I really enjoy cruises as one of three main types of holiday that my partner and I take.
To us, a cruise is a great way to 'sample' countries and destinations and to be made to feel special.
One of our ports was labelled as Seville. Cadiz is NOT Seville (which is about 50km inland). As the itinerary listed Livorno and Civitavecchia - why claim Seville when you are docking at Cadiz?
We have taken a number of cruises and with various cruise lines. We'd not cruised with Royal Caribbean before - but had sailed with other brands that are part of the Royal Caribbean group.
We live in London and took the train down to Southampton. We arrived about an hour before final embarkation and that worked well, no queues, straight on to the ship and to our cabin.
We had a Family Oceanview stateroom - spacious for the two of us and overlooking the helicopter pad at the front of the ship.
A consistent frustration for us (that I heard echoed by many other passengers) was the lack of inside public space. Time and again we would come out of dinner, want to listen to music in the various bars and venues and NO SEATS. This appeared a problem throughout the ship - not just in one venue.
Also the dreadful 'musak' in all public spaces. Why not have a couple of lounges that are free of this menace.
The weather on this sailing was not great, even on days when it was dry it was very windy so reduced opportunities to sit on deck.
Dining was adequate - no more. This was the first ship where if you wanted lobster it was a large supplement ($34). I rapidly grew very fed up (no pun intended) with mashed potato, broccoli and carrots with most evening meals. Also there were only three courses for dinner, most other cruises offer five.
On previous cruises the served breakfast times were often brought forward to accommodate early docking in ports. On Adventure it almost seemed to be used to give Hotel operations an opportunity to reduce the number of guests likely to use that option - often served breakfast was only available around an hour after we had docked. Not useful if you want to make the most of your limited time in port.
When we were in port, the only option available was Windjammer cafe (we nicknamed it The Zoo), and you could struggle to find a table. This was a real shame, the highlight of the food options was an excellent salad bar (made for you) in the Dining room - that never opened on a port day.
We tried the American Diner - Johnny Rockets once - $4.95 cover charge. We didn't bother a second time - nothing special, corny dancing by the staff every 30 minutes.
Entertainment was a mixed bag. The dancers and singers were very average, the second comedian repeated many jokes from the first and when the ice show was on (one show repeated four times across two days) there was no entertainment in the theatre on those nights. The ice show was good, considering the small size of the rink. However, an ice rink at sea is not a major factor on my choice of ships.
The activities were very standard - trivia, bingo, cringe making game shows. It was frustrating that the inline skating circuit appeared badly designed and did not drain very easily. The merest hint of water and it was out of bounds for health and safety reasons.
The staff did not seem very happy. Our stateroom attendant did her best to keep a stateroom that needed more maintenance / refurbishment. The chairs / sofa badly needed heavy duty steam cleaning. Our waiter was good, his assistant was poor. The assistant still couldn't remember our preferences for water and coffee by the end of the cruise.
We did our own thing in port. Royal Caribbean laid on an expensive shuttle bus in Lisbon at $15 per person. The guy who did the port talks did his best to avoid discussing public transport options in Lisbon and the train station was less than five minutes from where you docked. I doubt it would have cost more than a couple of euros to get into the centre of Lisbon.
In summary, we cruise to be made to feel special. Royal Caribbean made us feel like numbers that were a logistical challenge - nothing more. I doubt we will cruise with them again.