This was our family's 4th cruise, but the first on Royal Caribbean. We sailed with Carnival the three previous times. We thought we were "upgrading" by choosing Royal Caribbean. We were genuinely unimpressed. We tried to see it as a nicer ship, but it just wasn't.
Heads up: We were under the impression that you had to purchase a drink package if you wanted coffee, tea, or bottled water. (which is all we drink) WRONG! We purchased the package at $140.00 each just to find out that coffee, tea, and water (not bottled) was available 24 hours a day. The only advantage to that package was smoothies not made from fresh fruit, but artificial flavoring and ice. We are not stupid people. Everyone one of us have at least a bachelor's degree. We did not misinterpret the information. It was extremely misleading.
The food was just okay and not available as often as it should have been. The buffet is only open for a few hours; if you're not hungry during that time, plan on eating a mini sub sandwich or pastry because that's all that's available. Not only was it difficult to get food, it just wasn't very good. However, the main dining room served good food for dinner and the service was excellent.
As for entertainment.....and I use that term loosely in this case.....it was mediocre at best. The singers were extremely amateurish and the sound was deafening. We saw about half of one show and never went back. Activities were limited and uninteresting. We mainly sat on the balcony.
If you've ever cruised before, you are aware that excursions are pricier if booked through the ship, and usually more crowded. Therefore, we booked our excursions ourselves directly through the company. Usually this is not an issue. It became an issue with this ship. We tendered in Belize. If you booked your excursion through RC, you got off the boat first while the rest of us waited, and waited, and waited. We were on the first tender of private bookers and had to wait an hour and a half after the preferred passengers left. We felt as if RC was rather passive aggressive in this matter.
In retrospect, I would not have paid double the amount to go on this ship over Carnival. In fact, I wouldn't pay at all to go on this ship. Next time we cruise, it's back to Carnival.