We flew from Manchester Sunday morning at 07:00, the airport check in was chaotic at best, I think everyone decided to fly at 07:00 that day. We flew with Jet2, never again but thats another story (very poor service).
We landed in Fiumicino Airport Rome, which I think is the biggest in Rome. We were met by Royal Caribbean staff holding over sized table tennis bats, they asked our names and explained where we would find our luggage and where to make our way after (we had booked transfers). When we had our luggage we met more staff who took our luggage and directed us to a coach outside, our luggage went in a different vehicle to our ship.
Our journey took approx 50 minutes, once off the coach we made our way into a big 'tent' where we had to go through a sort of customs type place where they checked all your documents, this did not take long, maybe 20 minutes, free refreshments are supplied if needed. After all checks were completed we made our way outside to the ship for our first of many photos then made our way onto the ship, this was the most exciting part, we didn't know what to expect this being our first cruise, anyway we made our way onto the ship and headed for anywhere really, we ended up at the windjammers, this was very busy but this is what buffets are.
The food was soooo nice, I had a kind of Tandoori chicken which was cooked to perfection my wife had some kind of fish and my son and his cousin had a usual Teenage concoction, we all agreed it was very nice. We boarded at approx 13:30 so we could make our way to our rooms after lunch, we were on deck 7 at the forward end of the ship at the end of the Royal Promenade, which would prove to be a good place and easy to find so close to the Royal Promenade.
Our room was bigger than we expected, a bit worn with a queen bed and lots of room to put our clothes into, the vacuum toilet is an eye opener. We HAD to go to a safety meeting which is a legal obligation, we this quite annoying as we wanted to enjoy our holiday right now, not in another hour or so, anyway went to one of the theatres (where we met our first of many rude Italians), while the staff were explaining the safety procedure there were people talking on the phones quite loud and had to be told to be quiet, these people were Italian and were a very loud group of people compared to all the other nationalities. At this point we started to get a bit fed up, we were up early, very busy at the airport, HAD to go to a safety meeting, had to wear a suit to eat and we didn't know where we could eat and drink.
If you offered us a ticket to say Tenerife or somewhere sunny at that moment we would have taken it, we decided to do what most English do at time like this, head to the nearest pub which happened to be the two poets, very nice typical pub type place tables and chairs inside (where people smoke) and outside where they can't smoke, as we sat there we looked around and both looked at each other and said wow this is amazing. The view along the promenade is amazing with different lighting and designs.
We spent most of our meals in the windjammer but went to one of the 'posh' nights, I wasn't very impressed having to dress up on holiday and was a bit mardy about the whole situation, but once everyone came out it was quite an occasion, the main dining room is breathtaking making you feel very 'posh' (which I'm not, compared to most people on the ship).
There was something to do every night from watching the theatre to playing bingo or casino plus much more. Our first night I was swimming in the pool at 02:00 fully clothed with other passengers at the request of simone and her gang. Our nephew (19) thought it had an Ibiza feel about the pool party on the first night, he was also impressed with the silent disco in the dungeon.
The ship was full and at times it was difficult to find a decent sun lounger at times, the 30 minute rule cannot be implemented due to all the towels have to be signed out and if they lose yours it's a $25 charge, so they won't remove your towel just in case it goes missing.
7 days was just about the right length of cruise, Royal Caribbean's customer service is excellent, on the posh night my son couldn't fasten his tie and I was in the pub waiting for him, so he rand room service and they came out and tried to sort it out but they had to call their manager who fastened it, as my son walked off they said go and get the captains daughter like two proud parents.
We enjoyed the cruise and next time will be more prepared, we expected too much, but it was still an excellent holiday which we would recommend. On a final note, when we go on holiday we are normally very quiet and don't make friends but this is the first holiday where we were chatting to quite a few couples.