Our first cruise was a 7 night in '09 on Freedom of the Seas out of Port Canaveral. This ship was a bit of a "step down" but thoroughly enjoyable.
Embarkation: we were within a day's drive of the Norfolk cruise terminal so we opted to drive this time. The terminal is in downtown Norfolk within close proximity to large downtown hotels. We did not spend the night in a hotel as we're retired military and had access to the much less expensive option of staying at the navy base 10 minutes away.
The buses from the off-site parking lot began running at 10 a.m. Porters took care of the bags and we were off to the terminal several blocks away. We were the first bus to arrive but were held in the terminal for a couple of hours along with all the other later arrivals due to technical difficulties at the terminal. Since we were early we had comfortable places to sit. Others were not so lucky - they were lined out the door.
We didn't book any excursions just bought two day bus and ferry passes from Guest Relations on board and planned one destination: Horseshoe Bay. We wanted to let the rest of the day unfold as we went. We walked off the ship, onto the bus and were on the road in five minutes. The beach was a beautiful sight! There were a lot of people there but it was relatively early so wasn't too bad. Even as more people arrived it never seemed crowded. There are several other beaches within walking distance of that beach so the crowd dispersed. There's a snack bar at the beach but we wouldn't call it a place for lunch. Good restroom and changing facilities for a beach location.
We took the bus from the bay to Hamilton and had a very nice late lunch at La Tratorria downtown. After shopping for a while, we took the ferry back to the Dockyard. On day two we spent our time in Kings Wharf. There's lots of shopping, crafts, activities and history there.
Summary: this is a cruise I would take again. If we had it to do over, we would have taken the bus to St Georges and Hamilton the first day and Horseshoe Bay on day two as we ended up without the time to see St Georges. I guess we have to go back!!