The process of getting on board the ship was fairly painless. I flew into Ft. Lauderdale and was greeted by the RCCL rep, who directed me to a waiting shuttle bus. I packed for a 15-day cruise, so I had two nearly 50 lb suitcases, plus a carry-on. That's a lot of luggage for a lone woman to handle! There were carts available at the airport to rent, but it would have been nice to have a porter to help. I was there about 2 hours before boarding time, but was allowed to board early. There was a long line at check-in, even though I had filled out all the forms online which stated it would make check-in quicker and easier.
The first 8 days of cruisng was a REAL vacation! I had a balcony room (which I recommend for anyone who is on a ship that long) and enjoyed watching the ocean whenever I had a chance. The cruise line had a jam packed itinerary for all passengers. I didn't need all the activity, but according to the daily updates, more people than they'd counted on were taking part in the activities. I especially enjoyed the daily lectures and evening entertainment.
The food at the Windjammer was just okay. On a scale of one to ten, I'd have to give it a five. The same with the main dining room. Just okay food. I ate at two specialty restaurants, Chops and Portofino, and the food there was excellent.
My cabin steward, Ray, was outstanding. He was so kind to me and though I didn't require much attention, he was always nearby with a smile and willing attitude. The waiters in the main dining room were excellent, as well. I really enjoyed getting to know them. I was seated with 5 of the most interesting and lively women, who I enjoyed tremendously. Thanks to all of them for making dinner time the highlight of my day!
There was a fantastic ice dancing show that required getting special tickets. That didn't go so well, in my opinion. We were told tickets would be handed out at 10:00 one morning. (This was the second round of ticket giveaways.) I went down at about ten minutes before hand, and the line already spread over the length of the ship. I probably stood in line for 45 minutes. I believe that could have been handled differently. Why not just have the room attendants leave tickets under the door?
On the first day of excursions in Tenerife, it was a nightmare--a complete and utter failure of the activity director (or whoever handled it) to have an organized departure for those taking tours. We stood in line and then were seated, waiting, for over an hour--time that was supposed to have been spent on our tour. After complaining loudly--on the phone and in writing--I was refunded a portion of my fee, and then the following days the tours went smoothly. Hundreds of people were digusted on that day and I'm sure made their voices heard.
We had some problems with people saving seats in the Metropolis Theater--when there were signs everywhere, and announcements everywhere, that saving seats was prohibited. Some people just don't like to follow rules. It makes it very frustrating when you go early enough to get a good seat, only to find that someone is saving 8 seats for friends who don't get there until 5 minutes before show time. I believe that could have been handled by having ushers seat everyone. First come, first serve. Instead, people were rude and unkind--on both ends.
I didn't visit the movie theater on board one time, primarily because the movies weren't any good. Also, they ran the same movies over and over on TV. It would have been nice to have a better selection. CBS was the TV station providing some shows, and they ran the same shows the entire trip. Why couldn't they have recorded a couple of weeks worth of shows, instead of repeating the same things?
My cabin was excellent. The staff was excellent. There was plenty of entertainment for whoever wanted it. So aside from a few glitches, the cruise was fun and left me with mostly good memories.