After convincing my wife to take a cruise I read lots of reviews on this and other sites and was really unsure what to expect. Some where good some where really bad but I have always been one for making my own decisions. We got a flight included deal so flew into Barcelona which was all fine, we where then put on a coach and taken to another terminal to complete the cruise check in which turned out to be the right thing as there where Que's after Que's at the ship and we where able to walk straight on-board which was great. We had a quick look around the ship and went to windjammer for some lunch. Now lots of the reviews on the sites slated the food and surroundings but I have to say I found windjammer perfect for lunch the times we used it and also for breakfast with the staff working hard to clear tables and all the food fresh hot plentiful and very tasty. Every time we used it there where plenty of choices and always something new to try. As neither of us are big drinkers we both bought the soft drink package and found this to be value for money as we drank lots over the week, probably not good for us but we where on holiday!!
We then had to go to our stations for the lifeboat drill and had to be there 4.30 prompt where we where lined up, now I hate to stand about doing nothing and more so in the heat and it really annoyed me that people where still rocking up at 5pm! This really needs to be sorted RCL! If people cant be bothered to show at the right time put them in a separate room and make them wait!
We then went on deck for the sail away why we waited for our cases which came at 7pm.
We where assigned the Botticelli dining room on my time and again had read some bad reviews about the food but we both found it 1st class. I have to add here I am a chef by trade and have eaten at some of Britain's finest restaurants so know my food but also enjoy a KFC so not a food snob!. The menu changed each night and our service was fantastic with our waiters Narcisso and Merry Chris looking after us from start to finish, we really cant speak highly enough of them. We found it so good that we decided to cancel our speciality dining as we enjoyed the main dining room so much.
We also visited the promenade and all its shops and restaurants, again found them all great and also found the drinks well priced, we often had a Bellini and a Larger after dinner and found the prices below what we would spend at home and even with tip and tax coming in at just below Â£10. We also had to try the cakes sweets and little sandwiches because they where there! I also must add I spotted in the cruise compass that one night the Champagne bar has a special one night of buy a glass of champagne and get some free caviar, now I do enjoy caviar and was expecting maybe a little cracker or two, what we got was about 2 ounces of 1st rate eggs which would have cost Â£150 plus in the UK! One of my highlights of the trip!!
We booked two trips with RCI marseille and Florance & Pisa and found them OK, my only bugbear being that the 1st trip we had to meet at 7.45 which was fine but we were still sat at 8.25 waiting for stragglers which really annoyed me! If they cant get there on time tough why should we wait! The 2nd day was spot on we left at time!
Rome Parma and Sorrento we did on our own with no drama's and saved a bit of cash by doing it that way.
We booked an inside cabin which was fine and did what we needed but next time will book a balcony because loved watching us sail into port each day.
So all in all I would say read all the reviews but make up your own mind, we had the best time and I am sat looking at a pile of brochures ready to book the next one!