My wife and are 61 years old and this was our 9th cruise, fifth with RCCL. We arrived in Orlando two day early and stayed at the Orlando Courtyard Suites near Disneyland. The hotel was inexpensive, spacious and clean but it would not be one that we would return to.
On Sunday morning we returned to the airport for our shuttle to Port Canaveral. We selected Travel Orlando Transportation at a cost of $105 round trip for two of us. This included tips, transfer and toll fees. We were given the drivers phone number and were able to call him on our departure day. Service was good but we rode in vans that can be crowded.
We arrived at the port in less than 50 minutes. We were dropped off on the west side of the RCCL building. The east side had no line so we went there and were on the ship in less than 25 minutes. Then to the Windjammer for lunch. The food is good and not hard to find something you would like.
We had an inside stateroom on level 8. We have had outside rooms and enjoyed, but for us, we would rather spend the savings on other things. Our room was small but comfortable. Room service was excellent. We were very disappointed when the carpet removed on Wed. and never replaced. They did put new pad in some areas and old carpet on the bare floor of the area they did not cover. We do realize that repairs are needed, but would have appreciated if it were removed right before they were ready to replace it.
The ship is beautiful and still well taken care of. Not long lines at the elevators even though two of the days at sea were not good days to be at the pool. More on that later.
We selected my time dining and were given a table for two. There were similar tables next to us with same people each night that we enjoyed being with. Breakfast was at Windjammer with the exception of the last two days. We decided to try something different and enjoyed our decision. We got to meet new people and were also selecting made to order 'eggs over easy' from the kitchen. We thought that the food was better than average but not as good as we remembered. I would also like to point out that this cruise was actually cheaper than my first 7 day cruise that we took 25 years ago, and that the cruise companies are most likely cutting cost with food and any other way to make a profit in order to keep the cost down. I am humored by the people who expect their plate of food to be equal to that served at a palace. Because the cost is still a great bargain, I won't complain about paying for a cupcake or a malt.
There were plenty of activities on the ship. We enjoyed trivia, casino, pool contest, shopping, movies, and various game show contest. We went to all of the evening show and enjoyed each one. Our favorite was Glen Smith. Vocalist and pianist.
St Thomas is know for shopping but we have been there done that. Great places on the island to visit. We liked Megan Bay. St Maarten is much of the same regarding shopping. To get to the downtown shopping you take a water taxi at the cost of $7 round trip. You are dropped off at a beach that is free. We decided to go to Maho Beach to see the planes land and take off. (check out on YouTube). The cab drivers charge $20 each round trip. We took the bus for $4 round trip.
Disembarkation was very simple. We packed all of our luggage in carry-on suitcases and did NOT put it our for pick-up. We never do. It speeds up the process for you to leave the ship. The shuttle van was waiting for us for the 45 min return trip to the airport.
We were never near Hurricane Sandy but we did feel the effects. Tender boats on Coco Cay stopped taking people at 11:30 due to wind. On the last day at sea, the top outside level was closed due to 50-70 mph winds. The sea swells (waves) were 8-15 ft high. We still thoroughly enjoyed our vacation and love RCCL. They are by far the best in our opinion. We will return