My first cruise I chose the itinerary first. I knew where I wanted to go, and then selected the ship..funny thing is the main port I dreamed about seeing, [St Maarten] we missed....this happens sometimes, but I was sad..The ship you selected is amazing from everything I've heard on oue message boards.
Please check our our Cruisemate Kuki's blog, which will give you a look at what to expect....Cruisemates Blog » What Your Cruise Is Really Going To Cost ? Kuki
Pre and post cruising simply means going down early or staying after the cruise is over. Many cruisers will not fly down the day of a cruise, just in case any issues occur.
You do not have to dine at specialty restaurants, which incur a fee. The main dining room is there to enjoy. One cost that can build up fast, is buying pictures, so make sure to check the prices before you buy..get ready to be shocked!
You are not charged to come and go from the ship. Sometimes cruisers go back to the ship for lunch, while others like to try the local menus.