I was on this ship the week before the fire in May and enjoyed myself so much, decided to sail on her again. Although this was an overall experience, there were some issues that should be addressed by RCCI.
Embarkation/Debarkation: Extremely smooth. It was literally 5 minutes from dropping off luggage to check-in. They let passengers onboard at 10:45 but rooms were not available til 1pm and the Windjammer didn't open til 11:30 so most people just sat around just waiting. So, sometimes it's best not to get there too early.
Stateroom: I had a large inside stateroom (8529) which was quite spacious for me. Plenty of storage and closet space. There was a slight squeak in the corner of the closet heard occasionally with the movement of the ship which turned out to be a nightmare on one night with extremely rough seas after leaving Key West. Needless to say, not much sleep that night between the squeak, rolling of the seas and constant banging.
Entertainment: Cruise director was Ricky Matthews who was terrific. Production shows were Rhyme and Rhythm and All Access which I saw 6 months ago so I didn't bother to go. They also had several commedians who were terrific and of course the old standards-Love and Marriage Game, Battle of the Sexes, The Quest. Time to think about some new things! They did do a Thriller Dance class and many passengers performed in costume the final night of the cruise. The arial shows were great also repeated from six months prior.
Meals: I only ate in one speciality restaurant (Izumi) and it was amazing. I highly recommend it. I went to the dining room most of the other nights and some of the features were lobster, prime rib, filet mignonette, escargot and many delicious desserts which is my weakness. I also highly recommend eating in the dining room at lunch. A great menu supplemented by a wonderful salad bar.
Now the Negatives: The weather could have been better. Leaving out of Baltimore in November means no warm weather for 2 days going and 2 days coming back. That's half the cruise. That means the indoor pool was absolutely crazy with people mAking it almost impossible to get a chair if you didn't get there by 8 am. I don't think I will be cruising from the northeast in November again. We could not stop at Coco Cay due to the high winds and rough seas and the Key West stop was shortened to get ahead of the cold front coming in. That night the ship heaved so bad, I saw sea sick bags scattered around the ship the next day. Seas seemed to calm down after that and was pretty smooth the rest of the wY home.
There was an AC problem on deck 7 for more than 3 days. One of our cruise critic members actually had condensation on their mirrors it was so hot in their room. The ship was fully booked so there were no other room available to move them. I understand RCCI gave a few people impacted a discount on their next cruise. Was that enough?
There was also a nightmare situation at the Key West stop. We had to do immigration check onboard because we had just come from Nassau and they announced the stop would be shortened. People who had shore excursions were told to come first but everyone came and there were lines of people all over the ship with no staff to keep the order. People were yelling at each other and it seemed like a few fights were in the works. Once inside the theatre where all the staff were, things went smoothly til you got outside. We were docked at the naval yard so they shuttled you over to Mallory Square. Needless to say, there were hundreds of people outside all waiting to get on the shuttles shortening the time you had in town. RCCI needs to focus on organizing large groups.
Even with all these problems, I felt it was a good cruise. With the exception of the organization problems, the entire staff did a terrific job of providing the best customer service. I would not hesitate sailing with RCCI again.