We are first time cruisers and let me say I'm ready to book my next cruise ASAP. You MUST go on this ship!! We did encounter a couple of bumps but they were always resolved. We had a balcony and an inside stateroom. I recommend u get a balcony. The best times were on my balcony looking over the water or ports. The feeling of wind, water, waves, and scenery were soooo beautiful-- all of my daily stresses were temporarily GONE!
We flew in a day ahead-- our flights were delayed by 4 hours by Southwest. So I recommend u come in a day ahead. U never know what's gonna happen. We stayed at Embassy Suites for one night-- the hotel is okay...it's a bit dated and really needs a good cleaning but we were on vacation so it didn't deter us too much. Since we came in late, we walked to a local Asian restaurant behind the hotel (Coco Thai). Food was a hit and miss but was very expensive.
I have read each review on cruise critic and no one described about Club Royale. I got this cruise from my local casino- pinnacle corp who RCL has a partnership with. I called Club Royale and they booked me and a guest in a nice balcony for less than 600 (the room was 2300 at time of booking bc of spring break) What a deal!!! I took my sister and in the end her husband and son came along but they were booked with an inside. Our room only can have 2 persons. Anyhoo, we took a shuttle from hotel to port ($8 per person). They dropped us off in front of bag valet and gave tags then headed into terminal. Checking in took about 2 hours from start to on board ship (this was spring break week) It was still smooth to us cause we were on vacation. This ship was sooo clean, big, and beautiful! The first thing we did was go the buffet (windjammer-11th floor). They had a lot of variety. I don't know why people complain about the food on this wonderful boat. If u don't like something then get something else. Food was 24/7 all around the ship. I tried everything!! But I'm gonna say in the cafe promenade--the banana bread was the BEST I've ever tasted and coffee was free 24/7!!! I'm a foodie and I own a restaurant ...so I give a big thumbs up to food quality, quantity, and service every where.
Everyday u get a paper from ur room attendant that explains all events. We didn't even do 1/3 of the stuff on it. So little time...so much to DO! We had Frankie. Service was great. I believe in tipping everyday extra. They work sooooo hard to keep everyone happy and rooms clean. My sister got a kick out of the towel animals. We asked for ice, extra towels, and from anything. Frankie did it all and with a smile. We bought 8 bottle waters and 8 juices for our room. We couldn't even finish halve so I gave them to him. At home or work I usually do the serving. So thank u Frankie for giving me a much deserved break.
We got flow rider lessons($60 per) It was fun but hard. I say not for everyone. All the shows and entertainment was superb. It's what u like or don't. Different taste for different people. We did do a lot of shopping in the promenade. They have specials all the time. We got gifts for everyone!!
I'm gonna give a shout out to Ribi--our main waitress. I believe she really made our cruise. We had a 6:00 pm (Rembrandt ) dining time. Our table had a water view. We ordered everything practically. If u didn't like an entree then get something else. Lobster nite I had 3 and they didn't blink an eye. Even the head manager came to around to de-shell the lobster. The BEST service in the dining table. I always tip every night and they soooo much appreciate it. They work very hard to please u so please treat them well!! We ate every night in the dining table. U can order food from the specialty restaurant. I order the surf and turf and chops steak. I'm gonna be honest and say there were no difference. The MDR was just as good and it was free. Desserts were plentiful and my cappuccino was superb every nite (extra $). We ordered room service for breakfast. Everything was great except one morning. But they made up for it with a note of apology and a plate of chocolate strawberries. Yum yum --- everything was forgaved..
Okay--- the casino. Very small with limited slots. I'm a NON smoker and only had one problem. Just one night a smoker wanted to smoke in the nonsmoking slot area. He was asked politely to put out but was such an A hole that he didn't. He was a Bickerson!!! I don't care if u smoke just don't let the smoke come straight to my face. Lets just say he was escorted out and 3 people on my row got a free t-shirt and any drink we wanted. Like I said---service was wonderful!!! I was not lucky on this ship but hey that's gambling.
Ports. One was excellent (Labadee) the other terrible (Falmouth). For Labadee, I rented an over the water cabana. If u r blessed to be able to get one. U must do it!! Service and Labadoozies were superb. One of the best times of our lives. Felt like I was a billionaire-- they gave u towels, bottle waters in a cooler, snorkel wear, floating mats, floating vest, your own personal attendant who catered to ur every whim. Mine was named Joe. He was great and always had a big smile. When we went to get our food in the upgraded suites area (had a wrist band) we brought him a plate too. He was soooo happy. It's the little things that make them appreciate and also want to better serve u. It's vice versa, treat them well and they treat u well. He even got us (Willie) to drive us back an forth and ride to see the whole island. Weather was perfect--service perfect-- thank u RCL.
Falmouth was another story. Weather was bad. We had a catamaran snorkel cruise fun and beach excursion. They should have canceled this. But they had a different tour company. They fit u like sardines in this little boat (60 persons), go out about 30 feet and then tell u to jump in the water. It was so rocky and dangerous and since it was rainy, u couldn't snorkel-- no visability. When we got off, we found out they canceled all the other ones after ours. We had 4 more hours but I so wanted to go back to ship and ended up on a bus with celebrity cruisers (the other ship at port). When we got back and complain. They refunded every dollar into my account and that nite a note with another plate of chocolate strawberries. Yum yum-- all is forgiven!!
With the extra monies, we decided to do a spa. We did a facial and back massage for 129 and 15% mandatory tip. My sister and I had Claudia and estephanie (?). They were great and we were suckers to buy some products. It was okay....hehehe....we were on vacation!!!
Overall, this was a GREAT vacation. My sister took a million pictures ( my only complaint about this cruise...wait! I got to take a picture. It got annoying after the 2000th pictures) Please do not hesitate to book this ship. The service and food was wonderful. Treat them the way u want to be treated and tip them well for excellent service and I guarantee u will have the best time of your life.
Oh forgot, we did self carry at 7:30 am. Took us about an hour. We rented a "day room" at rhode way inn and suites bc our flight was not until 6 pm. For only 49$ u get a clean room from 10-6 and a free buffet and then a free shuttle to the airport. Can't beat that!!! Thank u for reading my long review and have a safe cruise!!!