My friends and I booked this 4-night cruise to get away and experience the tropical Caribbean weather at an affordable price. We paid approximately $350 for our interior stateroom which is quite a bargain price. As an experienced cruiser, I have to say I was somewhat disappointed with my overall experience. Certainly, there were "ups and downs" which I will explain further.
We took a taxi from FLL airport to Port Everglades. The driver took us on a longer than necessary route which led to an excessive fare. When we questioned him, he became hostile. Fortunately, a B County Sheriff was nearby and got involved. Be aware that a customary fare should not exceed $15. The scene outside the ship was a bit chaotic and so we decided to carry our own luggage onto the ship which was not a problem as we packed light. The security and check-in procedure went by quickly and we were on board the ship within 45 minutes.
The ship itself is in great shape, remarkably clean, and never really felt crowded. Our interior stateroom, cabin #7418, was a decent size with adequate storage space. There was a mini refrigerator with items for purchase but we did not end up using it. Our stateroom attendant was very friendly and did a great job keeping the room fresh throughout our vacation.
Food quality was decent but not as good as I have had on prior cruises. Coffee was difficult to come by in the Windjammer each morning. There was a tiny self-serve kiosk which was often empty. The breakfast and lunch selection at Windjammer was essentially the same each day. We chose not to eat at any of the specialty (upgrade) restaurants.
I was disappointed in the level of customer service on board, particularly from the waitstaff and bartenders. They seemed to lack enthusiasm and were perhaps overwhelmed at times. At times, it seemed like they just didn't care. On our first night in the main dining room, they were quick to offer wine and alcohol but I had to ask for a soft drink multiple times and was repeatedly told it was someone else's job. We waited over an hour before our main course arrived, only to find meat that was not properly cooked and dirty cutlery. We actually got up and left without finishing the meal and went up to the Windjammer where we had a much better experience. That night, the dining room manager left a message on the phone, apologizing and asking us to give it another try. I chose to eat elsewhere but the rest of my party did go back and were apparently treated very well this time. The sandwich/coffee and pizza shop on the Promenade level are convenient but the staff here had the same type of attitude. They basically slap a slice of pizza onto a plate and drop it on the counter - no hello, goodbye, or smile are offered.
The entertainment was excellent. The singers and dancers were truly outstanding. Be sure to see Up In the Air, Saturday Night Fever, and the figure skating show in Studio B. There was a decent energy in the dance club, but the DJ seemed to play the same 5-10 songs over and over again. How many times does one want to hear or dance to the Macarena? I would have liked more variety and some selections from the past decade.
Communication options on board were very limited. Cell phone service was available from Cellular At Sea. This allowed voice calls but there was virtually no internet data service available. It's hard to believe that we had to resort to leaving hand-written memos in the room about where to find each other in this day and age. If RC (and other cruise lines) are not willing to work with AT&T, Verizon, etc. to provide reasonably priced solutions, then I would at least like to have an option to use the "Sea Phones" that are offered on Oasis/Allure to stay in touch with my party.
I am giving this ship an overall rating of 3-stars due to the persistent service issues. Hopefully, management will motivate the staff to improve their attitude and/or hire additional help, as this will allow for a much better overall experience on this beautiful ship.