Background: This was a first cruise for me, and a first in 35 years for my husband. We were travelling with another couple, who had been on RCCL a few years ago. Both couples celebrating milestone anniversaries and travelling without children.
Embarkation: We live relatively close to port, so we drove there on embarkation day. We got to the port about 1:30, so I was not expecting a long line. It wound through the entire building, but probably only seemed long since I was incredibly excited. Still, we were through security and on the ship in about an hour. We used port parking, because we felt the lot right outside the port looked a little shady. It was a no hassle, easy process. Just a lot of standing in line. I would recommend if you are bringing carryon water or drinks, to have them in something easy to carry.
Stateroom: Ours was an ocean view and it was much more spacious that I’d imagined. The view was unobstructed and gorgeous! The beds were not really comfortable (I woke up each morning at or before 7 with a backache, but it was ok because I was ready for some fun!). We also had the thermostat as cool as it would go and it was still too hot. Next time, I will bring a small desk fan. These were my only complaints about the room, though. It was very clean. I wish I had not brought along the power strip, as there was really no need for it. But, then again, we were there to “unplug”, so we didn’t have a lot of use for chargers. My hairdryer would’ve plugged in just fine. The bathroom was just the right size. Any smaller would’ve been too cramped and any larger would’ve felt like a waste of space. The shower water was always hot, no matter when we used it, and the water pressure was good. The temperature handle was a little hard to turn, though. I had no problem getting the water hotter, but I couldn’t turn it back to cooler if needed. There was ample closet space for our clothes, and our garment bag for a 5 night cruise. Our large suitcase fit nicely under the bed, and the carry-ons stayed up against the wall. We still had plenty of room to move around. We did notice a raw sewage smell in the hallway. It was only noticable when the cleaning carts were out, and strongest around them. Mop water, maybe?
Dining: Breakfast each morning was at the pool side grill. The grill had the same selection as Coconut Grove, but with shorter lines. I would say the food was average, and rate it along the lines of a Shoney’s breakfast buffet. For lunches, we visited the Pizza and Deli. They were accommodating to whatever we ordered, but I would again say the food was average. Nothing special here. We ate in the Sensation dining room every night. The biggest disappointment was the lobster tail at the Captain’s Dinner. It had no flavor at all. The spring rolls were probably my favorite. The food in the MDR had no real consistency, ranging from cafeteria-type to Applebee’s in quality.
Activities/Entertainment: We enjoyed the Welcome Aboard Show, Motor City, Divas, and the 2 comedians. Welcome Aboard was just your standard introductions, and I thought of it as a lead-in to Motor City (which was outstanding). I did not care for the music in Divas, but I was still very entertained. The comedians were not really all that funny to me. The funniest material was interaction with the audience that was not scripted. We saw a magician that was very boring and predictable. I feel I could’ve pulled off some of his tricks. We didn’t spend much time in the casino or arcade, but if you like those types of things, there was a lot to do and they both looked very nice.
Service: This was the best part of the entire cruise! Everyone was very nice and friendly. They seemed to take a personal interest in us, and everyone worked their little tails off. My only complaint would be that I didn’t get the soda I requested during Divas.
Ship: The layout was very easy to navigate. We knew our way around after the first day at sea. It is obviously a little aged, but very clean and well kept. My favorite parts of the ship were the Serenity Deck and the eating area at the aft end just outside Coconut Grove. This was an excellent place for breakfast every morning. The music on the Lido deck was very loud, so we didn’t spend much time by the pool. And no, I’m not too old. I think this could be fixed by adjusting the placement of the speakers a few feet forward, so they are closer to the “party” area and not so close to the “eating” area. I also loved the deck around the whale tail. It was never crowded and gave us a nice view of the cruise.
Spa: I only had a “Fire and Ice” pedicure, but I wish I could’ve afforded more services! Maja was my therapist. I was very pleased with the professionalism of everyone I encountered in the spa.
Summary: I hope this review does not sound too negative, because we had a great time. I am only trying to be honest. Our one goal for this vacation was to relax and unwind and we accomplished that goal. It is definitely the best vacation we have taken so far and worth all the sacrifices we made to take this trip. We were already planning our next cruise before this one was over!