We stayed at the Ocean Manor in Ft Lauderdale (Galt Ocean Mile)prior to and after the cruise. Its our favorite place there. Although the reviews are not great we love it there...especially the Tiki Bar right on the beach.
Embarkation...what can I say other than WOW...got there at 11:30 ish...got checked in and went on the ship immediately...absolutely no wait...that was a great treat.
Cabins were ready by 1:00 pm...Cabin was as expected and the room steward (Demetro) was very attentive...found some feather pillows as requested and made some cool towel critters...Penquin and a dog...made us miss our puppies back home.
We did not use the main dining room at all...just the Windjammer for most meals. The food was not the best we have had...Our Princess trip to Hawaii was better. Breakfast got very repetitive...we are not ones to dally after a meal so it was pretty much eat and go.
We did do a meal at Chops. Very good steak...tables were a little close...wife is very sensitive to perfume and the lady next to us wore so much perfume it was impossible to even smell the food...ended up leaving before desert...but its not a reflection on Chops...well worth the extra.
Casino...we spent alot of time in the Casino. We were Casino VIP's and got treated as such. Instead of taking two vacations...a cruise...and Vegas...we combine the two. Had a really good time there. They provided alot of free drink coupons...had a lot of upscale wines...we had purchased the drink package before hand...with all the free drinks we got not sure if we got full value for the package...but no arguements here. HINT...if you enter the Slot Tourney and place high the first day...dont sit on your laurels...play every day to try to improve your score...it could pay off really well. Service was great there. Only caviat was reviewing my bill the next to last day and noted two odd charges with no attachments...went to Service Desk and they said it was for Tips charged by my wife with no signature...since I had prepaid the tips I said that was not possible...a drink waiter in the Casino had charged tips on the Seapass without our knowledge...they were removed with an apology. We made sure the waiters we used were tipped appropriately at the end.
OK...On the the major problem we had. There was no cold water in the shower. It was scalding hot...so much so my wife burned her arm. We ended up using the sink...getting a wash rag wet and doing a sponge bath...there were three attempts to correct the shower problem but was NEVER resolved...very very disappointed especially with the hot and humid condtions we faced on the cruise...pity anyone who had our cabin after we did. Heard of other people with the same issue...is it time for Dry Dock already?
All in all we love cruising. We really like Royal Caribbean...cruised on the Allure when it was new and will cruise with them again...but will check the shower the minute we get into the room.