You will have a Wondeful time especially if it is your first cruise.
You will have nothing to compare it to. Most complainers have been on several cruises and they compare to past cruises. I too am going on a cruise Feb 13. We are sailing on the Conquest. It will be our 2nd cruise. Of course I will be comparing everything to the first one which was on Vision of the Seas which I loved.
WE are sailing with all the kids and grandkids. It will be their first. I am more excited to see how they like the cruise than for myself. It is hard to beleive that many people can be on one ship and you don't feel crowded but it is true. As for any crowds at the buffet if it is crowded and you don't like it go at a time that is not as crowded or choose to have room service which is very good or eat in the diningrooms for breakfast and lunch. As for getting off the boat don't go first thing in the morning when everyone else is trying to get off. Wait till 11am or even later. There won't be any crowds at all. You only need a couple hrs to shop. Never take all your money with you. Rooms usually have safes. Only take what you are willing to spend in port. Also if you were to lose your money you would not lose all of it. I kept my purse locked in the safe the whole cruise. Never carried my purse off the ship. Let hubby carry the money and or credit card. WE usually went with $50.00 each port. Glad I did or might have spent a lot more. We were shopping for Tee shirts and shot glasses and the couple we were with were shopping for diamonds!
What a great present for your mom!
My mom is 71. I tried to talk her into going but she said no. Tried talking my mother- in-law into going. She is in her 80s. She too said no. Both are not in the best of health but I thought it would be great for them. I did not think they would want to get off the ship but you do not need to get off the ship in port. You can stay on and enjoy yourself in a near empty ship by yourself. NO crowds!
Have a great time on your cruise and come back and tell us how it was....Bon Voyage!