Being the first time on Royal, we loved the ship. We have sailed on NCL and Princess (45-50 age)
Went smoothly, we stayed two days in FTL at the Holiday Inn Express Conv Ctr. Cruise port. Its more expensive, but it also allowed us to walk to the grocery, liqour, and the water taxi down by the pier.
**Note** Avoid the store ROSS on cruise port day... It is bombarded by EVERY cruise worker. The line up went around the store.
The room 7390 balcony was on starboard side. Nice view facing the ocean when docked, and you get the sun for the first two at sea days. Shade on last at sea day.
The room was bigger, the bed was bigger, and there was ample storage space. Shower was fine. No complaints.
Bed was big too.
We were a party of 10, first night they screwed up our seating arrangement, GET TO THE MDR EARLY, ONCE YOU BOARD. You get a ticket and wait in line to speak to head waiter to fix your table.
There were a couple of days where we only wanted to go to the dinner the two of us, so we decided to go to "anytime" dining. We were told that they could not accomodate since we already had a set table. But, "just this once" they sat us. Well we sat at a table of 8, with only 4 people. We saw lots of empty seats...
MDR, was good. We would checked what was on the menu on the screens through out the boat, and decided to do Windjammer for 3-4 nights. I like the sushi you can get, as well as it offered the same food as what is in the dining room...
Escargots! You can't get that in the Windjammer! They were fantastic! Ordered them every time, my brother-in-law actually order two orders at the same time.
The beach bbq on Labadee was AMAZING! Loved it!
Also, what we did not like, if you were not on level 3, they announce a show by the wait staff over the intercom, (which is loud) but if you are not on level 3, you can not see the show, so it become annoying...
Skating show, was good, the violinist was great.
Everything else was ok, we walked out on a couple. Sorry, but the singing and dancing became the same thing, just different songs and costumes. Joff was funny at first, then we waited for the show to begin, and when he kept telling jokes, I started looking at my watch... So, if you dont think he is funny, and dont care for the magician that should be for kids, just skip the "farewell show" on the last night.
The quest was good for some laughs.
The two parades were fun. The first one is on the first night, so get to the promenade early and find a seat at The Dog and Badger pub. Which I loved for the acoustic guiter shows every night.
Also, the "Disco Inferno" parade was great, loved the music, and dancing.
Very clean, I was surprised. Staff were always cleaning rails, and making sure people sanitized.
But, we still wiped everything down in our room with Clorex wipes. Always do, where ever I go...
The adult pool in the Solarium was filthy. It was full of floaties. I know, you can not help paper napkins that get blown around in the wind from landing in the pool, but I wonder how often the water is changed. Plus, with it so small, there was one day that I went in, and when the boat rocked, I rolled and banged into the other 30 people that swayed to the one side of the pool... I got out right after that...
I noticed that the main pool (where they do aerobics and volleyball) gets drained every time (twice a day) they set up for this (in order to lower the level so people can touch the bottom) then they fill it back up. Hmmm fresh water in the pool, I think it was cleaner...
Chairs: Of course you have chair hogs, and they do try to monitor. We woke up at 6:30 am on the last at-sea day to find 4 loungers. We picked a prime spot! Starboard side right infront of pool. You will have the sun ALL day! (and yes, we were there from 6:30 on. Read, chatted, had breakfast and lunch there)
We purchased the Ultimate package. We have always "brought" our booze on board with us in the past, but, the hassle of finding pop etc, was a major pain in the butt, plus, some times it would never make it on board... So it comes down to "how much is it worth to you..."
You are allowed two bottles of wine per state room. But, in all essence, if each person had two bottles in their carry on, they could not prove who is bringing what, since the guy looking at the scanner, does not know who belongs to who. Yes, we did try to bring two more bottles on board, when we were in Porto Rico, yep, it was taken away, and given back on the last night of cruise.
We had no issue with the selection. As we like the Kim Crawford for white. But, if you really like the real expensive wines, then the wine package might be more suited. The ultimate allowed us for our espresso coffee's in the morning, and freshly squeezed orange juice, which was amazing!
**NOTE** DO NOT GET THE BOTTLED WATER IN THE GYM'S DISPENSER, you will be charged! ($2.50) learnt that the hard way.
Only once did we come across a "fussy waiter" who would not give me my drink since I already had one in my hand... ( I had a quarter left...) so he walked away... What a waste. So, I just got up and walked to the bar and got one myself.
Also, they FREE POUR! Wow, sometimes too strong. So when I ordered a Strawberry Margaritas, the booze would float to the top, so I would stir it really fast and the liquid would then overflow out... Which made it more tolerable.
There is no time limit of ordering drinks, since I would order one glass of wine, and walk to another bar and order another right away.
If you want to shop this is the place for it. Shops, shops and more shops! I actually just got burnt out of shopping, because it is almost the same thing over and over.
You really need to know what you are looking for first. We then headed to the beach front and stopped for beers and food.
Did the Blue water Safaris cruise. Booked in on-line and not on the boat.
It had seating for a lot more people than we actually had. There were full sized restrooms, a sunning deck on the roof and trampoline nets at the bow. They also have an open bar with beers, soda and liquor beverages.
After we were well away from shore they put the sails up and shut down the engines for a nice quiet cruise. We moored near the shoreline and they gave everyone time to swim or snorkel. They also served a light lunch consisting of some local dishes.
We just got off and walked... I just felt that I was missing something... The map that you get from the ship did not fully explain where all the "good" shopping was.
In the park near the pier we ate empanada's from a street food truck. Yum! But, you could not get a cold beer anywhere before noon. Except at Senior Frogs. Which was hopping.
BUT... They did not sell the San Juan "native" beer... Apparently, the company is in a disagreement with the government.
We were definitely not prepared for actually how big it was. We were a party of 10, thank god, one of us said, "Lets meet at Columbus Cove". Because if you get said, you would meet "on the beach" you will never find ANYONE! It is that huge. Columbus Cove was very nice as compared to South side where the waves were rough.
The BBQ was FANTASTIC!
The water slide was terrible... My nephews and niece went down it... Heard from someone... "That was the WORST slide ever!" There was no water pressure. If you must go one it. try to "barter" with the guy if no one is around... Slip him some money instead of full price...
Only donated $20. It was too smokie, and the stench waft'd it's way through to where you go into for the shows... Yuck.
POOR! Wow! we were held up everywhere we went... Held up as we tried to get off boat, held up at elevator going down into the terminal, held up from entering terminal. There was backlog everywhere. So, you stood for A VERY LONG TIME...
For people that were designated to depart at 8, they did not get out of the terminal until 9:45am!!!
Take a taxi, it is way cheaper. $5/pp