We chose this cruise because the timing was good, it ended up in LA where we could drive home to Phoenix and we needed 15 days to make Diamond level. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale 2 days ahead hoping to do some sightseeing but a cloudburst stuck with us for much of the 48 hours until we boarded which dampened our plans. We were glad we were staying in an Embassy Suites and had the extra room while we holed up indoors.
Overall, we thought the ship was well maintained for an older vessel. It was very nice that management worked to replace the Grand Cayman port that had to be skipped for weather with Huatulco--another Mexican port. The theater is beautiful, Centrum was very nice and cabins in good shape. This was our 20th cruise, on multiple lines, and this was probably the worst design we had ever seen for the buffet. The dining area is pretty but suffers multiple bottlenecks. Food lines are on each side as you enter the buffet so people coming, going and trying to get food items are all competing for limited space. Getting all your food items is kind of a scavenger hunt. Two of the 4 food lines were gluten free which I thought was excessive. Also, items like hard boiled eggs were in the GF line so you had to go through the regular line first and then back track if you wanted a normal item which happened to be also gluten free. I was very happy they had toasting stations because I like fresh toast. Lox plates and bananas were available on demand which was helpful. Biggest disappointment was that they eliminated the baked ham at breakfast--none for ham and eggs, none for eggs benedict--oh no! The Asian girl making omelettes is a wizard. Breakfast is hard to mess up and choices were pretty good. Service was very good and tables cleared very quickly.
We thought the buffet lunch was disappointing. Since hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza have no other home on the ship, they are on the buffet. Salad bar was well stocked and bread was great. Sandwich fixings were available daily. There were often a couple of Indian dishes which were pretty good. Hot and crispy French fries (especially the cajun) might have been the best I ever had on a ship! Hot food choices were very limited, quite bland and appeared in too many locations--more variety would be good. There was a carving station but meat was often very dry due to over-cooking. Desserts were very underwhelming and we were saved by chocolate chip cookies and the soft-serve machine.
Our inside cabin was pretty standard. Anton, our steward, was able to soften our bed with a topper which helped immensely. Pillows very good. We had the AC as low as it would go for the entire trip probably because of the heat outside. Bathroom with shower was in very good condition. I do not know if toilets are water-saving but they often required multiple flushes to do the job. TV reception was quite good and we were able to keep up with MSNBC while we were gone. There is adequate storage for personal items though it is a bit scattered around--ie, undies in the desk drawer etc.