My wife and I took this 7 night southern Caribbean cruise to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary and we had an absolutely wonderful time. Overall we did not enjoy it as much as our 10 year anniversary cruise aboard the Adventure of the Seas but other than a few relatively minor things this cruise was fantastic and just what we needed.
We arrived very early to the San Juan cruise terminal, dropped off the bags with the porters and were quickly through check in, security and on board the ship. Once aboard we noticed a gathering around the various tables where RCL was selling drink packages, spa packages, etc. This created quite the bottle neck right as you first enter the atrium area and is something RCL should consider moving. Once we navigated through the small crowd, we were up at Windjammer for some lunch. Windjammer is a buffet and like nearly every other buffet I have been to, the food is average. Other than for the date of embarkation we typically try to avoid Windjammer or any of the other buffets on board cruise ship. Later in the cruise we were reminded why when people were acting like it was their last meal and had zero regard for line etiquette or personal space. After eating lunch, our cabins were now ready and we went to drop off our carry on bags. Our cabin, an aft balcony was incredible. Surprisingly spacious with lots of little areas for storage. They sacrificed space in the bathroom to build more space into the cabin which is fine by me. After dropping the bags, we left the ship to walk around Old San Juan. The cab fare from the cruise terminal to Old San Juan was $15-$20 depending on who you spoke to (get a price up front before jumping in the cab). We toured the forts of Cristobal and Morro and had a great time before returning to the ship. By the time we returned our luggage had arrived and our cabin steward Olman had already placed them in our room for us. If there was anything we needed during our cruise relating to our cabin, Olman was on it and I could not have been more impressed with his level of service.
This particular cruise hit the ports of St. Croix, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados and I will write about each of the ports in the port review portion so I will not waste time here. The ship itself was clean well kept. If you looked hard enough you could find some area that need to be refreshed but there was nothing that just jumped out at you as a glaring issue as some others have written. The service in the dining room from Robert and Domingos was top notch. They went out of their way to greet the guests, explain the menu and get to know our dining habits. Overall the food in the dining room was excellent and I was pleased with the quality of food and variety of options. If you cannot find something to eat on the menu, you are either not trying or arguably one of the most picky eaters on the planet. One nice thing about this cruise compared to others is that the bar staff is not in your face about trying to sell drinks. On other cruises you feel like you are constantly being hounded to be nickel and dimed but not the case here. Thanks to cross marketing promotions we were able to dine in Chops one evening and it was excellent. Being from Texas, we take our steak seriously and Chops delivered. Every item we had was wonderful and the service was equal to the quality of the food.
The entertainment options is where this cruise has some concerns. On several nights, there was only one show offered which made it very inconvenient to attend if you were dining in the dining room during either of the time slots. You were either at dinner or prepping for dinner during the show time. On other nights when two shows were offered, the times did not seem to make sense. On every other cruise we have been on the show times exactly corresponded with the dining times so that while one group is eating the other is watching the show and vice versa. The Coral Theater itself was nice and I do not see the issues with the quality of the theater others have noted. That said I have only cruised with RCL, Carnival and Norwegian so maybe that plays some role in the dynamic. Other than the comedians, the show quality was not very good. This was particularly the case with the production show West End to Broadway. Whomever designed this show from the production value to the costume design to the music choices (for the most part) should lose their job as the show was a complete mess. I think the singers and dancers were talented enough but they were dealt a very bad hand with the show design. We did not make it to the other production show or the two variety shows. The production show by choice and the variety shows because of the aforementioned scheduling issues.
Disembarkation was great until we got to customs which is always a pain but seemed to take longer than it needed to. Having previously cruised with RCL we were allowed to stay in the upstairs dining area and disembark at our leisure which was a nice bonus. Overall this was a great cruise where we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.