This was the first cruise my family took with Royal Caribbean and it will not be the last. We have sailed with Disney and Carnival and have found a home with RC. We had 6 people in our party and had 2 interior state rooms on the 7th floor. My husband and I, 39 and 43. My children, all boys - ages 17, 12 & 10. And my mother, 68.
My husband and I enjoyed the cruise days and we RC has a Kid's area that (almost) rivals Disney. Even my 17 year old was active in the older teens group for a large part of the cruise. The 5 other cruises with Carnival, he did not enjoy their teen area at all. My younger two loved the large arcade and the fact that their respective areas had activities planned throughout the days on Cruise days.
My husband and I were very impressed with the Royal Promanade and the entertainment. We did not get to the Arcadia Theatre in time to get a seat for the magic show, so we had to watch it standing up. It was our own fault, we knew that it was a popular activity.
Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze. We arrived at the port around 11:00 and we were on the ship within an hour, and disembarkation was very easy. We were in group 14 which was supposed to get called approx 8:30, but it was a bit late. Our call was 9:10, but we had bags in hand and through customs in 20 min.
One thing I did not like was CocoCay. The water park area for the kids only let the kids play for an hour and it cost $30. My other issue was the fact the beach was EXTREMELY rocky in the ocean, I like to walk out into the water and not worry about stumping every toe on my foot. I recommend beach shoes, but I don't know if I would get off the ship there again. I wasn't very impressed (Disney's beach has it beat hands down). We didn't eat lunch because we left early and ate back on the ship.
That truly is my only complaint. We ate in the dining room 4 times, once at Portofino's (with the kids), and twice at Johnny Rockets. The food on the ship was very good. No complaints here. I, for one, am glad they didn't enforce the dress code. We did dress up for one of the formal nights, but me and my family enjoy a more dress casual for dinner - khakis and collared shirts.
Overall, my family enjoyed this very much. So much in fact my husband and I booked the Western Caribbean Cruise in September (a birthday treat for me) and we also booked a Spring Break trip with the kids in April on the Allure. It will be hard for us to go back to Carnival after this, even for the price difference.