1.) If you're a past cruiser on other lines such as Carnival, RCI, Princess, Celebrity, etc, etc...do not compare this cruise to any of those in terms of ship appearance and amenities. They have more money.
2.) If you're a first time cruiser, just get on board with an open mind and enjoy yourself.
Basically it's an outdated ship that has non-stop service all year round so it won't be all that fancy. Some elevators don't work, lamp shades can use replacing, blah blah blah...it's the Red Roof Inn of ships in a shipyard full of Hiltons, Sheratons and Marriotts. But, a FUN one at that.
My wife purchased our cruise through Groupon, a 2 day cruise to the Bahamas for 2 people in a superior ocean view room for $199? Damn right that's a good deal. However if you call and try to upgrade to a suite, they will not if your trip is purchased through Groupon. But...I'll let you in on a little secret shortly.
Boarding was a breeze, pull right up, hand the valet $30 and off your car goes. Take your luggage to the bag check in, give the attendant your room number and last name, he'll tag your bags and off you go into the building.
Inside is where the little secret from above comes in. They usually do not sell out the suites and offer them to any guest interested and at this point, they don't care how you got your tickets. They offered an upgrade to a deluxe suite for $249 total. Not per person, TOTAL. So we paid $199 + $249 = $448 total for 2 people in a royal suite!
Get on board, and it's just like any other cruise. Lunch on top deck, friendly faces, drinks flowing (for a charge of course) and your rooms are ready at 2:00 PM. We walked in our room and were a bit disappointed that this was a "suite" but hey, we paid $448 for this "suite" for a 2 day cruise to the Bahamas...we're keeping that in mind.
Not too many activities through the day other then pool time, water slide, hot tub and food.
After all the deck time we headed down to The Cove which is a dinner setting that requires an extra charge of $25 per person. But...WELL WORTH THE MONEY!!!! Food was awesome, service was well above attentive and friendly, so much that we made sure we filled out the comment cards just to compliment the service in that restaurant.
Most activities start in the evening, dancing, a variety show with some acrobats, comedy and singing and followed up with more dancing. Not a bad time at all. Dancing is open until 3:00 AM and all bars are open late so...practice self control. lol
Next day we spent at the Grand Lucayan Beach Resort which is A MUST. You get on the bus by 9:00 AM, arrive in 30 minutes and can stay as late as 5:00 PM. Beautiful resort, real fun, lunch included in package and a great time.
Back on ship by 5:30 PM with more top deck time. We went to the Crystal restaurant but the menu was a slight let down after eating at The Cove. Since both restaurants are close to each other, I ran to The Cove and asked if we can still be seated even though it was already 8:45 PM and they welcomed us. So yes, we're happy again.
More food, more drinking, more late night show and dancing.
Here's the part we hated: Getting off the boat. Nothing to do with the cruise line, it's the port that kind of sucks. You stand on line for nearly an hour before you finally get to customs and they let you through. The port is not as organized as it should be but, if that's the worse then we're ok with that.
All in all, if you get on board with the mind set to have fun rather then pick on everything, you WILL have a good time. Enjoy it for what it is...a 2 day getaway from the real world and to the Bahamas for a budget price. If that's not enough to make you smile, nothing will.