I booked this cruise for two main reasons: to obtain a ship's model to add to my collection; to experience this ship before she's re-positioned prior to being sold. I'd been aboard one of her sisters, Sovereign of the Seas, like 25 years ago or more. My ex-wife was aboard her 10 years ago and thought highly of her. My reasons had nothing to do with the itinerary--it was all about the ship. Although I'd spent time in both ports before, I did have a fine time shopping for cigars. On this one I was solo, traveling with a couple of friends including a married guy going solo. Embarkation was almost as smooth and easy as on MSC, light years beyond Carnival and NCL.
Love her size and decor. The Centrum, while a dated concept now, is simply stunning. The dining rooms are understated elegant, the bars are themed and full of details. Although she's showing her age, like an elderly queen, she wears it well. Bumps, wear and tear, nicks, gashes, dents appear everywhere--carpet tears are fixed instantly. She's easy to navigate, even with the elevators that don't go where you need it and those "Tween Decks."
Service is fine, unobtrusive and friendly without pushing. I was used to seeing and hearing the cruise director around ships, but on this one, she only appeared on TV and to introduce the theatrical acts. I didn't miss her. Although I noticed the length of the line at Guest Relations I had nothing to complain about and my bill was exactly as I expected. My favorites: Chen in the MDR, Sylvester at the Sky Cigar Bar and Raquel my cabin attendant.
It's a corner oceanview stateroom, turned sideways--perpendicular to the rest of them. With the two beds joined there's no room, so they turn the beds so the shelf below the window becomes the headboard. Lying down you're facing the wall with a lovely tropical painting instead of your television. If you want to read in bed, tough luck. Your reading light is on the right-hand wall across the bed. Alternative is your desk light, a stretch. I had to figure out that people could see into my cabin from the Promenade Deck. It took me two nights to figure out how to close the blinds.
Great manatee spotting.