Embarkation was a breeze. We had flown into San Juan a day early so dropped off our bags at the ship early in the morning & then left to spend the day in Old San Juan. When we returned in the late afternoon the lines were gone and we were able to board quickly.
When we arrived at our stateroom three bags were waiting but one was missing. We asked our stateroom attendant about it and he said we might not receive our bag until 9 PM. As the evening wore on we kept asking & eventually he checked on it for us. Security was holding it because I had a steamer in my bag. I understand they have their rules but couldn't they have notified us immediately so we didn't have to worry that the bag had been lost or stolen?
There have been many comments that the ship is showing it's age and needs an update. I didn't find that at all. The ship was beautiful, well cared for & spotless. It was one of the most beautiful ships I have been on in 20 years of cruising. I loved the size. It was very easy to navigate. Our cabin was of a pretty standard size. The bed was hard but we requested an "egg crate" from our stateroom attendant and it was fine after that.
I found the Windjammer (buffet) to have a good variety of food and everything I tried was pretty tasty. The dining room was a disappointment. The food was just okay. Our waiter, Rolando, was a hoot. He kept us entertained every night. His assistant, not so much. My husband drank iced tea every night and had to request a spoon to stir it for over half the cruise.
The cruise director, Dennis, is a bundle of energy and is multi talented. We enjoyed any event he had a hand in. The Broadway show should be retired. The performers are talented singers/dancers but the music is odd & obscure.
The ports were islands I had never heard of. I am glad we gave this itinerary a try. Even though every island has pockets of poverty as all of the Caribbean Islands seem to have, the islands were physically beautiful & amazing to see. We booked all our excursions based on Trip Advisor recommendations & did not use any of the ship's excursions.
Disembarking was also very organized and relatively painless. We used a porter and breezed through customs. I would highly recommend doing this. It was well worth the tip.
Though I have been cruising for 20 years this was my first cruise with Royal Caribbean. I had heard such rave reviews that maybe I was expecting too much. It was a satisfactory cruise but not anything on a different plane from any other cruise we have been on. The biggest standout of the cruise was the physically beautiful ship. Will we cruise Royal Caribbean again? Definitely, but it will be based on price/itinerary, not on reputation.