Have been back from our cruise for a while now, but figured it was time to write a brief review. I just read "Less than Legendary"'s review, and I have to say "ditto" for most of it. However, we did meet a lot of great people and had a great time.
A little background - hubby and I are a young 64/58 - We are VIP on Carnival and love it! However, we decided to give RCCL a try, especially since we loved this different 10-day itinerary. The ports were great! Our favorite was probably Dominica, where we spent the day with Levi Baron of Bumpiing Tours - will have to post separate review for that - awesome day!!! Enjoyed all of the other ports as well.
I must say the staff was OUTSTANDING - especiall our cabin steward Ivan and MDR waitstaff (Roland and Rian) :) We felt bad for them and our breakfast waitstaff, however, since they had to deal with a lot of rude, obnoxious (mostly older) people (as the prior review mentioned). We even met a young woman doctor from Canada in the Crown & Anchor office one evening and had a long talk - she and her parents were long-time RCCL cruisers and had been commenting all week how they had never experienced a RCCL cruise like this one with the rude, entitled passengers!! One older woman was causing quite a fuss our first day at sea when the dining room opened 5 minutes late for breakfast.
Our cruise director Keith and his assistant Gio were also great! They also had a tough job pleasing this crowd. We had some wonderful unique experiences - an unexpected invitation to dinner at Izumi with the Chief Engineer (one of the coolest dinners of our lives), my husband doing a guest appearance on the morning tv show with Keith and Gio, and also placing third in the belly flop contest!
The ship was "dead" at night - not a soul to be found in some spots. I think this also had to do with the layout of the ship (with no promenade deck). There was very little passenger participation in most events, from the sailaway, to deck parties, to line dancing near the pool. The belly flop contest did get a big crowd however. We did meet lots of great people - mostly out by the pool. We were at a table for 10 at the early sitting - a great diverse group of people, and we got along great!! We had a lot of laughs and so much fun - that the maitre'd actually asked us after the second night if another couple who were dining alone could join us (since 2 at our table hadn't been showing up). The other couple did, and fit right in!!
MDR food was okay - I think Carnival's food is a bit better there. Windjammer food was okay, but not much variety - and the hamburgers were pre-made and just laying out in trays like hockey pucks (as was the pizza). Carnival wins hands down with their Lido Restaurant - we love the 24 hour pizza, fresh burgers and hot dogs cooked right in front of you, and the NY Deli!!
Entertainment was pretty bad. The only good shows were the comedians - one from NY, and one from Boston, and a juggler who had appeared on America's Got Talent. The other shows were terrible.
We were told by several loyal RCCL passengers that we should not judge RCCL by this ship - that we should try a Freedom class or higher ship next time and would have a much better experience - especially with the entertainment. Our friends are leaving Saturday on the Independence of the Seas for their first RCCL cruise - I am anxious to hear their feedback when they get back. I'm already shopping for our next Cruise next February, and will be going back to Carnival for that one. I just find the itineraries we like on ships we like better for now . . .