I was nervous about going on this ship since I knew it was a budget cruise. I bought the deal on Groupon, which was 50 percent off the regular prices. I cruised with my husband in an ocean view cabin.
The cabin was very clean and spacious. There was plenty of room for luggage and hangers for your clothes. The full ocean view window let in so much light you didn't even need to turn on the lights during the day. The size of the bathroom was bigger for a cruise ship too. The only problem with the shower was that it sprayed water all over the floor, so the bathmat would get wet every time you used the shower. There is also no safe in the room, but we didn't find that to be a problem. We left our iPad and laptop in the room and had no issues.
The cabin steward was great. He introduced himself to us as soon as we approached our door and shook our hands. Throughout the trip, he always asked us if we needed anything. Just a great guy. Even the cabin steward down the hall was very helpful if our's wasn't around.
The food was pretty average - nothing special, but not horrible. We ate at the buffet near the pool deck. Everything tasted good and there was a roast beef carving station one day. In the morning, they have an omelette station at one of the bars. The only problem with that is people decide to eat at the bar too, so it feels like they are eating on top of the cook. The other issue was that there was no sanitizer in the dispensers anywhere on the ship. Thank god I bring my own and no one got sick.
Food in the Crystal dining room is much better than the food in the Rio buffet/Brazilian steakhouse. The service is better in the Crystal room too. If you've been to a Brazilian steakhouse, the Rio will be a joke to you. They have gauchos with skewers of chicken, pork and sausage, but no red meat. Most of the meat was dried out, but the sausage was pretty good. Dessert in both restaurants was just OK. I have a real sweet tooth, so nothing they had really satisfied it. Good thing they have a trattoria with good desserts and espressos and lattes for $4 (combo dessert meal). The trattoria also has pizza (pretty good), pasta (not that good), soups and sandwiches (didn't try).
The casino was bigger than I expected, but most of the machines had trouble recognizing the paper tickets cashed out from other machines. It was pretty empty in there most of the time. I didn't really see/hear anyone winning.
Don't expect much with the entertainment - singers and some acts. Karaoke was actually the most entertaining venue.
The pool is like an aquarium packed with people. It's above ground, so you can see everyone swimming in it. It's very small and had way too many people in it. There are 2 jacuzzis that were filled with kids every time you walked by. There is a kid section in the back of the ship with two water slides. Not bad for such a small ship.
There was a mix of passengers on this ship. I saw everything from family reunions, weddings, bachelorette and bachelor parties, etc. There were old and young people and lots of families. There were also a group of crazy drunks, but no one got out of control and there were no issues on the ship.
Overall, it's a good cruise for the money, but I wouldn't pay full price for it. Keep an eye out for last minute deals or Groupons. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the service, food and atmosphere.