We recently returned from Royal Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas. (March 28-31, 2014)
We were disappointed in the cruise. Mainly the food, after hearing about cruise ships having food that is fantastic, we didn't even consider that it would be bland. While adequate, was not at all anything we would call better than substandard. The ice cream bar consisted of a played out soft serve machine and a cone dispenser. No sprinkles ,nuts,toppings.
After hearing from others that have cruised and reading reviews we didn't give it a thought that the food might be bland and sugar free ( by sugar free we think they didn't use a sugar substitute, just didn't use sugar). We expected the dining room food to be better, however I suspect the steak I was served there were the same ones available at the windjammer buffet style cafeteria, only the presentation was better. The tastiest things we ate were a hot dogs and nachos. The waffles were decent.
There is free water, lemonade and flavored waters available almost always.
The boat itself while nice at some time in its life, now seems tired and in need of a major cosmetic overhaul. The elevators seem to take forever (also heard others complaining about them)
We stayed in room 7014 a balcony room. It was clean and nice enough, but dated. The shower worked well (plenty of pressure/hot water). The only electrical outlet is near the balcony door. So you must use a hair drier/curling iron there and not in the bathroom. Would recommend staying more mid ship (this was a forward room) that way you are more centrally located so you don't have to walk so far to different areas of the ship. Also I think mid ship rooms aren't as susceptible to rough sea motion. On a plus side we didn't get much noise from people walking past our room.
We pulled out of Canaveral at 4:30 pm. Our rooms were to be ready at 1:30 and they were. We tried to get to our room at 1:10 and weren't treated very nicely about this attempt. We knew we were breaking the rule but were excited to see our room and I think it was ready at that time.
You could hear loud music at times from the theater (this room is above the backstage area) It did not bother us at all and would not avoid this room for that reason.
It was somewhat confusing on what was complimentary aboard the ship. The directory listed Ben and Jerry's/Starbucks as such. We didn't expect those to be free but a portion of the pastry case was serving the same food as the windjammer. When we asked they said nothing in that case was complimentary.
Our cruise director Marc (Mark?) did a great job and was very entertaining.
Our port in Nassau, Bahamas was OK, not what we were expecting, the merchants pester you relentlessly if you show interest in anything (be ready to barter). The town is really run down. I think the only reason we would return would be to go to Atlantis.
We could not tender at Coco Cay because of wind/waves. We looked forward to this island more than anything else on the trip. We knew this could happen/hoped it wouldn't, but it did. We were not offered any type of on board credit or refund for this missed opportunity.
We talked to people on a Disney cruise that docked at Disneys private island that same day nearby. If we cruise again we will search a cruise that docks at all ports of call, not tenders.
Because of the missed stop we proceeded toward Cape Canaveral at half speed so we would arrive at the scheduled time. At this point we would have been happy to get off the boat even if it meant renting a motel an extra night.
We sailed some pretty rough seas, even some of the workers commented on the more than average jouncing. While this is not Royals fault we thought we would mention it so people realize it can happen. We were under the impression by reading other reviews this doesn't happen this much. The rock climbing wall and the bungee ride were never opened on this cruise because of wind.
While I don't know for sure it is accurate we were told that some other cruise lines take the sting out of a missed port of call with some sort of credit/cash back.
We had never gone through customs before. We found out at the custom officers station that you must fill out a declaration form even if you don't have anything to declare.
Overall we don't regret going on a cruise, if we went again (which I don't think we will) we WILL NOT be using Royal Caribbean.