We sailed on 4/19 voayge. Cabin 11766. Balcony. Ship had approx. 4,000 passengers. We are (were) devoted RCL cruisers.
Arrived at port around 10am. Allowed into the check in area around 10:30. Boarded around 11:45am with groups one and two.
Once on board headed to guest services to purchase vibe passes. We were eighth to buy passes. They had 65 available and did NOT sell them all. They sold day passes for $20 a person all week. The vibe is well worth the $79. No worrying about sun chairs, getting a drink or getting to use the hot tubs. Raj is the best and will get you whatever you need. Private bathrooms, showers and never felt crowded.
Main pool areas are great for kids. Very crowded near the pool area and loud. There are plenty of areas forward that are private with many sun chairs available if you're not into the craziness.
Went to the adult area one night for a dance party but the exhaust from the ship was coming down on everyone and we couldn't stay. Not sure if it was just that night but we never went back. I will say it's huge but only hot tubs and no pool. Strange that there isn't a pool.
Saw the fireworks. Prepare yourself for a very short program with no grand finale. Still a nice touch. Plenty of places on top to see it without going to the adult area.
We ate dinner at Wasabi, The noodle bar, Brazilian steak house, Tropicana and the Italian restaurant. If you like sushi and have really good stuff you'll be disappointed. The sushi is average. They have to bring it on once a week in Miami and it's vacuum packed. The noodle bar is great. Ate there more than once. The Italian restaurant is better than the reviews I've seen on here. It is definitely better than Olive Garden. We do not order red sauce on cruises when it comes to Italian food because we've never had one that was good. The same can be said for this restaurant. Anything else we had was delicious and the service was impeccable. Did not like the Brazilian restaurant. Meat was too dry but that's just us. Many said they loved it. Loved the Tropicana's setting and the food was better than expected. The service was once again sterling. In fact it was better than RCL in every place we ate. We did not wait at any restaurant all week. Reservations can be made on your tv in your stateroom. The steak and french restaurants sell out fast so get your reservations in early if not before you get on the ship. Heard nothing but good things about those two restaurants. The buffet was always busy. If you can't find anything to eat at the buffet you're not trying. Plenty of variety. O'Sheehan's is your classic fried pub food. If you want to eat breakfast there avoid the times that have aerobics or any program for that matter going on a floor below in the main area as it gets very loud. You can't hear normal talking. You have to basically yell. Poor planning I'd say.
Loved burn the floor. Legally blonde was good too. Thought the gay jokes went too far (no i'm not gay). Other than that it was a good show.
The casino was fantastic. My wife is very sensitive to smoke and did not say a thing all week when going above or below the open area to the casino. There is a non smoking area next to the noodle bar in the casino. The staff at the casino is fantastic. Oliver, Trish and on and on were great.
Saw many people using the smartphone app to call or text people on the ship. Seemed worth the added expense. I believe it was around $8.
Overall the ship is beautiful. We were worried that the closed in ship (compared to RCL's bigger ships) was going to be a downer but it didn't bother us at all. The pool deck is huge. The kids area is well done with Sponge Bob and friends.
Saw complaints about the balcony size. It's fine. You have two chairs and a table. It's no different than any RCL ship we've been on. Not sure what people want to do out there but it's plenty big enough.
The service was unmatched by any cruise we've taken on RCL (10 of them). We had issues with our AC not working due to a balcony door issue on three separate occasions. This could have been a nightmare but our cabin steward Patrick was right on it every time and the technicians were right there to fix it each time within minutes. Great job by all. The servers, bartenders and cabin stewards were all top notch. I personally did not pass one crew member who didn't say hi or acknowledge us in some friendly way all week.
Some minor things I noticed that may need to be addressed....
- Why is it necessary to take pictures at the bottom of the steps in front of the french restaurant? Too many people trying to go up or down and it isn't very safe.
- Hot tubs in main pool area. Good luck trying to get in one of those. We counted 8 to 10 teenagers in each one most of the time on the main pool area.
- No signage in disembarkation area and a 40 minute wait once we had our bags to get through customs.
- Internet speed...ugh. It works in the staterooms which is great but the time it takes to load a page....criminal to charge by the minute when it's that slow.
- For the gamblers out there prepare to get a lower rating than any other cruise line or ship that isn't using the new tables. If you're a machine player it's no different but for table game the new ships measure not your playing time but each hand or roll in craps. While it's a more accurate accounting of your play because the other lines and ships use time as the basis for this accounting the new ships result in much lower ratings. For those people who gamble a lot and get cruises for free it could result in some issues.
That's it for now. We loved this ship and the ports. Will cruise on NCL again for sure. GREAT job NCL. Great job. You converted us.