I place Royal Caribbean in the mid point of cruise lines but this cruise exceeded my expectations.
- We had a group of 11 and the staff at the MDR handled us extremely well each night. Kudos to them! We also found the food in the MDR to be better than the buffet - not my usual experience. Maybe it was because they did not share a kitchen, not typical. Found the prime rib, lamb shank, and other dishes to be first rate. Again, the service was excellent. Did not eat in the specialty restaurants, did not think the price was worth it.
- Lunches in the Windjammer buffet were OK - good variety of food but nothing special.
- Our veranda room (7012) was clean and organized well. We had an adjoining room with our daughter and her husband and toddler - not too many of these. Dan, the cabin attendant, was excellent. We were on deck 7 which is ideal because you can walk down two flights of stairs to the MDR or walk up two flights to the pool. Avoid the elevators, they are slow.
- They have an adults-only Solarium sunbathing deck - sliding roof when its warm - nice cafe there - super!
- Fitness room was small but good equipment and we could always find a piece to work on. Francis, the exercise instructor, was good. None of the equipment had TVs so bring your MP3 player.
- Entertainment was OK - the Temptations Tribute band was great - comedian got raves - others were good. Lecture on the dogs of the Titanic was good.
- Participating activities were mixed. The trivia games were fun. The Bingo was awful - only 24% return and they had those darn machines that allow players to use 30 cards. Please outlaw those. The odds in the casino are stacked against you. Their Ultimate Texas Holdem is a license for them to steal.
- A nice adult hideaway is the Viking Crown lounge - nice and quiet.
- Docked on the west end. Easy to take the fast boat to Hamilton, a nice town to stroll around. You can also find taxis and scooters and bikes. There is shopping which (IMHO) is the usual port crud. But, there are two really nice attractions. The Bermuda museum is GREAT - spend three hours there and you will learn a lot about the island. The beach (next to the museum) is a nice sandy beach to relax - bar - restaurant - water rentals - very nice. For a nice bite and brew, try the Frog and Onion. One of our party rode a scooter for two days and had a blast. Two others took the ferry to St. Georges and had a good time.
- Took the ferry to Hamilton one day and walked around - a very nice and clean town. Shops were a cut above the shops near the dock, but pricey. The Spinaker had nice T-shirts. Flanagan's Pub got good reviews.
- Previous reviews mentioned foul odors on the ship, but we experienced none.
- For a visual treat, go topside when leaving Baltimore: you can see Fort McHenry, the Key bridge, and other landmarks. Coming into Bermuda on a sunny day is awesome. Our Captain took us south of the island and all the way around to our NW dock.
- Internet service on the boat is slow and intermittent. When we docked, there was a dockside ISP that charged $10 for 24hrs. It was faster than the boat's service but barely adequate. On land, we did not find many places that offered Internet service.
We got off to a rough start when it took us two hours waiting in line to board. Heard lots of excuses: ship was late, new destination, etc. Not good. Once on the ship, things went more smoothly, although we had the usual mad dash to eat with 2,000 other guests.
- Liquor policy is penal. Although they allow you to bring on two bottles of wine, they confiscate your luggage and make you go to deck 2, open up your luggage and show that it is not liquor. Folks felt like criminals. Should be a better way. If you have liquor, they will confiscate it and return it to you around 6pm the last night.