I have been on 10+ cruises with most of them on Royal Caribbean. On the last two cruises, we have noticed some changes that are disappointing. Service, food quality, and food selection in the Main Dining room for dinner has really dropped off. On this last cruise sailing on JAN 27 2013 on Mariner of the Seas, we had the 5:45 seating on a table for four. The time to get our food was ridiculous! It took on average 40 to 60 minutes for our main courses to arrive. It then took then 5 to 10 minutes to come back around to check if we need anything like sour cream or ketchup. The food choices on the menu were pathetic. Based upon the suggested gratuity amounts, this should be a $50 a person meal. I would argue, it's more like a $12 meal. We also noticed that they are not serving Escargot which is my wife's favorite. We started eating at the buffet for dinner just because of the better selections and options. Four months before in Sept, we went on a cruise with a competitor that starts with a C, and their menu rocked. They had great steaks, escargot, frog legs, and even mac and cheese with bacon! Breakfast in the sit down was not very good either. I ordered my FAV: Eggs Benedict several days and the eggs were over cooked and the yolks hard. One morning, I ordered corned beef hash and did not get it till the end when I was nearly finished with my Eggs Benedict. My wife's omelets were all over-cooked and dry.
RC (Royal Caribbean) has also changed up the dining times which is annoying. The main dinner seating is at 5:45pm and they close the doors at 6:00pm and turn you away after 6pm. The buffet is not open until 6:15pm...it used to open at 5pm or 5:30pm.
As far as the ship goes, I was surprised to see that not much had changed in the April 2012 refurbishment. I had expected new carpets, beds and such. Basically, all they did was add the Large Pool side TV, flat screens in the rooms, and touch screen maps thru out. They should have done more. The bath rooms are looking aged with mildew in the shower caulking. The pools have tiles missing and rusted areas. One of the large hot tubs did not get hot anymore.
So they put new flat screens in the rooms, but the picture quality was terrible. This is all satellite TV, so it is digital and should be perfect. They have a small movie theater but it only shows movies at most 3 times a day. It should be showing movies all the time.
Concerning the theater shows, these are the same shows that I saw over a year ago. They were OK, but if they expect repeat customers, they need to change it up and be creative.
We will cruise again but probably not with Royal Caribbean. The other lines have newer boats and the food is much better for the same price.