Overall we had a great cruise for our family of 5 (2 adults, 3 kids ages 2, 4, 6). Since we had virtually no family reviews to read about before hand I will focus my review on mostly the young family options on the boat. My husband and I have cruised 4 times by ourselves, but this was our first time with kids.
Embarkation - Was simple and easy. Luggage drop off was a breeze and we had driven to the port (100 euro for 7 nights). It was less than a 5 minute from the car to check in. RC recognized our status on Celebrity so we got to check in as platinum members which made our line a little shorter. They had our cards ready to go, and our drink packages on our cards so we were very happy about how fast everything went.
Buffet - This would be my big negative for the trip, especially breakfast. When going down to the buffet most of the time it took 2-3 laps before a table could be located. Even though we were a family of 5 even a party of 2 was doing laps. The weather was nice enough to sit outside and even that was full. They asked us to be patient and they would help find us a seat, however waiting 15 minutes to sit with hungry children is not my idea of relaxing. My other problem is that they only had one person toasting breads in the whole buffet. One guy madly doing bagels, bread, muffins etc....seemed like they could have had another one open. Also the line for fresh eggs was always 10 people deep, I never bothered. The food in the buffet wasn't great, but it wasn't bad, I just made it a point to only do breakfast there and look elsewhere for lunch/dinner options.
Main Dining Room - The Main Dining room experience was great. We had family friends on the boat as well and we were able to request the 10 of us to sit at one table (4 adults and 6 kids under 6 years old). The waitress and her assistant were awesome. By the third day they had the kids food waiting for them which made dinner a more pleasant experience. We usually only had to make it through ordering and salad and appetizer course before we could take the kids up to the kids club for the evening, made dinner much more peaceful. I recommend using the adventure dining the nights its offered, and they will take the kids to eat, and you can do a full meal in peace. The food quality itself was really good, and the service was fairly quick. I really liked the head waiter, he was very friendly and always came by to say hi to the kids. I do think they could use someone who just does drinks like they do on celebrity, the poor wait staff on RC always seemed like they were running around!
Kids Club (adventure ocean) - Our 6 year old and 4 year old loved the kids club. They begged to go there more days and happily stayed there for hours on in. At each port we offered them the chance to stay or come on shore and it was about 1/2 and 1/2. The counselors were great, they had fun activities, everyone spoke English and they seemed to really loved what they did. I was somewhat skeptical when I saw the size of the room, but the # of kids in there since the cruise was during the school year was never more than 10 and it seemed to always be a feeling of calm chaos! They had fun family activities like scavenger hunts, and bingo etc...I recommend participating especially b/c the kids can win prizes, which is always fun. The hours were great and it was all included except if you left them there after hours (2200 - ??).
Royal Babies - We utilized this service for our 2 year old. It was also good. There were times when you could go up to the room and play with your own child, and during dinner and other advertised times babysitting was available at $8 hr. It was well worth the money and although our son did cry sometimes when being dropped off, we either picked him up happy or asleep. They other great program is checking out toys to take back to the room, which we did and it was great.
Activities - The onboard activities were OK. The climbing wall was a big hit. It was nice that they had family time for the indoor pool, even though its supposed to be adults only. The daily program gives families 2 2-hr periods each day to take the kids to the pool. I did it twice and got dirty looks from the older crowd each time, but I did explain to a few that it was a designated family time and they looked shocked, and then left us alone. Even if you don't swim the food in the indoor pool area is good and is a healthy option. We missed the activities found on celebrity. There were no thought provoking talks, just trivia from a really eccentric British guy.
Viking Lounge - It would be nice if the music started earlier and the wait staff new something about making drinks. It seemed to always be a struggle. One evening I ordered a dark and stormy which I explained was ginger beer and dark rum...the waiter brought me a captain Morgan on the rocks, and asked if I wanted a coke or something to go with it...fail! The place was pretty hopping after 2200 but one of us went to grab the kids at that time so some more adult time would have been nice.
Ports - Overall fine. I never do cruise excursions as we book our own, but the docking, tendering seemed to run smooth. I didn't care much for Argostoli, Greece it just wasn't that great, but the rest of our ports wer great. I really liked Ephesus!
All in all a great family. If you are on the fence about going with children go ahead and book it. Don't book a balcony room...I would have been a nervous wreck, ocean view is the way to go with little ones. One more thing buy the all inclusive photo package for $200 and have them take family photos every night, it actually works out fairly cheap if you utilize it!