I really, really wanted to love this cruise. My parents booked it for our family plus my fiance for a final pre-wedding family vacation.
It was dreadful! I had read so many positive things about this cruise, I was flabbergasted at how terrible it was. I even paid the .65/minute for WiFi to re-check I had read the right reviews!
Getting on the boat was a breeze, everything else was a hassle. We had dinner reservations via My Time Dining the first night. Our waiter & waiter's assistant must have been having a terrible day. My mother ordered a glass of wine, they left the rest of the table drinkless to go run our Sea Pass card and bring back the receipt. My father asked for a roll and it took no less than 15 minutes for the assistant to return. The food in the dining room was mostly good but the service ruined it for everyone.
The other nights in the dining room were better, but the final night a manager was walking around asking about the surveys we would get the next morning. We explained to her the trouble we had had the first night, and she literally sat at our table interrupting our dinner for the next 5 minutes trying to get us not to leave a bad review. Seriously?
To top it off, the dining room manager almost got into a fist fight with a patron! The guy was clearly upset about something, slammed his table up & sent plates and glasses flying. They asked him to leave and the dining room manager literally had every curse word imaginable flying out of his mouth. I wondered if they were having some sort of serious political/religious issue because it was heated...but still funny. "Get the **** out of my dining room!" His response? "We're on a BOAT! Where do you want me to GO?!"
Mornings we had our breakfast delivered to our room. We learned very quickly to specify exactly what you want, but you still won't get it. I wrote very clearly on the form that we only needed yellow sweetener with our coffee. I also had to specify which pastries we wanted with our tray, otherwise we got a plate full of sourdough rolls and no croissants. We never got yellow sweetener in our room all 6 days we pre-ordered our breakfast.
Aside from the service, we spent a majority of our time waiting...mostly for the elevators. Had I not been in heels most nights, I would have used the stairs more. Want to eat at the Windjammer? Wait! My Time Dining? Wait in line, then wait in the chairs! Even when we went to empty Johnny Rockets, we waited 5 minutes for a table then another 10 in the sun while waiters stared at us and never came. We left and went to guest services. Giovanni's was by far the best food & service, waiter was amazing. The Seafood Shack was great too, a few people we met would only go there for dinner.
Do not ask for ice water - it comes with complimentary snarls and eye rolls. I'm sorry! It's 90+ degrees and I can't ONLY drink liquor!
I'll be 26 in August and had a hard time getting served alcohol. I look young, but a few bartenders tried trickery. I asked for a mango pineapple frozen rum drink. I watched the bartender pour juice in the ice-blendery machine and slide it over to me sans rum. He looked flabbergasted when I asked where the liquor was?! He poured Myers on top of it and charged me my $9. My 19-year-old brother had no problem being served anywhere we went though!
The shows were what kept me from total insanity. The water show was dreadful though, not remotely synchronized and frankly pretty weird. They also need to fix both of the big monitors and the sound system. The last morning starting at 8:00am they blasted the beginning of a Bon Jovi song for 20 minutes until they figured out how to turn it off.
Hairspray was fantastic, the comedy show was AWESOME! They spent the entire time ragging on the ship - hitting on everything we all knew to be true. Don't speak English? Here's a Royal Caribbean application! Need ice water? Here's your spit!
Haiti was contrived like Disney World, but the food was better than anything we got on the boat aside from Giovanni's. Jet Skis were fun, but we were with a lot of slow, scared people so we had to drive for 30 seconds then stop and wait for them to catch up. They make a point to swing you by the canoe sellers though!
Jamaica was a mess. It was my first time there and I spent it on a tube tied to 8 other people moving at a snail's pace and being eaten alive by mosquitoes. Just make sure you know whether it will be high or low tide if you book that excursion, low tide is like floating through two feet of marsh mud. At least our guide sang Conway Twitty when he got tired of the generic Bob Marley. He also said during high tide, the tube ride is much faster and you get to go much further down the river than we did.
Mexico was a godsend - we did the jeep & snorkeling excursion. The guides were perfect. We went all around the coast then back through the city to literally see every part of Cozumel. They even let us have the automatic 4-door jeep so our family of 5 wouldn't have to split up!
All in all, I wanted to love cruising but it just isn't for me. The boat & cabins were really pretty and I appreciate what they tried to do but I could definitely tell there were 6,000 head on board and most of the crew seemed generally unhappy with life. I understand they are on the boat for long periods of time, but there are plenty worse jobs out there! If you love being in a small pool with 100 other people and waiting 10 minutes for an elevator to take you to the dining room with mediocre food, this is the ship for you!