This is my first ever cruise review and my third cruise. I decided to put things in this review that would help answer questions people may have that Royal Caribbean simply doesn't answer prior to the cruise. Sorry if things may have no order to them as I will type things as I think of them.
EMBARKATION: We got there at 11:00 am and were able to board at that time even though our recommended boarding time was 2 pm. We had a difficult time getting a ride from the City run parking lot but it only took about 10 minutes. I imagine it was much more difficult for the people that arrived later. The covered parking there was first come first serve and there are not many spots available so I would get there early if that is a concern. Getting on board was very smooth and we went straight to the Windjammer buffet and it was alreadt serving. They would not let anyone get in there rooms until 1:30 pm.
CRUISING: I recommend getting to know the ship early as it can be confusing. Only the 11th and 5th floor go all the way across so make those floors your primary travel floors. The elevators are ridiculously slow so we took a lot of stairs.
DINING: MAIN DINING ROOM:We ate in the dining room every night but one and it was very good. The lobster night was the last formal night and it is excellent. The prime rib and filet mignon was also perfect. The steak that is on the menu everynight is absolutely AWFUL! We tried it 3 times and it was never good. Avoid it at all costs. While the meals were very good to excellent, we were very dissapointed in the desserts. It seems the dessert chef has a fetish for mousse and jello textures. Nearly everything he made had this qualtity to it. He also clearly dislikes chocolate. Every chocolate dish he made included some type of fruit with it. For instance; chocolate pear pie was on the menu a lot. We did not care for it. They really need to make plain old chocolate cake as an option.
WINDJAMMER: The buffet was always good but never great. Something to keep in mind is the Windjammer will have prime rib the day after the main dining room had it. Good time to go to the Windjammer. This is the only place we ate breakfast and it was always good. They have the cook to order eggs and omelets down to a science. You place your order and they call your number when it is done.
PROMENADE CAFE: VERY dissapointed in this place. It serves small snack sandwhiches that are usaully stale and pizza that sits under a heat lamp. They also have overcooked crispy cookies. This is your only option after 9 pm (other then room service) and I found it very inadaquate.
ROOM SERVICE: I could never find any type of menu before boarding so I will post what I can remember on here. They have good but not great burgers, fried chicken patties, spinach artichoke dip (its good), fruit plates, a turkey panini, cookies (just like the promenades), and salads. This was also very dissapointing. They also charge you $3.95 per order from midnight until 5 am. At least now, if you are reading this, you will have some idea what to expect.
SPECIALTY DINING: We did not partake in any of the pay reastaurants but we heard they were good from fellow cruisers. We did try the Johnny Rockets burger shack. It is not a bad deal at $5.95 a person. This includes all the food (burgers and hot dogs with fries and onion rings) you want. It comes with a sundae that is simply vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup with whipped cream on it. The shakes are an additional $7.00. Don't expect anything great here as the food is simply like a sonic drive ins food. It is worth it though if you are to late for the Windjammer and dining room and are tired of room service. They are open until midnight and you can eat with an ocean view. A hidden gem of this place is the APPLE PIE. Get it instead of the sundae for no additonal cost and we all loved it.
PORTS: The only excursion we did was swimming with the dolphins at Cozumel. This was also a disappointment as it was highly unorganized. It was OK but that is about it. Be prepared for the ship to basically shut down while in port. The only place to get food is the Windjammer. Even the pay places close down. The are basically trying to kick you off the ship so you will go spend money.
ACTIVITIES: KIDS: We took our 13 and 16 year olds and they did not care too much for the kids activities but still had a great time on the rock wall and other teen areas.
SPORTS: I recommend you play the volleyball tournaments as they were a lot of fun. I was hesitant to eneter since I had not played in years but the quality of players was not good. Just people having fun trying to win 'medals'. I wanted to enter the table tnnis tournament but for some stupid reason they had it going on formal night at 5 pm. That didnt work well for us early diners! They also had a free throw shooting contest that was very unorganized. Still fun though.
SHOWS: the ice show was really good. The comedians were average at best (we left early). The love and marriage show was funny but be forewarned....it gets nasty. We had hopes of being picked as a couple but this is how they picked the contestants. The longest tenured marriage got picked, then they had all of the newlyweds (less then 2 years) stand up and the one that gave the best passionate kiss got picked by applause level. The ones that one were basically having sex with their clothes on in front of everyone. The last couple chosen were all of the other couples that wanted to 'audition'. They all stood up and the one that got the most applause for the dirtiest dancing got picked. Again....it got nasty. The show itself though was very funny.
We went to the Quest game show the last night and it was hilarious. Be forewarned again though....it gets even worse. They break everyone down into teams of about 30-40 people each and they will ask things like "bring me down a business card" and the teams that get there first get the most points. It gets to where they are asking for a man to come down with 4 bras on his head and women start taking them off. If you are a man that doesn't want to be embarrassed, I recommend sitting near the top. I got chosen to go on stage with 2 other men and they made us dance...topless! Again....just wanting to let you know what this event is all about. It was VERY funny though.
CASINO: The casino is very small and I did not see many winners on slots. I did see a few though so there is hope. The table games were pretty bust but if you went at off times you could usually get a spot. They had 3 card poker, craps, caribbean stud, roulette, and blackjack. All were $5 minimums. Craps only has single odds. I did not like the fact that they close pretty early. They were closed up by 1:30 or 2 every night. It didnt matter if people wanted to play either. ALSO....You can draw money off your seapass. This can be dangerous, as it was for me!
OVERALL: We had a good time and look forward to riding the Navigator again soon.
Unorganized but fun.