A family of three, 2 adults and our daugter who was 6 on holiday. Booked about 14months previously with a travel agent, which to be honest we wouldnt bother with again, as there was no benefit, (except a discount) and we had to pay months before we would have done if booking directly with RCI. Two cruises under our belts pre children with P&O. Switched to RCI as we felt they are geared more to family cruising.
We love cruising from Southampton and again this didnt disappoint. check in was a breeze - park up, leave luggage by car and walk to check. We were pleasantly surprise by the speedy check-in for Gold Crown and Anchor members as we werent expecting this.
Sailed on Independence last year so we had a vague idea of the layout and werent lost and had our bearings straight away. rooms ready just before 2 which was great.
We haven't had the D1 balcony before (last years cruise a special anniversary and managed a JS!) but were surprised by the storage space (one of our worries if there was going to be enough we dont travel light!)
We knew the ship is due a refurb and to be honest the room was a little tired but didnt detract from our holiday.
thought towels were very fluffy.
Our cabin attendant Ezra looked after us very well - especially all my daughters cuddly toys that managed to come along too! Our room always cleaned early which i like.
Restaurants: Windjammer - this was much better than our experience on indy. seemed less busy and always found a table. we didnt eat here much - half our breakfasts were here and to be honest food as good if not better than the express breakfast in the main restaurant.
MDR - chose a table of 10 as we like meeting others, it was a shame only 1 other couple ever turned up. we looked like billy no mates sometimes and has questioned whether to do fixed seating again. We chose early dining as we like our daughter to eat with us, and all around us were half empty tables. Food we thought was very good, and thought there was a lot of choice. Waiter pedro looked after us very well especially on my daughters birthday.
Note we did book room service breakfast once when we were in Rome with an early start - pleased with the call to confirm we were awake and arrived bang on time.
Daughter spent half the day at kids club and half with us by pool. adventure beach area a little disappointing and more patrols needed as often it was taken over by older kids
Sea days was difficult to get a sun bed. someone needs to come up with an idea!
Gym was well equipped and busy - it would have been nice for more control if children in the gym as despite the signs they were there - i have no issue with serious gym users, but in terms of the children when i was in there only half of them were serious.
There were chargeable pilates classes and I would have done more of these due to the timings and schedule seemed not to sync with port days or early evening dinner sitting.
The couple of shows we saw were good - but met some lovely people and tended to have a drink and a chat in the pub.
Teens - yes there were a lot on board, to be expected in summer holidays. they are a fairly unusual breed if you are not used to them and do tend to walk in packs which can appear intimidating- but in reality I didnt really see any that were doing anything wrong.
There is always a possibility that the second cruise with RCI might not have the wow factor, but this was not the case. The service was excellent and the ships crew across the board were friendly, welcoming and helpful. apart from our cabin I didnt notice specific areas that needed a refurb.
PS couldnt believe the calmness of the bay of biscay, like a millpond it was.
PPS pleased to see that bar prices included gratuities.
Happy to have climbed to platinum and would happily rebook with RCI.