Well where do I start? Probably the fact that I read a fair few reviews about the ship prior to our holiday and with a couple of negative feedback reports had my expectations set to low. In the end I've found that either the passengers were on the wrong ship or nothing can please them.
Our experience was as follows:
EMBARCATION: Super easy and quick if you read your ticket booklet properly and note the time you are meant to board. We were deck 8 so we boarded at 11am, it took less than 10 minutes to go on board with our 4 children.
CABINS: We were in cabin 8085 and 8087 on deck 8 towards the rear of the ship with an inter-connecting door, one cabin for my husband and I and one for our 4 daughters. We did initially freak out when we saw only two beds in the girls room but that became 4 beds after dinner when they set the room up properly. Both cabins were clean, neat, new and spacious considering you are on a ship not in a hotel room. We had two new, clean and neat bathrooms with fresh crisp linen in both cabins. Our cabins were super quiet, peaceful and comfortable. Each cabin comes with a hairdryer and you will need an adapter if you wish to use your straightener or shaver as the plugs are USA based. Both cabins were cleaned twice a day to such a high standard that even a matron with white gloves would have been pleased :-)
PUBLIC SPACES: With 2400 people on board all public spaces were continuously kept clean (public bathrooms were spotless) and tidy
FOOD: The Windjammer Cafe is perfect if you want quick, fuss free buffet type food, we generally ate breakfast and lunch here and at all times found the food fresh, tasty and neatly presented. We have eaten at various times such as 6am, 8am, 9am and 11am and never found the food messy and the tables were always cleaned immediately by the super friendly staff (in fact they were so fast you had to watch your plate if you needed to get up and get something like cutlery). They also gave you a wide selection of food choices (gluten free, nut free, sugar free, fruit, veggies or calorie laden treats) and each day they served a different juice (apple or orange juice or kiwi and strawberry or mango juice, water, tea, coffee)
For dinner we ate at the Edelweiss restaurant where the food and service is 4 star quality and out of this world, with a wide variety of meals that tasted divine. I also used room service where the staff were quick, friendly and the food was hot when delivered. I wanted ice cold water and it was delivered to my door within 5 minutes, ditto if I wanted a hot chocolate with cookie.
ACTIVITIES AND SHOWS: These were 10/10, we saw each show and found them fabulous and very entertaining. The cruise director was funny, friendly, witty and easy going and not at all offensive. In fact he always made sure all the passengers were kept entertained. There is a wide variety of age appropriate activities to participate in each day and if you were so inclined, you could be kept busy from 6am till 2am each day :-) My children spent most of the day in the pool (pool towels provided by the ship), watched a movie or attended the craft activities on board.
KIDS CLUB: Was fabulous, my younger two were in the 3-6yr old group while my elder child was in the 7-9 group. The time slots were from 9am -12 noon, or 2pm-5pm or 10pm - 2am (evening one costs $6 per hour per child) My eldest daughter did not go to kids club as she was 12 yrs old and the limit was up to 11yrs, she chose to do the teenage club activities. There was a midnight curfew for all children under 18yrs of age in public areas and a drinking age limit of 21yrs or younger.
ISLANDS: We visited Isle of Pines, gorgeous white sand and blue waters, friendly natives, Lifou, even more beautiful and Noumea (Buy a $5 hop on hop off bus ticket at the main passenger terminal, this will take you around the island and will take about 30 minutes) you can also post your postcards here as the terminal has a post office which is open 7 days a week but closes at 3pm on a Sunday. The Mystery Island had to be cancelled due to rough weather but since it was sunny and warm we stayed on the ship and the cruise director quickly made up a new activities plan for the day for us all to enjoy.
Over all experience for our family has been 10/10 as the atmosphere was very relaxed and family orientated. We will certainly book another cruise with Royal Caribbean again.