To preface this review, let me state who we traveled with.
Me: 37 (multiple cruises)
Wife: 34 (1 other cruise)
Daughter: 11 (first cruise)
Son: 8 (first cruise)
Son: 6 (first cruise)
Aunt: 70 (first cruise in a long time)
Uncle: 72 (first cruise in a long time)
Most reviews tell anecdotal stories about great this or terrible that. I am going to put down bullet points of highlights and lowlights.
- Boarding was fine. Parked at the pier...expensive, but worth it.
- After boarding, buffet was packed and nowhere to sit. What do you expect on a cruise?
- Freestyle dining is ok, but it is nice to get dressed up for dinner.
- Young boys loved the Splash Academy, 11 year old did not. Not sure what we expected, but they stay in a big room the entire time.
- Also, they close the academy for lunch and dinner. Kind of the opposite of freestyle, isn't it?
- Only ate at Moderno's and it was ok. We went late due to a show and the food was very slow to get to us. Also, it's tough to enjoy Brazillian Steakhouse when you are stuffing yourself all day every day
- Manhattan Room was nice, but dinner took, on average 2.5 hours. Bring video games for the kids.
- Rope course was awesome. Slides were fun. The freefall was overrated as the other slide went faster
- The pools were weak. The kids pool was tiny and not fun. The kids ended up going to the adult pool and who could blame them.
- The food was ok on average. The wife wasn't a fan. Kids love that stuff. I have had better, but was satisfied
- Drinks were way under alcoholized.
- Burn the Floor was good, even if you don't like dancing (my 6 and 8 year old boys actually liked it)
- Cirque was good, but the dinner was just ok and you miss a lot because of it. Bad design.
- Many of the parties were held outside (understandable) but on a November cruise from NYC, it was just too darn cold to enjoy them
- Howl at the Moon was great and a must-see. The called my wife and I up front to mock us in front of everyone for our anniversary
- The family oceanview was decent, but the storage was not enough. You can't expect much stuffing 5 people in 1 room, but I'd give up the makeup desk for more shelves for clothes
- Strangely enough, the bathroom felt too big compared to the rest of the room.
- Taste and Savor were both nice and the buffet was ok, but we tried to only eat breakfast and lunch there.
- O'Sheenan's had average, at best, bar food, and not enough of it. Throw some onion rings and cheese fries for the people who starve themselves to get fat on a cruise
- Simon did the bingo and was great at it (though, he needs more jokes, heard them like 4 times) He should have Dan "the man"'s job as entertainment director. Dan felt like a cheesy game show host. Sorry Dan.
- The wait at Splash Academy to drop off the kids could last like 10-15 minutes. Don't close so people don't have to waste their time standing in line
Overall, the cruise was fun, like any cruise would be. There were so many people, it's hard to really feel any sense of intimacy, but this was a cruise for the kids. I did feel that I spent much more on things than on Royal Caribbean. If you have younger kids (less than 10) they will love this cruise. Older is hit or miss (which may be the case with any cruise).