I don't normally write reviews but I felt I should give people a heads up just so you know are not caught off guard like I was. My family has cruised a number of times and it doesn't take much to make us happy but this was our first on Royal Caribbean.
We arrived a day early and stayed at The Hampton in Cocoa Beach with their sleep and sail package. TravelLynx took us from the airport to the hotel, then to the cruise ship and then back to the airport. They were GREAT! The Hampton was a very nice hotel to stay at. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The beach was right out side. There was also a local shuttle stop right on the street which we used to go to the mall and see some of the local sites. Only cost a little over a dollar to get around.
Embarkation day, from the time we got off the bus at the pier to when we on the boat was about 20 minutes. It was amazingly smooth. The muster deal was a whole lot better than the other cruise lines I have been. Stopped at the windjammer and the food was ok but not very good. After the ship left they had the promenade parade. It was pretty cool even for an adult. Then I went off to the gym before dinner. The gym was top notch!
At this time everything was going great. Then we went to the main dinning room. The menu was very heavy on fish (not a fan of fish). Got the pork chop dinner and the mile high lemon pie. The pork chop was small and very bland. The lemon pie was not very good and also extremely small. Our waiter was efficient but didn't try to interact. Went to the windjammer after to get a little more to eat. Once again the food was either extremely bland or downright awful. Got a cookie and it was like a hockey puck.
This scene repeated for the rest of the cruise. The food every where on the ship except the pay restaurants was absolutism terrible! Got cookie every time we ate. I created a photo album on my camera called 'the coasters of RC'. Even after 30 minutes of having a drink condensate on it I could still chisel something on the cookie. On St Thomas some one dropped a roll from the top of the ship. It hit the concrete and sounded like it created the pavement. When we looked over the roll bounced of the pavement like a baseball.
Due to the weather they had to cancel Cocoa Cay. The island was not replaced. Spoke to a few other cruises that had been on a number of RC cruises and found out this is common. They said Cocoa Cay is canceled more than it is docked at. Two islands on a 7 day cruise is not enough. Just something you might want to keep in mind.
Now the crew was very good at their job but seemed to avoid interacting with the passengers. They would turn away for passengers to avoid saying hi. One time a crew member came through the sliding door and instead of talking the two passengers getting ready to go through he ducked behind a pair of trash cash and waited for them to go by and then came out. On more than one occasion I saw crew members arguing with each other.
I do like to cut loose on a cruise and have fun. But each night there where absolutely no high energy parties going on. At 10pm one night the only live music was the 50's and 60's hour. Not saying that is bad but not really good for the night life. Even at that there was hardly anyone there. I felt bad for the bartenders and DJ's, they looked really bored. It seemed about 9pm every night everyone went to bed. The promenade and top deck was deserted.
It was also the first week of college football. There was no where on the ship that had the games on.
The interior room we had was so small. The shower was a small tube! But our cabin steward was amazing!
I just thought I would give my two cents so you know what you are going to get. Taste in food is very subjective so take that piece for what it is worth. I did talk to a number of people who said the food was very bad. If you are looking for a cruise where you want to sun or gamble not really interact with other passengers and want the crew to blend into the background then RC could be good for you. But even I got really bored very quick. On a cruise I like to talk to fellow passengers and joke with the crew and have fun. It was a very nice ship but there was no life or fun on this ship. RC didn't seem to be the cruise line for me and I thought I give my prospective so you know what to expect.