This was our first cruise ever and we absolutely loved it - cannot wait to go again and again!Embarkation was slow, but with 3,000 people boarding at once, what do people expect? It only took about 35 minutes from entry to the 1st line to the time we were in our cabin - really not too bad.The food was terrific and PLENTY of it. This is not ultra gourmet cuisine, but there were some delightful gourmet touches - Grand Marnier souffle, lobster tails, spinach and feta ravioli, chateaubriand - not too shabby, folks. Our waiter, Henry (Atlantic Dining Room, table 164, late seating) was a joy - very funny (and what a dancer) and his servcie was great. Our assistant waiter, Sebastian, though, was a bit slow - we had to ask for water refills.The buffet was always plentiful and the food was fresh and delicious. The lines are long, though, at peak times, so try to go at off-peak times.It was our 15th anniversary and the waiters came by with a cake and also sang "Happy Anniversary" to us - really very nice.The 2 main show spectaculars were just that -laser lights, great singers (especially Sherrell), dancers, and the best 10 piece orchestra. Fantastic.The Cruise Director, Corey Schmidt is sooooo funny and very talented - great bird/magic act. He had my husband and I laughing every time - very innovative, too.The Cruise Director staff ran other fun games and shows/contests, etc. and they were also top-notch.Our cabin was quite comfortable and roomier than we had expected. Especially surprising was the bathroom. Yes, you can actually bend over in the shower and still have room. A disappointment though was that there were not gift baskets or amenities in the room (as had been stated there would be in recent press releases). No shampoo or hand lotion. Good thing we brought our own, just in case.Our room steward, Rickey, was a delight. Really nice guy. Kept our room spotless. We especially loved the animals he made out of the towels (including use of our sunglasses) every night. On the whole, we'd both say that the entire staff couldn't have been nicer. Everyone seemed to go out of their way to do whatever they could for us. EVERYWHERE on the ship - waiters, pursers, photographers (great shots, too - we bought a bunch of them), gift shops. Never encountered one person who wasn't helpful and friendly - not in a forced/phony way, either. They truly seemed to be wanting to help you.The elevator lines can be a problem at times. Be prepared to wait.The ship itself is quite beautiful - not overly glitzy and tacky. The ocean theme is carried throughout in many different ways and is quite lovely.We loved the karaoke in the Red and Black Seas Lounge - happy hour there was always a lot of fun.At night we loved going to the Seven Seas Lounge to listen to the piano player (and, on some night, a classical trio) - just great.The casino is big, but could use more table games. It seems to be a slot players heaven, though. Some nights, the blackjack tables filled up fast and it was difficult to find a table. The dealers, however, were exceedingly professional. Though they may be young, they were very good and quite friendly. They gave out some very good advice to not only myself, but others at a few different tables I was at. (By the way, I ended up winning every night but one, so I have no complaints as far as that goes.)On the whole, just cannot say enough about this trip - can't wait for the next one. It was just wonderful!
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