My friend and I booked this as a birthday treat, some sun before a couple of days shopping in New York. We flew from Heathrow, UK and landed in Newark, the lady who met us to arrange transfer for the overnight stay at Newark before embarkation was lovely, very helpful and we arrived safely if somewhat tired and confused with the erratic transfer. Doubletrees Hilton was ok, but $12.95 for wifi for I night?? Won't be going there again and also no breakfast provided although our holiday package was full board, $30 for breakfast, not a good start.
Traffic to the pier was heavy and slow, but check-in surprisingly easy, we arrived on the ship after 1pm and decided to eat, first of our mistakes as the Windjammer was manic, honestly you would have thought the people there hadn't eaten for a month! The staff tried to clear up but the passengers were like animals, we took ages to fine something to eat after being pushed and battered by the rush to get yet more food. The mess on the tables and floor was disgusting.
We returned to our cabin, the maid was a star, gave us valuable info, and kept our cabin spotless (7572). My luggage had arrived and I unpacked, the cabin was ok, tired and dated but clean and ok for us. My friend eventually got a call at 6pm, the crew member was rude, demanded she go to deck 1 for a security check on her luggage, it turned out that she was not permitted to bring an iron on board and received a safety lecture, where in RCCL does it say no irons?? But they are happy to iron for you at a minimum of $2.95 per item.
We booked anytime dining which worked well for us and the waiting staff and restaurant management were excellent, food mostly very good with only the odd hiccup but we were encouraged to try something else if we didn't like our first choice.
Entertainment provided in the Palace theatre was also very good, although obviously provided for the American audience we also enjoyed, even the comedian!
Room service - dreadful on a good day!, I do not drink coffee (obviously something the kitchens couldn't deal with), and ordered hot water to make tea with, this proved impossible for them to provide, I kept getting hot water tainted with coffee - you try making tea with it, however the room service could not understand this and on 2 occasions were very rude, inferring I was being difficult!! Also my friend got her coffee pot, cup & saucer, milk I only got a pot of tainted water, no cup & saucer or milk! Eventually in desperation I went to customer relations ( not customer service as they don't provide a service) and explained my problem but no solution was offered. I gave up and went up to windjammer with a stainless steel pot I had managed to grab and got my own. Ridiculous.
The Promenade - what can I say?, during the day not too bad but at night, full of rowdy, noisy people, too much alcohol? We went once but didn't repeat the mistake.
The excursions - very expensive, we took the transport to Universal studios and had a fantastic day.
Would we go again, never! The ship is so obviously aimed at the American market and anyone else is ignored and judged as a nuisance. We met a few other British as well as other Europeans and the consensus was generally the same opinion as ours.
The ship is generally tired and dated, the (mostly) excellent Asian, South American & Far Eastern Crew members did their best to make our trip as good as possible and we thank them for this.
However this cruise is so obviously for the American market, we were an oddity to be made fun of, and on one occasion photos tried to be taken because we were "English"!
In future we will stay with Princess, P & O, or similar.