This was my fifth cruise; second as a family with kids. I was a bit nervous about going after reading some of the negative reviews but have learned not to believe all that you read and that some people like to complain!
I went with my husband and two children ages 6 and 8. We did Disney last year and they were really looking forward to seeing the "characters" on RC.
Although you cant compare with Disney, the characters were out enough for the kids to enjoy them although you do see only the same few the entire cruise. That being said...
EMBARKATION- So smooth! Much quicker than I expected. We were on board by 1130 only after waiting in line less than an hour. Leaving the ship it was just as quick although customs did hold the ship up for a bit.
FOOD-Just average. I wont complain as I was happy not to walk off the ship 5lbs heavier. The dining room food was decent enough and same with the buffet. Nothing extraordinary. Both my kids have food allergies and I was a bit disappointed they couldnt cater to that a bit more-especially because I made a point of telling them BEFORE we boarded. Disney bent over backwards for food allergies.
ROOM- We chose an inside promenade room and had connecting rooms for the 4 of us. They were average sized cruise rooms-tiny bathrooms but thats what most ships are. The one complaint was that the promenade was noisier than I expected. They had a night show at 1045-1130 that was extremely loud with music. If I had known we would be able to hear or that there would be shows so late, I would not have chosen that room.
HELP- I read some negative reviews about the help but I found just the opposite to be true. Everyone was extremely pleasant and helpful. We loved our room attendant John and of course my kids got a kick out of the "towel animals" he made each night.
SHOWS-Good-not great. The ice show was fun and the once upon a time show was incredible. Unfortunately the magician had "Technical difficulties" the night of our show and there was no apology to be made which was disappointing.
We lucked out on the weather yet didnt do too much on the islands. The private island was nice with a water park to play at for a fee. We chose to go to MAHO beach at St Marteen so the kids could watch the airplanes land right above us. It was fun for 15 minutes but wouldnt recommend it so much as the beach is clearly nothing special.
SHIP- clean, large but not to the point where you felt overwhelmed. I never felt like I couldnt get a seat anywhere and the pools had enough room in them for kids and adult. There is an adult only section that we didnt get to hang out at but looked lovely. My kids attended the kids camp every day and loved the craft activities and other things they did to entertain them. It was a win/win as it allowed my husband and I some grown up time.
Ive been on other cruise lines (Norwegian, Princess, Disney and Carnival) and this was my first w RC. It is definitely a step up from Carnival. If you want a strict family friendly cruise Disney is the way to go however this was a perfect mix for us. I doubt that I would choose RC as a vacation without kids as I do think theyre trying to make it very family friendly which was great for us. There were a lot of young couples on board and many families traveling as large groups.
All in all, we enjoyed ourselves. Was it the best cruise ever? No but we liked it enough to book the Oasis for next year!