My wife and have have 20+ cruises, Diamond on RCI. Have been on all size RCI ships; the Allure prior to this cruise. Last was on the Jewel in 2005. The ship's condition is still very good. If you want to look for something worn or rusted, you probably could find a spot. But still very well cared for, saw workers sanding and painting.
Clean overall. We did not have any problems in the room or other areas. Stateroom attendant was friendly, he had the room done each time we left and ready when we returned ( it helps to put out the "please make room up" card in the door slot). We hate coming back and the room is not done! We tipped him the first day and had ice, extra wash clothes every day. We also pre pay gratuities.
Embarkation---flew in that day .arrived 1220pm. Waited for luggage, , taxi to ship ($19+2+5+tip=$31 ) ( We had 5 bags--a dollar per bag). Once there , on the ship as fast as you can go through security, get seapasses On the ship in 15 minutes. Room ready, dropped off bags and to Windjammer, was not crowded at 140pm.
Dining room---We have done Chops, Portofino, Giovanni's, 150 Park, etc. etc. all before. We eat out at Longhorn's, Red Lobster, other sit down restaurants at home. Have done a bunch of 5 stars over the years (Victoria & Alberts at WDW is excellent)...our joke is the higher the price of the meal....more likely to get heartburn/sick later!! That said --we ate every night in the MDR and found the food good to very good. The duck on day 2 was outstanding...I heard others say the same. I really liked the lamb and our lobsters were good. Sure, a few things we did not like, but get something else. Service was a little hectic the first night, but our waiter/asst. waiter did great after that. Had wife's diet coke ready, brought her two at a time. We had escargot every night (yay!) We usually get app, salad, soup, escargot, then the entrée and desert. Our head waiter checked in on us a few times...some cruises they show up last night!
We did not do any excursions....had been to all places but Martinique before. Usually laid out by pool 8 to 1130 then lunch ,then walked off ship for awhile, then back. We had no problem getting pool chairs any day when in port....but the last day was a sea day and people were out at 615-630 already lining up towels on chairs. We enjoyed watching a few arguments when RCI employees took towels/items off chairs when no one showed up for an hour or longer!
Entertainment--did not attend much..we were on the cruise to relax,rest and were generally up early and to bed by 9-10.... watched a few movies / saw some NCAA ball games on TV. I heard the comedian 1st night was good. Saw the tail end of some singers...all were ok. Carly, the cruise director was a bundle of energy and saw her around. Very personable.
Other random comments---Very few kids on the ship. Seaview Café was a hidden gem to eat , but never open before 230pm on port days , then opened at noon on day at sea and busy. Internet slow as mud.We had 60 free minutes being Diamond and took half of it to connect and get off. We did not do the premium drink package. Getting off the ship, we spoke with a younger couple ( late 20's)...they had bought the package and said they could not drink enough to justify it. We do a drink or so by the pool, but there are numerous parties--Meet the Captain, Welcome Back Crown & Anchor members, Top Tier event , plus there is a nightly Diamond event that gets free wine, champagne, etc.. So we have ample complimentary drinks and do not need a drink package. Being Loyal to Royal pays off!! Guest relations were very helpful to us with any question. A tip---book next cruise onboard for good rate and On Board credit! It can even be changed once you are home--I had to move ours to a different date.
Overall-we enjoyed the cruise...but we did what we wanted ( we are retired, early 60's). The smaller ship was nice to get around..great for port intensive trips. When we go with family, grandkids, we will do the bigger ships with all the activities. But we loved the Jewel in 2005 and still enjoyed the ship years later!