The good: The cabins were lovely. We had two junior suites that were gigantic. The kids had interior cabins across from us, which were small, but they didn't care. Our cabin steward kept everything perfect throughout our stay. We asked for ice the first day and she brought it without having to ask again every day.
We ate as a group with a kids table and an adult table at 7 PM in the Rembrandt dining room 5 nights and were overall pleased with the food, wine and service. I had contemplated pre-ordering a wine package, but I glad I didn't because we were able to find several interesting, reasonable wines to order of the wine list and saved money by comparison. The waiter had no clue about the wine and they never sent over a sommelier, so we picked using our own instincts.
We ate 3 breakfasts at the Windjammer and one dinner. I would recommend avoiding it for dinner and only go as a last resort. It was insanely chaotic and crowded and impossible for a large group to sit together (there is a line of people waiting for it to open each day). Breakfast was also crowded and although there seemed to be waiters, some were filling coffee cups, some just taking plates away. Inconsistent.
The Bad: Septic smells were overwhelming on our floor. We were on Deck 9 and the aft end of the hall of Deck 9 and the stairwell up to Deck 10 smelled like a septic tank the entire voyage. It was so bad that we avoided going that way, instead, going out of our way to go forward, up or down and then crossing over. Numerous complaints were lodged but nothing was done, except once they tried to mask the smell with a fragrance - Attn: RCL - it didn't work.
Another complaint was the waiver situation with the kids activities. We filled everything out on line (took an hour of our time at home) and none of it mattered. You had to stand in line with all the other irate parents who also filled out all their waivers and complete them again. After getting clearance for everything, my son went to do the rock wall and then came looking for me and said, Mom, you have to stand there while I do it or they won't let me. ????? Very inconvenient and inexplicable.
Another drag is the gestapo-like procedure that you have to endure each afternoon re-boarding as they x-ray bags looking for wine that might have been purchased off the ship. It is really a bad policy. Your bag goes through and then they can't seem to pinpoint which to check so they make the whole line stop and start asking random people "Do you have wine? Do you have wine? Do you have wine?" It would have been a great YouTube video. My sister-in-law had nothing and was forced to stand there and empty her bag for no reason. They found her water bottle. Not the most pleasant way to welcome your passengers on board. This happens every afternoon, so be prepared.
Also annoying is the change in policy of charging for cappuccinos or expresso. This was new to us, having cruised with RCL in the past. Also, during breakfast, they walk around with trays of fresh squeezed orange juice and a sign that says "3.50" It just seems so cheesy. I really don't want to be thinking of prices while I eat my meals.
The fitness room was nice, but again, the pilates and spin classes were extra, which is crazy. It's not like you have some famous instructor from a New York club or something. Fitness classes should be included.
The wine tastings were also a charge. I stood in line at the service desk one night with a woman who was billed for a $300 worth of wine she didn't buy after a tasting.
They also have some scam about the pool towels. They charge you $25/towel but we returned all of ours and were still charged. Of course there is a huge line to get it cleared up. How many people have to get off the ship and don't have time to fight their bill?
The game room was extensive, but we had a bunch of problems with loading money onto the Sea pass and had to go to customer service 3 times to get it straightened out.
Our teenagers thought the teen night activities were horrible. They would go to an event and end up standing around with nothing happening. They thought the pools were way too small. The jacuzzis were packed like sardines. The flow rider line took forever. They liked the rock climbing wall, but the mini golf was in a bad spot, and the ice skating rink too small to really have fun.
The two 10 year old boys had the most fun. They liked all the pools, the flow rider, the ice skating rink and desserts, the buffets and the freedom to roam around.
The Ports: Villefranche was amazing. We went to Nice and St. Jean Cap Ferrat. We had non-RCL private tours in Provence and Naples/Amalfi coast and took the train to Rome ourselves. I would say that Rome and Florence as day destinations are really a stretch. For Rome, you spend a good 4 hours in transit (including the time it takes to get to train station and waiting for the train), with only 5 hours of sight seeing. We were diverted from Livorno and got to dock in La Spezia which was beautiful. I'm not sure if the Florence people got to do their excursions that day, but we saw the city and then jumped on a train and went to Lucca for lunch. Fun and Adventurous.
After the cruise, we really enjoyed our three days in Barcelona. Nobody was sad to get off. I've been on about 10 cruises and I would definitely would cruise again, but only with another company.