we drove down the night before and stayed at the hampton in airport north. i think it was around 90$. i wouldnt stay there again because there were no restaurants around. we ended up eating at a subway down the street.
we got to the pier around 10:00 and were one of the first people there. There was a huge wedding party that was getting on the boat just for a wedding and getting off after it was over so it took a little longer than usual to embark. After all the weddings got taken care of it took about 30 minutes. I would get there early becasue by the time we got on the boat the lines were VERY long. we carried a case of water on board and some wine without a problem.
We had an E1 balcony stateroom. THis was our first balcony and we loved it!! We will never have an inside room again. The balcony was a nice size, just big enough for 2 chairs and a small table. The room was very spacious and had many places to store things. It was a nice size room for 3 people. There was 1 queen bed and a twin that pulled down form the ceiling. We stored our wine and beer in the mini fridge. We just told our room steward that we were taking the items out of the mini bar and that wasnt a problem. It's a good idea to bring extra hangers if you plan on hanging lots of clothes up. There is a hair dryer but it isnt very powerful. If you dont want to spend an hour drying your hair i would suggest bringing your own. There are 2 or 3 plugs in the room i think. We brought a power strip and that defiantly came in handy.
one word- EXCELLENT!! much better than carnival!! our room steward was the best we've ever had. he was very friendly and always got us what we asked for. Our waiters were very attentive as well. The staff in the windjammer was wondeful. They were always asking if we needed anything or if we needed somenting to drink.
I thought the food was great. We never had a bad meal. I heard a few complaints about the food but in my opinion it was super. I loved Jade, the asian restaurant that was located in the windjammer! my only complaint was that sushi was available from 6:30-9 and we had early dinner so we could never get sushi. Chops was fabtastic! I would compare it to a 5 star restaurant! We were incredibly full after we left there. The steak from chops was the best! we never did room service so i cant comment on that but there were lots of items on the menu.
THe entertainment was far better than carnival. THe cruise director, Ken Rush, was so-so. Ken said that the navigator had been voted #1 in entertainment for the past 6 weeks. There were 2 comedians, 2 singers, 2 production shows, and some magic acts. One of the comedians did an adult show that was pretty good. The ice show was wonderful. I think there were 4 seatings of it but noone had a problem getting a ticket. THey didnt even ask to see my tickets at the door. The krooze komics were hilarious! they entertained people before the shows and on the royale promenade. I wasnt really that impressed by THE QUEST that everyone was talking about, i thought it would be better.
lots to do on this ship! We loved the rock climbing, mini golf, art auctions, and iceskating. The pools werent very crowded, never a problem finding a deck chair. The solarium pool was beautiful and peaceful. SOme days it was hard to find a chair at the solarium. The parades on the promenade were beautiful. THere is one the first night and one the last evening. Our daughter who is 17 didnt really participate in the teen activites. She met LOTS of friends and they just did their own thing. THey loved going to the disco and just hanging out on the front deck.
Bahamas- We walked to the queens staircase and the water tower. It was about a 10 minute walk and it cost 1.50$ for the 3 of us to access the tower. THe view from the top is gorgeous!! We walked through the straw market but didnt buy anything and then we headed back to the ship.
st thomas- We booked the BOB excursion through the ship. it was sooo much fun!! for those who dont know what BOB is...it's an underwater scooter that you drive around. Your head gets put in abubble of air and you sit on the scooter. It's truely amazing! If you dont know what to do in st thomas defiantly BOB!! also..you get to snorkel on this excursion when your group isnt bobing. so it's really 2 excursions in 1. after the BOB we wandered around downtown and bought some liquor.
san juan- we walked to the fort, i can't remember the name..fort almirra? somenthing like that. THe fort was huge!! IT was absolutely beautiful! we walked back downtown and visited the shops then headed back to the ship.
Labadee- this was my favortie port. I thought it wouldnt be fun because it's rccl's private island but we all had a good time. The beach is very pretty. My daughter and I had a great time at the market. Talking the people into to cheap prices is always fun. Rccl had a nice barbeque lunch in the afternoon.
very fast! we were off the boat in 30 minutes only because it took a while to find our luggage. We had oragne tags so we were in the first group to get off. we left the boat at 8:30 and were in our car by 9.
all in all it was a wonderful vacation! i will never go on carnival again and i will never book an insde room again. I've probably left out many details in this review but if i missed anything please feel free to ask!!