Like with all things, planning is key, a good attitude is a must, and making the best of it will make the difference. Don't sweat the small things! Try new things. Make friends!
4 out of 5
Process was a bit overwhelming but we got through it. Having to go to our Muster stations soon after boarding added to the stress but that too was over quickly.
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
Lots of food everywhere up to late at night. We chose to stay in the family harbor section so we had access to kid-oriented buffets for all meals only steps away and that was great in a pinch. The espresso machine in there was awesome to have so close. Overall the food was so so. Some was fantastic and some was no better then the cafeteria food one remembers in elementary school. Orders in the main dining rooms were not always right and sometimes took a bit of time to get but understandable with the number of people being served. Though there was a $10-15 cover for the specialty restaurants, we did them a lot because the food was 5x better and there were not many people in them. The pizza that was available 24/7 was really good and a welcome surprise. My family is lactose-ovo vegetarian (cheese and eggs are ok but not fish or meat) and it was tough to find healthy good food a lot of times. No one can live on pasta, bread and salad ...... Drinks were always good but we paid for the booze package for the adults and paid more for the soda package for the kids so they could have juice (our kids don't drink carbonated sugary drinks....).
4 out of 5
We did the mini-golf, the sky cycle (though the lines were over an hour long all the time), did the sky obstacle course (though one side was easy, the other was much harder and kids did get backed up when some became to scared to continue and had to be helped finish), did the 4D ride (was fun but short and $$$ for what it was), did not do the iMax but others said it was great. The pools were ok but very busy all the time and by early PM the water was 50/50 sunscreen and gray/cloudy (YUCK - but they do completely drain the pools each night!). There is an additional pool that is in the Havana section and private to that level/cost until 7 PM then open to the public at large. Did not use the hot tubs but there we a number of them near all the pools and two more at the 15 floor deck just for 18+ (not sure why anyone wants to use one when its sunny and 95 degrees). Did not sue the bb court, fitness center, spa, and a ton of other amenities.
Did our own thing. The entertainment was loud and crowded most of the time. We did go to two comedy events and they were good.
5 out of 5
We had our 10 and 14 year olds with us. They younger used the Kid program/center and loved it. Of course had to be dragged to it and then dragged from it.... LOL
The 14 year old tried it once, again kicking and screaming, made a few friends but then did not go back. She tired both the younger teen group and the older teen group and said it was either too crowded or too loud (music) or too goofily / activities not of interest but that could be more a personal choice - tough age.
Service and Staff
4 out of 5
Overall the staff and service was great. Many exceptional experiences and one or two bad ones. Room staff was awesome!
4 out of 5
There were times you could not get to the other side of the deck we were on unless you went down one floor (or up), walked over and then went back to the floor you wanted to be on. The app was ok but had no use in terms of navigation - no real time you are here and this is how to get to where you need to go.
But we got the hang of how to move around. Elevators were useless both because too many people used them (even to go up or DOWN one floor) and lost of times it seems someone (kids?) pushed every button... We were on the second deck in the rear which seems not great but we were away from all the noise and near the embarkation and debarkation points so bonus for us at every port. One can of course argue this point. The ship was fairly clean and it was clear that a LOT of work went on to keep it that way 24/7 - but in the end it is likely impossible to keep clear, clean and tidy all the time, so we did run into dumped food in the halls and really gross bathrooms from time to time.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
Cabin was surprisingly big and was clean. We had an accessible cabin not because we needed it but thats just what we ended up with the late booking and it turned out to be just great. Beds were so so but we were so exhausted most night it didn't matter. We had two big windows that had enough room for even an adult to sit in and view the ocean. Bathroom was big and clean and had all you needed. Water pressure was ok most of the time and temperature was ok too - most of the time.... well designed I should add.
You get a free 2 liter bottle of water at dinner if you ask for it - so you don't have to pay the $4 if you use the ones that are in your room.
Pay the extra cover for use of the specialty restaurants - the food is MUCH better and you don't have to eat with humanity.... do this at least once!
Since everyone does this - do grab a chair by the pool early... everyone puts a towel on a few in the AM even if they don't use them till hours later. Suck that people do this and force you to do it too but that is often the only way to get a chair by the pool. We did hang out several times and got one as nice people left from time to time AND took their stuff with them - we just felt too guilty 'playing' that game.
The movies at night on the Lido deck by the pool were great too, both the kids movies and the adult movies.
We got on the ship at Miami after arriving the day before and staying on South Beach at a hotel - so did our own thing and loved it. When we got off after the cruise we went back to the hotel how agreed to hold our bags for 6 hours and let us use the facilities while we waited for an evening flight. I'm sure it wasn't protocol but we timed a few folks, winked with them and it all worked out.
We did the tubing and booked before the trip via AA who hooked us up to the cruise to begin with for $50.
IT WAS FANTASTIC, the tooting was fun, the beach we ended up on was private and nice. Food and drink was available but for more $ and not that much more. The ride from the ship to the river was 80 minutes not the 35 advertised but it was ok. We stopped to pick up others at resorts and that is what added to the travel time. On the way back it was much faster. The tubing guide was just awesome.
We did sub for $100 and it was really worth it! Everyone goes to stingray petting and what not... we just wanted to be away from the big crowds. It was our big splurge and we got our money's worth. Got back in time for some local shopping that was not too easy to do in Jamaica.
We did the paddle boarding and snorkeling for $60 and that was just fantastic. The resort we went (Club Cozumel Caribe) to was big, clean, had a pool, had all the amenities and both the guests and the staff were just great to be with. We stayed all day and had a blast. Food was extra but still super. Like with any stop, eat a big breakfast, snack on the excursions and treat yourself to one drink then get back on the ship for the free food and depending on your choice the drink package you paid for....
4 out of 5
It was a bit stressful but we let them pick up our bags the night before and so it was easier to get off without them. I saw may folks struggling to get off with all their stuff..... We just did breakfast, took our time getting off and had not much trouble at all picking up our gear once off the boat and getting past security/customs and the rest.
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