We decided a few weeks prior to take a short cruise for our anniversary. Found we could book a Jr Suite for not much more than a balcony, so we booked 9570. Deck plan showed close to a self-laundry I thought, but it turned out a service door. Fears that it would be loud in the morning never came true.
Driving to the Lauderdale port from the west coast was easy compared to handling the construction, self park garage and long walk to check-in.
Since we booked a suite and are Diamond level, we didn't have to wait in the winding que and we got to the desk quickly. Swift check-in and on our way onto the ship. We enjoyed a drink at the Bolero Bar until the cabins opened.
Our suite was very large and the 100 SF balcony held two lounges, two chairs and a very small round table. A true Walk-in Closet and lots of drawers. This is a plus with an older ship! Could easily cruise 14 days with all the storage. Flat screen TV a little small for the size of suite. Tub in bath and updated sink with counter space. Upper mirrored, small cabinets were great. Good water pressure and adjustable shower bar. The bed was very hard for me, but it's personal preference. Noticed the carpet hadn't been vacuumed, but steward came just after we entered with the vacuum. Coffee and tea maker in suite, but only one pack of regular coffee and steward said everything else was decaf. The mini-bar is not a fridge in any way, not even a chiller. I asked for an extra ice bucket that I placed inside without the lid and it cooled our bottled water. Oh, and if you think you hear soft music in the background, you probably do. Friends who were traveling with us didn't realize there is a small dial in the corner of the desk area that controls on-off and volume.
Great ship to explore. A mini-Oasis of the Seas. The Flow Rider, Kid Zone, spa, gym and Sanctuary Pool are well appointed. The Rembrandt dining room has the older, formal ambiance with cascading stairs. It may be an older ship, but the lounges, theaters and shops have been renovated well. We had 20 mph winds and up to 10 ft seas on occasion. This ship hardly rocked and we were impressed how well she sails.
The food was average for Royal Caribbean. Being a short cruise, no shell fish entree was offered unless it was the last night. We dined at Chops to celebrate. Steaks were very good, but service lacking for a $30.00 per person specialty restaurant. The side dishes arrived luke warm and we were surprised when we were told the onion rings were from Johnny Rockets. Tables are close so hurried wait staff repeatedly brush your back without apologies. Our server heavily pushed the high end wines and told us at end of dinner he would appreciate a 10 rating when surveyed.
Windjammer Cafe was as expected. Barely warm food in each pan, repetitious station to station. Lucky to find a table that didn't have sticky, slimy arms on the fake rattan chairs with soiled cushions.
We found there were not enough bar tenders and some had surly attitudes. There are some great bar waiters wondering the pool decks eager to serve.
Entertainment on board was better than average. Really enjoyed the Encore Ice Show and Saturday Night Fever production the last evening. It hadn't been advertised until the evening prior. When a production opens 30 minutes prior, plan to get there close to opening to get a good seat.
The Captain's evening offered only glasses of champagne prior to his welcome.
Only port was Cozumel. Been there more times that ever desired. We go for the "boat ride" when we decide on a short cruise so no comments for port or excursions.
RCI now uploads loyalty member offers to the Sea Pass cards, no voucher coupon books. Plus you no longer have to sign out pool towels. No smoking in cabins or balconies. Finally, RCI gets it! Someone near our suite must have been smoking and reported. As leaving suite one afternoon, there was security sniffing the hall trying to locate the smoker. Glad they take it seriously. Plus an officer requested a youth under 16 to leave the Sanctuary whirlpool and use the spas at the regular pool. Kudos!
We did the walk-off with luggage option and were not rushed the morning of our departure. Enjoyed an 8 AM breakfast, back to our cabins to close our luggage and left the ship at 9. It did take an hour to wind our way off the ship, through luggage area and enter customs desk. Lots of traffic due to construction when leaving garage, so make allowances.