We were a little unsure of what to expect on a ship this size. Would it be too much? Overwhelming? Lack personability? Seeing that 4 other ships were boarding from the same port the same day also concerned us.
We arrived at the Port right about 12 noon on Saturday the 31st. We were on board by 12:20pm. We stopped up the grab a bite at the Park cafe and a drink to toast our start of vacation. Room was ready at 1pm with our bags waiting for us.
We had a Central Park Balcony room. The room itself was great. Clean, spacious plenty of closet space- I will say I could have used a little more drawer or shelf space. Two people seven days with shorts, tanks etc takes up a bit of room. Could have used a few more hangers, but I am sure Duane would have brought us more had we asked, I had packed about 10 from the dry cleaners because I knew we would not have enough. The only note I have about the Central park balcony is it could be very loud. We loved the view and would do a Central Park one in the future- however would make sure the room was on the other half of Central Park Somewhere between Trellis Bar and the Coach shop. 10th, 11th or 12th floor. We were above Chops and the view was wonderful, especially at night. I would pick the lights, trees and stars over an ocean view any day. Not much to see when it is dark looking out at an ocean. The noise came from the pools on the 15th floor, which meant from 7am until 8pm there were lots of kids having fun. Simply walking about 10 rooms down the noise was drastically lessened.
First day, we just kind of got a feel for the ship, Grabbed a few drinks and got ready for Halloween. I was a tad disappointed in the Halloween aspect of the ship. I had really hoped there would be a little more planned for it, the party was ok but that was all there was. After hearing about haunted houses and stuff in the past felt a little cheated.
Nassau was not a favorite of ours, but I won't say I have any complaints. We found a great beach and would definitely spend more time there next time around. Loved picking up a bottle of Tortuga Rum and trying the rum cakes!
St Thomas- loved Magic Ice Bar- it was just really cool to see the intricacy of the ice work. Wandered trough downtown a bit then caught a taxi to Emerald Beach. Had some great mahi tacos and Cruzan drinks prices were great, live music playing beach a bit rocky but was a nice little place we would hit up again.
St Maarten- by far my favorite stop! My must stop places were Elements jewelry. The pieces are hand made in Bonaire and they are stunning- so bright the literally glow. And just past the ship in the Spice Shop- grabbed some great spices and vanilla, owner was a sweetheart even threw in a few things at no charge because I said my daughter was in culinary school.
We hit the beach just outside of downtown, rented two chairs and got 4 drinks for under $20. Next time we will venture to the French side of the island.
I will say I was so sick of the high end jewelry shops by the 3rd port that we skipped most of the shopping district.
Theme nights/formal nights- are what you make of them. While some went into the dining room in shorts and t-shirts we enjoyed getting to dress up. Formal nights were both fun for us, but did notice a lot of people opted not to dress up, again it's a personal choice. I love the chance to dress up and have fun.
Park Cafe: We ended up here nearly every day for a quick snack, fresh salad or beef sandwich.
Cafe Promenade: Will say it was a step above Carnival food, but was not the best option on the ship and with it being the 24 hour option, would have loved a little higher quality.
Silk/Main dining room: For starters- we never saw any of our table mates, so would have liked a smaller table since it was just the two of us every night. But our waiter, assistant waiter and barman were are great! There were a few items we did not thoroughly enjoy, but it was few and far between. He had duck a few nights prepared differently and each was delicious. Room was never overly loud, the children around us were always well behaved ( great job parents!!!!!)
American Icon: We dined for breakfast a few times and tried lunch on the final sea day. My eggs ben off the menu was great and the other day I stuck with granola and fresh fruit. the only day I would say was "meh" was the day that featured chocolate- he ordered the chocolate pancakes, which were just a pancake with a chocolate syrup drizzle. They were just basic nothing exciting. I just had a few bread basket items and asked for a side of bacon, I was given a plate fully loaded with bacon. I expected 2 maybe 4 slices- I seriously had to have had 20 pieces on the plate- just a huge waste. Lunch the one day we ate down there was ok, we ended up with the buffet because our waiter pushed the buffet, though we said we would most likely order off the menu, he said he'd be back to take our order- we pretty much never saw him again.
Sorrentos- All I can say is it is drunk late night pizza. not horrible but not very good either
Room Service- we tried several things and for the most part was good. The Bee Stung Fried chicken was awful!
Giovannis was the only paid restaurant we tried. For $25 per person, we had an antipasta platter that was WONDERFUL, mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto on a kalamata loaf- I could have just had that and nothing else and been VERY VERY happy. Caprese salad was ok, tomatoes a little under-ripe, but it is also November. The prosciutto wrapped chicken breast and lamb were both very good, as were the mashed potatoes and polenta. The mushroom risotto was comparable to any I have had when living in DC, the asparagus cooked perfectly. Desserts were all very good.
Windjammer- we are not rally buffet people, but we did stop in a few times and don't have any complaints, it's buffet food and for buffet food it was not bad.
Solarium- I eat very healthy all year, but I can also be a picky eater- quality was good, just was not able to find anything that really worked for either of us protein wise.
Boardwalk dogs- good selection, decent product.
Johnny Rockets- was my least favorite food the entire time! Had breakfast one day, eggs were over cooked and were the only ones that did not taste fresh. He had the eggs with sausage, never got the toast or hasbrowns that supposedly came with it. I got the omelette. Both our plates were lukewarm and my hashbrowns were very oily. Ended up hitting Park Cafe for muffins(the oatmeal muffin is TERRIFIC!) and bagels.
We had the Premium Package and never found one drink that was not covered cost wise.
The selections were great, Bartenders automatically pulled Grey Goose or Patron for any standard drink. They were patient when I wanted something special made.
Boleros had killers mudslides, the Grand Sangria was one of my favorite drinks of the trip! Music in Boleros could get a bit loud, but it was a fun environment.
Champagne Bar- I loved Talitha! She was just a lot of fun and mixed great drinks. The bar is beautiful and relaxing.
Schooner- while the decor wasn't my fav, the drink menu was probably my favorite of all the bars. They had a great piano player.
Solarium- Paul and Ernesto were both great
Trellis- My favorite bar- sitting out in Central Park, was just perfect.
Blaze- we only made it to Blaze once regretfully- I really liked it, but there were so many other options!
Sports Bar- we never really made it in to have a drink
Atlas- inventive drinks, fun Pub environment.
Dazzles- this one disappointed me- not because of staff or drinks but rather that we never really got to enjoy it. The place is spectacular, but it was always 80's night or Michael Jackson Tribute night, Disco night, 70's night........Nothing I could have dragged him to- or myself.
Comedy- Club is cute, bar service was lacking- but that tends to be a problem at comedy shows on ships in general. Comedians were good, but not very interactive with the audience.
Come Fly with me- I loved loved loved the show! Great show, great choreography, and great aerial work
Oasis of Dreams Water show- our originally scheduled one was cancelled as we had hit some rough seas. They rescheduled for Friday. the show was great, but you could tell the performers were tired. We had watched rehearsal a few times and they were on point. At the show they were out of sync and it almost felt rushed- still amazing show for being on a ship!
Frozen in Time- Wow-, the sand art alone was worth the show. But they really did a great job on such a limited size rink.
Love and Marriage show was a lot of fun, but they usually are.
Quest- was a blast! Was annoyed to see parents taking their 12/13 yr old kids in there but that did not deter any of the adults from having a great time! Great job Drew!
Prohibition Party- Ok, this is a paid event $35 per person. I am torn on this one - on some aspects they hit this one out of the park. Overall the event was fun. The little extras were a great touch. I think that rather than just bringing out 4 different cocktails without a description doing a drink menu and allowing you to select from that with some knowledge of what you are drinking would be better. I also would have loved a bit more decoration. I have put on a few myself and might just be a bit picky but a little more decor would be great, considering there really is no overhead putting $100 into decorations could take it from a good event to a great event!
My only honest complaint was the salon. For the 2nd formal night I had a very 1940's old Hollywood style dress. So I decided to pay the $60 and go have my hair styled to save me the time and frustration of getting a 40's style look myself. Walked in waited 25 minutes after my appointment. Not a big deal. Explained that I was looking for a very 1940's Hollywood glam look. Offered to show photos of what I was looking for. He was determined I was getting curls, I specifically told him Large waves was fine but I did not want anything super curly. For over an hour he worked on my hair keeping me turned from a mirror. Then would stop put something on the eyes or a different facial cream. Then spent 10 minutes talking to me about those products- I felt like I was only there to be sold a product I did not want. Finally he turns me around and my hair has been teased, curled and fluffed - Seriously looked like I was ready for Junior prom in 1985. I walked into our cabin and it was so bad the BF asked is they hadn't had time to get me in...... I walked straight to Guest Services and told her what I had asked for and she apologized and apologized and could not figure out how 1940's turned into what I got.... I was refunded and spent an hour doing my own hair.
For 6,200 people on board we honestly never felt like there was even 1,000 on board even on sea days. The only exception was the Parades which we missed as there were just too many people to even see anything happening.
Will definitely be back for more!!!