My wife and I chose RCI and this ship because of previous experience with other RCI cruises and we wanted to see more of the Caribbean. The ship is beautiful, safe, clean and the service is excellent in all areas. We enjoyed the service and food in the Restaurants as we found the Winjammer to be more suitable for families and those that did not want to 'dress for dinner'!
It is very easy to get away from the crowds and 'do your own thing' but it is nice to meet people and share experiences. However, whilst we asked to sit at a table with other guests, we only ever saw 2 other diners at our table as many cruisers chose to eat in the Winjammer !
The negatives are large and certainly influenced my opinion of the cruise but, more importantly, of Royal Caribbean. They seek to extract money from you are very opportunity. There is a charge of US65c per minute for the internet (it is free in the cheapest hotels and cafe's all over the world ! They $2.50 for a bottle of water that you can buy on land for less than a dollar but will not let you bring any liquids on board ! If you buy wine or liquor when on land (including excursions)they confiscate it when you return to the ship and return it to you when you depart! They will not even let you fill a water bottle from the water dispensers in the ship! The excursions are totally over-priced and many (in the Caribbean particularly) are not only disappointing but often very unsafe! Check with the Excursion staff before booking and find your own way around the islands. The tipping issue is a major discussion point with the guests. You pay $50 per person upfront when you book and then share this out before you depart with the Cabin Staff, Waiter, Assistant Waiter and Head Waiter who only comes to your table once a night to say Hi ! All purchases of food, wine, drinks, coffee, ice cream have a 15% gratuity charge added automatically. Check when signing as you may inadvertantly add another tip !
I hope RCI start to recognise and do something about these complaints otherwise their reputation will suffer.