This was our fourth cruise, and first with Royal Caribbean. Getting on board was a quick and easy process. From the moment we parked our car to the moment our keys were unlocking our cabin door took less than an hour. Our cabins were in level 6, an inside cabin and a cabin with. Window. Both were immaculately clean, with comfortable beds and nice furnishings. Both bathrooms were small, of course. I appreciated the bathroom shelving and good water pressure. Our cabins had 8 drawers and a closet with 7 shelves and room for hanging clothes. The vanity desk in each cabin had vanity lights, 2 electrical outlets, and a good hair dryer. There is also an outlet in the bathroom. The televisions were older models, but decent quality. The temperature, bedding, and everything else I can think of were good quality and comfortable.
The service on board was flawless. Every team member we dealt with was smiling, and quick to help. Our room steward, the mechanic who fixed our safe, the service desk, shop keepers, wait staff in all of the eateries, plus any staff member we randomly came across were smiling and pleasant without fail. The batteries in our tv remote died, and our steward had them replaced in a few minutes. Our towel animals were a big treat, especially the kissing swans that formed a heart and included a Valentine from the Housekeeping staff.
The food was phenomenal. The Promenade, just a quick walk down one flight of steps from our cabin, was open 24/7, with pizza, pastries, and sandwiches. A nice variety of teas, coffee, and hot chocolate mix are available self serve. Our first meal was at the Windjammer buffet. They offered a good variety of soups, salads, entrees, sides, and desserts. We ate at the Windjammer and adjoining Jade Asian buffet about fifteen times, and we enjoyed new dishes every day. The Indian food was especially nice. There was a chick pea stew and Basmati rice dish that was divine. The list of excellent foods would be too long, so I will only provide our top 5: baked macaroni and cheese, blackened salmon, key lime pie, all of the curries, and honey stung fried chicken, with an honorable mention to the extensive and fresh salad bar, pasta bar, and taco bar. And the chicken ala king was so good we have to mention that as well. We also made use of the three soft serve ice cream stations on board, all on level 11. We always found a good seat, usually by the window. We enjoyed fine dining at 8:30 each evening. The service and presentation were superb. The food was 90% excellent & 10% fair. When our waiters noticed a dish we did not eat, they always offered to bring something in its place. The Grand Mariner vanilla souffle was the best dessert our sons have ever tasted.
The fitness facility was very nice, well appointed, and easy to use. I had access to the yoga mats and an exercise ball in the empty aerobics studio a few times, and used the machines as well. The hydro therapy hot tub was huge, beautiful, and inviting, but I skipped it. Did not take a class, though several were offered. We used the walking track on deck 12 most of all.
We spent time in the chapel on level 14, lovely and sunlit. Banked with white flowers, it looks made for intimate weddings. Nice that it is open to all who wish to use it, and an un-lead chapel service was advertised for Friday night at 5:30.
The rock climbing walk, putt-putt golf, inline skating, ice skating, board games,basketball court, volleyball, dodgeball, and much more looked fun and inviting. Between the four of us we played basketball, board games, and spent time at the pool and the hot tubs,which were always clean and never crowded.
We saw a few shows. Two of us saw the welcome variety show, which was okay. The ice show is a must see. Kenny James was absolutely outstanding in every way, the hi light of our cruise! The last show, a comedian and balancing act were good. The disco party on the Promenade was really fun.
Ports of call: Jamaica has a city tour by tram we thoroughly enjoyed. It was $20 per person,and purchased off the ship in the nice shop area within the gate. We purchased a tour I. Our own for $30 pp in the Caymans. It was an air conditioned mini bus with a guide that took us to "Hell," the turtle exhibit, and 5 other places. Also bought off ship. We saw Cozumel on our own. A taxi took all if us downtown for $8. We have toured the ruins and snorkeled and such on previous trips, but really enjoyed playing it by ear this time. Getting on and off the ship, even the tender to and from Grand Cayman, was pretty seamless.
A few things I appreciated: We were never forced to have photos made. Our fellow cruisers seemed to be nice people. I only saw two tween girls who were loud. The ship was decorated beautifully. I must admit, we were treated "Royally." During our last dinner, our dons asked if we could take the same cruise next year. Best vacation ever:). Disembarkation: We always self assist. We walked out of our cabin at 7:33am, and reached our car at 8:00am.