Despite the negative tone of this review we enjoyed our much needed vacation and we were generally happy with Royal Caribbean. The Itinerary was very nice and included lots of cruising days. But we were disappointed that Royal Caribbean was not as good as we remembered on our earlier cruises with them.
We chose Cape Liberty because we could drive rather than fly. Nice idea but getting to the ship was a traffic nightmare with almost 2 hours sitting in traffic at the pier. Getting off was even worse. We waited in the pier tent more than an hour while our shuttle was stick in traffic.
We could not get first seating so we chose My Time Dining. Turned out we had a nice table with the same nice folks for the entire cruise. Good thing because the Windjammer for dinner had poor selections and awful hours. Dinner selections in the dining room were OK but not spectacular as in the past.
We used the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch. It appeared there was no variety and the same selections were available every day of the cruise. The staff at times was rude. The tables were cleaned by promptly removing the dirty dishes but there was only a token attempt to wipe the table clean.
The ship was OK but was obviously getting tired. The stateroom TV was an old CRT type and program selection was not very good. The ship channels sometimes did not work. The bridge channel showed only a video view out the front and nothing extra such speed, temperature, waves, wind, location and such. The refrigerator was barely cold. There was a control which would turn on announcements. This worked for the captains announcements but nothing else. But it was useless because there was awful music on this channel all the time so we had to turn it off.
The theater shows were not very impressive. The headliners were just comedians with old jokes. There was lots of filler with the cruise director trying to use time. I must say the juggler was good. One night there was no show at all. What happened to the superb shows they used to have? Beyond that the technology in the theater was kind of working. The video was blurry and some lights did not work.
There were some smoking areas on the ship which we avoided as much as possible. On this cruise it seemed the smokers did not stop when they left the Casino and the promenade area was often filled with cigarette smell. The room with movies also smelled like cigarette smoke. The jogging track went through a smoking area. This ship was not non-smoking friendly.
The cruise had the usual live musicians on board. All the musicians had the volume turned up so loud that it was uncomfortable to listen. The live piano did not sound like a live piano because it was so distorted. The band which was to provide "dance music" sounded like a high school band that had just started playing together. And it was not dance music. There was no "big band" music on the ship full of us old folks that like that music. Other than the lounge with the high school band there was no venue for guests to sit and enjoy the live music. During the sea days (more than half the days) the only live music was at the pool area.