorkeling. Antigua was beautiful on land and sea, although somewhat poor, but the people were very nice and we would go here again.
We booked a private tour through Ride St Lucia and it was awesome! Speedboat tour up the coast passing many, many amazing beaches and homes (I couldn't stop taking pictures or going "oh wow!"). Stopped for photos with the Piton Mountains in the back, then stopped at a harbour to take the land part of our tour, which was doing the mudbaths, waterfall, and authentic lunch; then back on board our speedboat for two snorkeling stops (amazing clear water and colorful fish) and a brief jaunt inside Marigot Bay. We all agreed this was our favorite island of the cruise and we this was one place we wanted to plan a vacation! Absolutely gorgeous, so green and mountainous, kinda like Hawaii.
After our previous port (St. Lucia), Barbados was disappointing. We had booked a private tour on our own through Glory Tours. They took us across a large part of the island to Cherry Tree HIll, Morgan Lewis Windmill, Bathsheba, an old church and then stopped at Copacabana Beach. Our tour guide was informative and friendly and the countryside was pretty. And athough Copacabana Beach is pretty it is very crowded and the charge you for everything! We did the turtle snorkel "cruise" so we could keep our stuff with us while we snorkeled but were very diasppointed. The "tour" was crowded and chaotic, with multiple tour boats of about 50 people each cramming into one area of the water. We could see the shore from where we were and realized we could have swam out to this spot without paying $20 per person!