Cruise from Baltimore to Canada and New England October 17-25, 2013.
We chose this trip because
a. It was from Baltimore, so we could drive to the port in less than an hour, and not have to worry about airline schedules or suitcase limits. It turned out that more than half the people we talked to chose this ship and this port for exactly the same reason.
b. The ship was big enough to have lots of activities.
c. The activities were not so compelling that we had to forego our afternoon naps and early bedtimes. We were running on empty when we boarded, and took full advantage of getting off the grid and rocked to sleep.
The food was good, but not so delectable that we couldn't say No to second helpings. The gym was well provisioned, and the trainer was enthusiastic and available for private sessions (harder to let slip than the classes). We loved Locomotion, a 3-piece-plus-singer group that we tried to catch every time they played. Their dance music was excellent. (Unfortunately the ship chose to feature them in the atrium, with its hard-on-the-feet marble floor, rather than the South Pacific Lounge with its exquisite wood floor, and our poor tootsies suffered from that.)
Another group, Evergreen, also played dance music, but had an annoying habit of switching rhythms in the middle of their songs -- rumba had an interlude of swing, cha-cha was interrupted by samba... It was a challenge to dance.
The final dance group Roots Vibration, was a Caribbean band, and did the best job of getting people on the dance floor (although not us -- we prefer ballroom to line dancing).
The shore excursions? We have no idea. We didn't take any. They would have interrupted our afternoon naps.
Staterooms were cleverly laid out -- we even had extra drawer space! Beds were very comfortable. Most amazing, although we were on deck 3 opposite the elevators and just under the atrium where all the activity was, we hardly heard a thing. How did they do that?
Given the time of the year (no school vacations), and the itinerary (no ports where we could show off our buff bodies in bikinis and speedos), the average age on this cruise was much older than we've seen before. Many wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and oxygen tanks. Surprisingly, it wasn't a downer: everyone seemed to be having a good time, whether easily mobile or in the slow lane. That helped us enjoy it even more.
Suggestion for Royal Caribbean: put a juke box into the South Pacific Lounge so those of us who want to REALLY dance can drop our quarters in when the room is not otherwise being used, and enjoy that beautiful dance floor.