This was our 11th cruise in the last six years with Carnival, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean and it was a pleasant surprise. We had sailed previously on the Serenade of the Seas so we were familiar with the Radiance class. We planned a trip to the Tampa area to visit my wife's parents and decided to squeeze in a cruise while we were there. Most of our previous cruises were 7 to 10 nights and we have had a balcony or suite on all of them. We enjoyed this cruise as much as any of the others.
Embarkation - One of the smoothest we've experienced. Despite seeing on the morning news that the ship was anchored in the gulf because of fog in Tampa Bay we drove to Tampa, dropped the rental car at the airport and took a cab to the port. The ship arrived in port about 2 hours late at around 9am and we got there about 11. Check in was fast with no real lines anywhere. We were having lunch in the Windjammer shortly after noon. The ship actually sailed 1/2 hour early to avoid predicted evening fog. Great job on turnaround.
Cabin - This was our first aft facing balcony but certainly not our last (actually we have our second one booked on Celebrity Summit to Bermuda in May). The balcony was huge. We had 2 lounges, 2 chairs and a table on it. Our cabin attendant Maks was excellent.
Ship - The ship itself was always clean and the entire crew seemed friendly and helpful. The shops were nice and the photographers weren't very pushy. They had one smoke free night in the casino which was a pleasant change. The pool area was crowded in the nice weather but you could always find a chair away from the pool itself.
Food - This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise with the new menus and while we are not fussy eaters we thought the food was excellent. We had My Time dining but did make reservations every night and never had to wait for a table. We had the same table and waiters each night. Our waiter Siarhai and assistant Moriel were outstanding both with their recommendations and service. We also ate at Portofino once night and in the Windjammer one other night. The Portofino food was good and the service was excellent. We also thought there was a pretty good selection in the Windjammer for lunch and the one dinner we had there. The food we had was always tasty and hot or at least warm. Room service was always prompt and the choices were decent.
Ports - We have been to both Grand Cayman and Cozumel at least four times each previously. In Grand Cayman we bought some souvenirs and asked the clerk where she goes to lunch. She recommended a little luncheonette and we went there. There were about 8 small tables and 4 items on the lunch menu. I had the Cayman style fish and my wife had pepper steak. Both came with rice & beans, plantain, breadfruit and cole slaw and were very good. In Cozumel we went to Nachi Cocom for the third or fourth time and still love it.
Debarkation - Like embarkation this was faster and smoother than any port we've sailed from. We did self debark and were off the ship and through customs by about 8am.