We really enjoyed this amazing cruise to the Western Caribbean out of Galveston. We have traveled on Royal Caribbean, Norweigan, and Carnival. Royal Caribbean is by far the best! We are in our early 30's and this was our babymoon! We both have really intense jobs and this getaway was very relaxing and refreshing. It was the perfect babymoon.
Our very first cruise was about seven years ago with Royal Caribbean to Greece, Italy and Egypt. This Western Caribbean cruise was our first one back on Royal since then. Here are some things we noticed lacking:
1. Interior cabins no longer have the curtain that separates the sitting area from the bed, which was really nice if one person wanted to read while the other took a nap.
2. They no longer hand out mints at night on the beds.
3. They don't have the activity where you can earn free stuff for walking laps anymore.
4. The Cafe Promenade took the place of the snack bar near the pool. For free, the Cafe Promenade served sandwiches and pastries and pizza but no longer hamburgers and hot dogs, which my husband missed. Johnny Rockets now serves unlimited hamburgers for $4.00 per person but friends said these burgers were not good.
These are really minor changes but sometimes it is the little things that make customers loyal. And little free things can go a long way with cruisers on a budget.
Things that I thought were good about this cruise:
1. Cranberry bread for breakfast is still delicious!
2. The interior cabins are more spacious than those of NCL and Carnival. The sitting area is very nice with the sofa.
3. All of our stuff fit really well in the shelves and drawers.
4. The cabin was really quiet; we were lucky to have quiet neighbors.
5. Overall, the food in the dining room was good (especially the salads made during lunch). The food in the Windjammer was OK but I really didn't like all the people being germy and pushy at the buffet. We avoided the Windjammer as much as possible. There was also not much variety at the Windjammer. (My husband got the Norovirus on NCL once, so we are now extra careful on all cruises.)
6. Trivia was awesome and fun. Royal Caribbean hands out great prizes like umbrellas, tote bags, caps, and sturdy travel pouches.
7. No one was smoking in their cabins as far as we could tell. We smelled smoke in our Carnival room.
8. Our room functioned perfectly. No problems with shower or toilet or electricity (again we had problems on Carnival's Magic in 2011 out of Galveston, prior to it being stranded.) AC was great.
9. Room attendant was great.
10. Beds were comfy.
11. Soda card was $53 for unlimited sodas for 7 days.
12. Watching people on the flow rider was fun. Some were really good and some fell really hard.
13. The pictures the photographers took were great but expensive. An 8x10 was $20 but since we were Crown and Anchor members we got the second photo for $10.
14. We didn't spend a lot of money on board.
15. We enjoyed walking around Decks 4 and 11/12.
16. Small handful of college students and families with young kids; mainly elderly people.
17. Seatings in the main dinner room were fine as you got there a little early. Had to beat those elderly people!
18. We booked our cruise one week in advance and got a great deal!! $450 per person for 7 nights; interior room on deck 8 aft, 8671.
19. Tendering at Grand Cayman was not too bad but we also got off the ship at 2pm.
20. Falmouth, Jamaica has the best prices for shopping. Grand Cayman and Cozumel were much more expensive. Shop in Jamaica!!
21. There were two formal nights.
22. I wish I had brought an alarm clock because there are no clocks in the room. I am glad I brought my power strip due to lack of outlets in the room.
23. Library was great!
Some negatives this time around:
1. Entertainment was not that great. Only two shows were awesome - a funny magician and Rebecca and Donovan's acrobatics. Most nights we did not attend. The ice show was cheesy.
2. This ship held about 3600 passengers, which made getting on and off the boat a little hectic and stressful. We prefer the smaller ships.
3. Movies on the big screen - selection not that great. (Man of Steel, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, The Butler) Catching Fire was the only really good one. But this is a matter of taste.
4. Crazy shuttle driver at the port who cursed at us and yelled....not the best way to start off the trip!
5. I wanted to book our Next Cruise while on the ship but that was person was NOT helpful at ALL. At first he said children were free but then later, he said they were just cheaper. It was like he really didn't know his stuff. He was not knowledgeable at all, even on other questions we had for him. A regular travel agent would probably have known more.
Overall, we were very pleased with how it all went. We would recommend this trip to anyone!! It was fun and relaxing! Can't wait to go again!