Let me start by saying this was my FIRST ever cruise. So, my only expectations were to relax and enjoy myself. Included in this trip was my family of 4 (2 adults/2 children).
Embarking: I have read some horror stories about getting on ships, but our experience went smoothly, only taking about 30 minutes.
Stateroom: Our room was ready as soon as we boarded, so we were able to drop off our carry on luggage and get a peek at our accomodations. We were on deck 7, in a superior ocean-view balcony room (7020). I admit, I was a bit surprised at how "tight" the quarters were. There was very little floor room, as the beds took up the majority of the space. There was, however, a fair amount of storage (drawers, closet space, etc). The shower was teeny-tiny! I had to twist myself into a pretzel just to shave my legs! Over all, the bathroom was just extremely small. The balcony was a fair size, and provided a nice view. Unfortunately, I was roomed next to a smoker whose cancer sticks caused me to choke, and I was only able to enjoy the fresh air when it was available. There was virtually no noise to speak of in our room. Sleeping was no problem at all. More than anything, we loved coming back to our room in the evening to find our beds turned down, and our "towel animal" posing for a picture. Our stateroom attendant was excellent and always kept our room neat and clean.
Adventure Ocean: My boys are 9 and 11, and were in the same age group together. For the most part, the staff was wonderful. My older son didn't get as much enjoyment out of the activities as my younger son did. While my 9 year old wanted to stay for the late night session (10pm to 1am) every night, my 11 year old was ready to leave at 10pm. The rooms are rather small, and a bit outdated. For example, there is an arcade the size of a closet, with only about 6 games.
The food: We only ate at "My Fair Lady" once. I'm not big on the "dressing up" thing, and prefer a buffet style dinner. The one time we did eat there though, the food was very good, as was the service. We spent most of our time in the "Windjammer". The waitstaff here was superb! Most of the food was delicious. We especially enjoyed the desserts, which were amazing. The only complaint I have is that the "Windjammer" was often overflowing with people. It is quite large, but still not large enough. Since the restaurants were closed by 9pm - 9:30pm, my kids also ate at the "Solarium", which is open past midnight. They thought the food was good. I can't comment, as I didn't try it.
Entertainment: We didn't visit the bars, dance clubs, or the casino, so we can't comment on them. We did enjoy the "sail-away" party by the pool upon leaving the port, the many bingo games, and the singers in the centrum.
Other things to do: We did use some games in the library, and also visited the RC online to use the computers. Also, I took a step class in the "ship shape" fitness center, and used some of the equipment. It is small, but can certainly give you a good workout just the same. The shops are nice to look at, but tend to be way overpriced. They push cigarettes and alcohol way too much!
Ports of call: We only had one, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This was fun, while very tiring at the same time. After an afternoon filled with walking and bus tours, we were plum tuckered out by days' end.
Overall: The weather was cold and windy, not at all like I had hoped for. But, you can't do anything about it. Because of this, we were unable to enjoy swimming, or try out the newly added "bungee trampoline". Due to high winds, it was closed most of the cruise, as was the "rock-climbing wall". So, while there were many things we didn't get to experience, we got a good feel for what cruising is all about.
Next time: We would like to try one of the bigger ships that offers more sports (basketball, skating, miniature golf, etc). Maybe, I'll be writing another review soon!