February 2014 - Riviera to Caribbean
The ship was a good size, only 1250 people, and easy to get around. Food was excellent, only had one meal I did not care for. Service overall was excellent, only a couple of people were below standard. At least 70% of the guests were 60 years and above, though a few children were on board with their grandparents. However, there is nothing for children to do other than the pool, ping pong, and board games.
We had a balcony cabin on deck 8 and it was perfect. Plenty of room. And being able to open the door to let in the sea breeze was great. Full size tub, shower stall, sink and toilet in bathroom. The tub space took up some of the storage areas, but we were still able to store 2 peoples clothes by using the drawers at the desk. Holland America and Celebrity have a lot more storage. Suitcase just fit under the bed. Plenty of hangers. The beds were very comfortable. If you are allergic to down, then ask for different pillows and comforters right away. Our cabin stewardess was excellent and worked around our meal times and plans.
Eating is flexible dining and worked well. We had 4 free nights at the Specialty restaurants, ate in the Grand dining Room 3 times, and upstairs in the Terrace cafe 3 times. A very good selection at the cafe and you could eat outdoors. The sushi was fabulous and always fresh. Croissants made on board and were very flaky and light. Free water and soda at all times. In port, they have free water available to take off the ship.
The library was quite large and had a good selection. Spa very nice, the sauna, steam rooms and hot beds were free. Use of the outdoor spa area and thalosotherapy pool was complimentary if you had a treatment done that day.
Did not use the Casino, but it was average size with slot machines and a few tables.
The ports of call were good, but you need to get out and around the islands to really get the feeling. We just walked around town which was easy to do.
There is not much to do on board compared to Celebrity or Holland America. A few lectures, and of course bingo. The trivia contests were at the same time as Afternoon Tea, so we missed the activity. Afternoon Tea was lovely, with a good string quartet playing for the hour. A nice selection of pastries and savories.
Only tendered at St. Barts. The seas were a bit rough, so it went a lot slower than normal. But the island is beautiful.
Pool is average size, and only filled up on the last 2 sea days.
The only other disappointment was that the shows were at 9:45pm, which was way too late. A couple of nights they had one at 6:30pm, but we were eating dinner.
The art work on the ship is very modern and disconcerting, especially when you see the old masters on Holland America.
Embarkation was easy, got off the shuttle from the hotel, (we came down the day before), waited in line 5 minutes, then got our documents and we were onboard by 1pm. Rooms were not ready until 3pm, so we ate lunch and relaxed at the pool. Our bags were waiting for us when we got to the room.
Disembarkation was easy too. You sign up to let them know what time you want to leave, then wait for the announcement in one of the lounges. Left at 8am, easy to go through Customs and find our bag. There was a screwup with the shuttle company we had booked to take us to the airport, so climbed on another one. Got to the airport in plenty of time to catch an 11:45am flight.
But overall, we had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We went to rest and relax, and that is exactly what we did.