I booked this cruise at the last minute, about a month before it departed as a short spring break trip for my wife and daughter who is a freshman in college. My wife and I hadn't been on a cruise in over 25 years and weren't sure ... Read More
I booked this cruise at the last minute, about a month before it departed as a short spring break trip for my wife and daughter who is a freshman in college. My wife and I hadn't been on a cruise in over 25 years and weren't sure what to expect or how our daughter would enjoy it, however, a good time was had by all.
Getting on and off the ship was really easy. We arrived at the ship about 5 hours before departure so going through the security and boarding lines only took maybe 15 minutes. We did the self-check out getting off the ship, and since our cabin was on the same deck and near the gangway, we got off in literally 10 minutes, super fast.
If you are looking for the latest and greatest ship, this one isn't for you. The exterior of the ship showed it's age, and the interior decor is a bit dated, but it was very clean and comfortable so the appearance didn't matter to us. There was always a place to sit in the bars and public areas. The pool deck chairs in the sun filled up fast but we were able to find some. And we found plenty that were in the sun that were secluded away from the pool area if that is your thing. The pool bars are crowded, so at peak times it took time to get served. (Tip: Look for the waiters carrying the trays of rum runners and you'll get served quicker and it's a bit cheaper!)
We did not buy any of the drink packages and this turned out to be best for us since we were going to be off the ship for two shore excursions, even with the high individual drink prices - $10-12 for a rum punch type drink, $~18 for two Blue Moon beers, $7.50 for two cokes. All prices include the mandatory gratuity. If you don't specify you just want the free water you will get $4 Evian water. I was under the impression that "cheap" bottled water was free, but that was not the case as on the day of shore excursions they had staff selling it for $2 a bottle. Then at other times you couldn't find it anywhere and had to stand in line to get water in a glass. This lack of free water would be my biggest complaint on this ship.
The ship has a nice gym which we gazed at through the window but never entered. :-) However we did play ping pong, shuffleboard, and corn hole. The ship also has a climbing wall and bungee trampoline activities, and baby sitting if you need that.
We purchased the wi-fi package and found it to be fast and reliable for the little times we used it.
We also found the varied entertainment options on the ship to be enjoyable. Some were a bit cheesy like — Name that Lyric, 70's classic rock trivia, battle of the sexes, but still fun. The comedian show was very funny, and the RC singers and performers put on a good show. Basically if you like song and dance numbers, you'll be able to find something in your genre from the 60's to today playing somewhere on the ship.
The late night pool deck dance parties were filled with young and old dancers and played classic dance tunes from the 80's, 90's, and 00's.
Nightly movies were shown in the early evening on a big screen on deck. "Venom" and "The house with a clock in the walls" were playing during our cruise.
The casino was easy to navigate and not too smokey and the wait at the bar was acceptable. The buy-in's at the tables were only $5 which was nice.
The onboard shops had an assortment of go pro cameras, clothing, jewlery, and watches. My daughter bought a nice watch for her boyfriend at a significant discount, and of course tax and duty-free.
We ate all our meals in the WindJammer cafe because our daughter isn't a big foodie so didn't want to be on a schedule, get dressed up, and take up to 2 hours for the meal. I can imagine the food was great though, because the Windjammer offerings were fantastic. Lots of different types of food and desserts to choose from. There was also a 24/7 soft serve ice cream available and pizza at night. We were never hungry on the trip.
We took two shore excursions. One to Atlantis AquaAdventure in Nassau. The other snorkeling at the private beach Paradise Cove directly through Paradise Cove Snorkeling on Grand Bahama island. This was because our stop at CocoCay was cancelled due to construction so we docked at Freeport instead. Not sure how long the construction will last, but I would highly recommend this if you don't go to CocoCay.
However, I would not recommend the Atlantis AquaAdventure. It is not a good value given the high cost (almost $500 for 3 people) and relatively short length of time at the venue. The Atlantis resort is massive, and it takes a while to shuttle to the resort, walk through the casino and grounds to get to the water slide areas, find a place for your stuff, and stand in the lines. There are 8 large slides there and we only had time to do 6 of them in 4 1/2 hours.
Overall, this was a really nice trip that had something for my whole family. I would take another cruise again. Read Less