To get to Harwich from downtown London we hired a taxi from http://expressairporttransport.co.uk. they provide free quote. (July 2014) 4 adults with one large suitcase each, cost 97 pounds, cheaper than the cruise transfer (100$ us pp). From the ship to Heathrow it was 125 pounds cruise ship charged 122$ US PP. excellent drivers very polite and reliable.
Boarding : went well because we were early … except luggage delivery: checked in at noon got the luggage at 6:00 PM
Dining : menu selection is OK , no WOW here even if we don't have much cruise experience, we saw much better with other company cruise the ship looks clean everywhere, cabins to public areas. Talking about public areas, this ship has a design problem, it always looks crowded, no matter where you go. lack of "quiet" places
The biggest strengths of this ship are the staff, they managed to do miracles with the tools they are given.
The worst experience we had on board, was the disembarkation (day one) in Saint Petersburg. We had booked with a private (cheaper) tour operator. as we were waiting near the gangway to get off the ship, with other passengers, a tour guide came along and plowed through the line with her group, as if we were trash …. no manor no excuse no respect … then the security people left THEM out, making sure none of the "garbage" passengers would escape. They told us it was the company's regulation : Their tours go out first. One passenger in line got very mad … and it came this close to get in a fight with a security guy … when you fight with your "client" you have a serious problem …. I assume you are a valuable customer only if you book (over priced) tour with Mr Royal Caribbean, otherwise you are a second class client …. I have never been so humiliated in my whole life.
Service in Windjammer cafe was very variable from "I don't want to see this table needs to be clean" TO may I clean this. Half the employees like to talk (a lot) while the other half does all the work.
Evening shows were variable quality from "wannabe" to professionals. 50 / 50.