We enjoyed a 5 day round trip from Barcelona on a recent Europe Cruise. It was our first RCCL cruise. We are a family, two adults in late 30's with a 2.5 year old. To make it easy, I'll segment the review into sections.
Room - our balcony was lovely. We were on the 6th floor, probably 2/3rds of the way towards the back - no noise, no movement. We thought the balcony was a very good size, perhaps bigger the HAL and Princess balconies. Our son slept on the couch, prepared as a bed each evening. Very happy with the room. Amenities such as soaps, etc are limited, but no big deal, take your favourites anyway.
Kids Club - our son loves playing with other kids and different toys, so he couldn't wait to get to the kids club. As he wasn't yet 3, he went into Royal Tots for $8 an hour and loved every second. The staff were so nice and our son would ask when he could go back, whilst we were picking him up! We utilised this service for a few hours in 2 ports and for one night to have a special dinner. The staff are so flexible and let the kids play, sleep and fulfill your requests. This was a big pro for RCCL, well done.
Food - the food was a little disappointing. I'd say it's average. We've been on HAL and their food is excellent, Princess I'd rate as very good. RCCL, we'd put at average - that said, you're never going to starve on a cruise. The buffett was probably better than the dining room. The dining room was fine, but just a little bland. Breakfast was disappointing. The eggs just weren't nice - not sure if they use powdered or not. But still plenty of other things like nice cereals and fruit, so probably better for that anyway. Room service was slow and again, a little bland. We were surprised there was no late night buffett, only the pizza joint and cafe down in the Promenade. The pizza wasn't fab BTW, oh well, again better for the hips!! We went to Portofinos' and that was very good. Also visited Johnny Rockets and that was yummy and worth it. My husband also gave the Cupcake Cupboard a good work out.
Entertainment - wow, you can't fault RCCL for this, can you? We went to the Ice Show which was excellent, the In the Air show, also very, very good and Saturday Night Fever (good). Doing all that in 5 days is pretty awesome. Plenty of bands and music around the place. The ship has a nice vibe. Also had 2 breakfasts with Dreamworks - the kids love this, it is a cute feature. In all honesty, there is too much to do - a good problem to have an excuse to return. This is where they invest the $$, which is a real point of difference.
Pool area, gym - The pool area for kids is awesome. The pools were a little chilly, but the spa was nice so all good. My husband had a wave lesson and enjoyed it. Nice they have a kids area and an adults area. The gym is amazing. My husband is a personal trainer and raved about the gym for weeks after. Very, very good.
Bars - the bars were nice and served generously, I guess due to price (but in line with bars on shore in most countries), they err on the side of over, rather than under. Found all bars nice with good atmoshere.
Ports - Cannes, Livorno, Civatecchia - Enjoyed a leisurely day in Cannes, just wandering around and enjoying the sun. we intended to go to Monte Carlo and see the sights more widely, but we were just enjoying having some time without the toddler and having a quiet drink. Cannes a lovely place to stop. In Livorno we shared a taxi with another couple and headed to Pisa (taxi cost 130 Euro for 4 people and then you can do what you want, the bus tour isn't much cheaper really....keep that in mind). Well worth the visit. As we were going to Rome after the cruise, we largely spent the day on the ship for that port and just went out for a beer mid arvo. The local area is small and they seem to have siesta time each day in the arvo. Many fellow cruisers made the trek to Rome, but be aware it's about 70-90 minutes each way so you need to be up and out early.
Service - the staff seemed a little overworked to be honest. Our room attendant was beautiful and made such a fuss of our little man. She was lovely. The dining room staff tried really hard, but often seemed to be a little muddled or confused. We still rated them highly on the exit survey though, as it seems RCCL assess them on that - which is a little unfair as it appeared they were short staffed, so that makes their job hard. We really did the impression they wanted to be great though - so maybe it's something RCCL needs to look at - are staffing levels fair?
The Ship - what's not to love - Liberty is massive, but well designed. I never felt like there were 5000 people onboard, yet she was full. They have designed it well. The Promenade feature is great. I think the ship's in good condition and has nice decor and atmosphere.
Overall - we enjoyed the cruise and would cruise with RCCL again, for the right itinerary, for the right price - but equally we'd go Carnival, Celebrity X or Princess. There are pros and cons with every cruise liner. You really can't go past the family element of RCCL though, for us with a little man, is important right now.
And let's face it - what's not to love about cruising - every day is great!