Early-50s mom cruising with mature and independent 16-year-old girl. Great itinerary to visit my dad in Fla. before boarding. We had a fabulous time, with carefully chosen excursions at all 4 ports and lots of fun or quiet reading in ... Read More
Early-50s mom cruising with mature and independent 16-year-old girl. Great itinerary to visit my dad in Fla. before boarding. We had a fabulous time, with carefully chosen excursions at all 4 ports and lots of fun or quiet reading in between. We never went in a ship pool, and thus avoided any louder kids under 10, but there were not many of those on June 8 week anyway. Indeed the whole ship rarely felt crowded, in part due to the crew's hard work and efficiency. Embarkation and disemb. both a breeze -- major kudos there! Medallions a great value-add that smoothed everything, every day. Loved having my stateroom unlock on my approach, and being able to locate anyone in your party on the many big screens around the ship.
FOOD: Don't let any reviews dissuade you on this basis. I'm a major S.F. foodie who cooks a great deal myself--but boarded with "appropriate" expectations for a cruise ship serving 2000+ passengers. I am here to tell you: SOLID job, and sometimes outstanding. Food was reliably very good throughout the week, with lots of variety, including for "traditional" dining. There were just a few disappointing dishes or appetizers, compared with a solid handful that were truly excellent. We never ate in Planks, Steamers, or any other specialty restaurant as there was simply no need. The World Fresh Marketplace (buffet), excursion lunches, the International Cafe and Slice for occasional snacks, and Palm Dining Room had it all covered very nicely.
ENTERTAINMENT: Only went to the theater two nights, as we were tired after shore days and 7:30 dinner. Comedian was HILARIOUS (and I went in skeptical)! Really, I laughed so hard I cried. ;-) Production show the first night was good but just not our cup of tea. Never went to casino, but our dining companions did and had a great time.
CABIN: We had a big balcony on deck 10 mid-ship---a major plus. Room itself wasn't beautiful to look at (finishes need refreshing), but great beds and amazing amount of storage ... we packed appropriately (not over or under) and never even used two of the desk drawers. Except in the tiny bathroom; there I strongly recommend the cruise trick I picked up online beforehand: a $15 (Target) shoe holder hooked over the bathroom door---presto, 20 clear pockets to hold all your stuff, in easy reach of the shower and sink.
PORTS: Had a great time in all. The tour guides work so hard to please! MUST BRING each day: 5s and 1s for tips, other cash for the less commercial vendors who can't take cards, sunscreen, and most importantly: one *reusable* water bottle from home for EACH person, which you should fill with ice and then top with water at World Fresh Marketplace before leaving the ship. Especially in Roatan, the one port with inadequate sources for drinks onshore where you meet your guides, and the most intense sun! We aimed to avoid using disposable plastic bottles, and it was just good to know we had ice water on hand to start each day. Even bringing all that water, we still had to buy Arizona iced teas along the way, in addition to the drinks served with our cooking lesson in Cozumel (awesome!!), catamaran lunch on way back from snorkeling in Roatan (best roast chicken I can remember eating in my life), etc. Caribbean in June is very warm.
VIBE/ACTIVITIES: Lots of variety; something for everyone, especially on sea days--though I would have liked to have a yoga class in the mornings. Very recent movies in cabin and on big screen near pool on Lido Deck, for those who want that. Great that they showed Game 6 of the NBA Finals in a big lounge! Average age of passengers 58-62, I'd say, but plenty of older folks and also lots of families. No rowdy teens or heavy drinking, at least that I ever saw going to bed by 10:30 every night. No overselling of art/jewelry/future cruises, and I'm very sensitive to that; we were able to enjoy looking at everything with only mild overtures that we respectfully declined and that was that.
Overall I thought it was a great value for the price paid. Having waited a week to write this, the experience has "grown" in retrospect to one I'll think super-fondly of for years to come. Read Less