RCI delivers a very good standard in about everything across the board. People who don't like the food are too picky in my opinion. People who think it's great are not discerning enough...it's good. Same with the rooms (hotel operations), service, presentation of the ship etc. It's all very good. Considering you pay a very good rate on a cruise like this one, you get a very good value. Price plus quality = value. Don't be scared away by any picky reviewers...look for what you want and if RCI says they have it, they will deliver!
Embarkation: NOLA was cold, so I liked departing out of Miami much better...not RCI's fault at all. I just want to leave winter and feel like I'm on vacation, and New Orleans was 47 degrees as we left, brrrrrr! Getting on was easy, smooth, and took about 45 minutes start to finish.
Cruise: Took my 11 yr old son for some one on one time. Great time. However a tip to RCI...there are things for kids (adventure ocean) and things for adults, but not much for both during the day in terms of planned or coordinated activities. We did everything from scavenger hunt, to rock wall, to mini golf, to ice skating, to roller blading, to ping pong, to swimming to lots of basketball and shuffleboard...so make no mistake we found plenty of fun!
Meals: We ate in the Windjammer all but three meals and found it quick and easy. Food choice were good, and on par with any buffet. Again, good, not great, not bad. Never went hungry. Ate at Portofino, GREAT! Ate at Johnny Rockets, very good! MDR for one meal on lobster night, satisfactory...takes to long and lobster was only average so a bit disappointing.
Room: Having a balcony for ocean breezes and hearing the waves from the boat...ahhhhhhhh now that is what you cruise for. We loved it and escaped the cold Iowa winter by spending lots of time on our balcony. Room was plenty spacious, clean, bed was medium comfort but plenty workable.
Ports: Great time swimming with dolphins in Cozumel at chankanaab and fun time watching the sea lion show and walking their fun trail for the "ancient ruins" as well as some decent snorkeling with easy access. Great time swimming with stingrays in Grand Cayman with a reef snorkel stop and the tiki beach break. Great time at Doctor's Cave beach in Jamaica. We took a bus to Doctor's cave and back, worked fine...I'd do all of them again. Snorkeling was good at all three places, but the best in Jamaica. People complain about leaving the safety of the port in Jamaica...I'm cautious...esp with an 11 year old...and we had no problems and no worries Mon! Go with a group or stay in main tourist areas in all three ports and it seems plenty safe to me.
Tips and Overall: Great time, we didn't want to be back. I'd cruise on RCI again and on Navigator again! We'd highly recommend the ice show...the shows in the main theater were hit and miss. There are hidden shuffle board courts on the very back of Deck 4! Hang the card on your door for room service breakfast delivery and enjoy it on your balcony...although windjammer for breakfast was great as well! Hot chocolate is available next to the regular coffee in the snack place on the Royal Promenade...my son loved it but the water is very hot so we put some cream in as well.