We just got back from a 6 day cruise to Bermuda leaving from Baltimore. The cruise was celebrating my grandmothers 80th Birthday and the whole family was onboard (about 30 people ages 8-80). All of the family members live within an hour of the Baltimore port which made this cruise easy to get to. Bermuda was on Grandma's bucket list which is really the only reason we chose this port. This was my 5th cruise and our 2nd cruise as a whole family of 30.
Boarding was awesome. One of the easiest boarding experiences I have had. We drove to the port and between parking, going through security and getting checked in, we were on the ship within 30 min (about 12:15pm). Although you cannot get to your stateroom until 1:30 we were able to go eat lunch in the cafe and explore the ship. One issue we did have was with what liquids were allowed on the ship. We had heard from the cruise line that only open bottles were allowed on. When we got to the cruise ship we were told the exact opposite, if it was open it had to be tossed. We were also told before hand that no wine could be brought on the ship (many other cruise lines allow one bottle per person). However we were told mixed things during boarding. We called family members not yet at the dock telling them to buy wine to bring on but then when they got to the ship the wine was confiscated. Bottom line, its luck. Some of us got bottles on but most didn't, its really not worth the stress.
Another problem we had was theft from our suitcases. I had some necklaces taken out of my suitcase while it was being loaded onto the ship (they were cheap which was why I put them in my suitcase). Other members of my family had small items taken as well. I suspect this was before the luggage even got onto the ship. One person in our party lost about $60 and the response from RCCL onboard was basically tough luck. I understand that valuable things need to be kept with you but the principal of my stuff not being treated properly reflects very poorly on RCCL and will definitely affect my cruise line choice.
The food in the dinning room was great! Every night there were many options that sounded appetizing. Lunch in the dinning room was especially good. There was an amazing salad bar that made getting dressed for lunch totally worth it. The service at lunch wasn't the best but the dinner service was excellent.
The entertainment onboard was mediocre. The comedians were funny, and the magician was entertaining. The production shows with the dancers and singers were terrible. The worst I have seen on a cruise ship. The singing and dancing was fine, but the song choices and overall productions was very boring. This was a common though from most of my party which not only included my grandmother, parents and 8 year old cousin.
The casino staff was great. The steward for our room was very friendly. The cruise director was a bit too mellow for me. Overall the energy on the ship is more mellow and laid back.
Bermuda was the greatest surprise of the trip. The island is beautiful. We went to snorkel park the first day because we only had 2 hours before dinner. The snorkeling was awesome, tons of fish and not too deep water. On the second day we went to Hamilton in the morning. This is what my grandma wanted to do most. The city is nice but unless you want to do serious shopping it is a time killer. I will not go back there. From Hamilton we went back to the ship for lunch. We had alot of issues with ferry's being canceled so going back for lunch was not Plan A but we had to rearrange. We got on the 1:30 ferry to St. Georges and went snorkeling in Tobacco Bay. This was the best snorkeling I have ever done (beating St. Thomas, St. Maartin, Grand Cayman, and Isla Roatan). We then took buses back to the dockyard, stopping off at the pink sand beach Horseshoe Bay. Although we missed 6:00 dinner, we were able to be seated in the dinning room at 8:30 which worked out perfectly!
Overall we had a great time! It was a nice family vacation. Cruising is awesome because it is so easy, and with so many people it was the perfect choice. I will definitely be cruising again, but I'm not going to go out of my way to make sure its on RCCL. While it was a great vacation, it did not outshine any other cruise line.