I know this is supposed to be the newest & greatest ship, but I was surprised that I wasn't 'blown away'. My hubby & I first cruised with Royal 7 years ago & loved everything about it - food, service, cleanliness, everything. But this time it was different.
Getting on the ship was pretty easy. We arrived at the port one hour earlier then they asked & I am glad we did that - we walked right on board & right to our room.
The room was OK. Nothing special - this time we really splurged & went for the balcony stateroom. Again, it was no big deal, it is by no means private, you hear everything through the walls & if your neighbors have their balcony lights on - well, you might as well have yours on too. Spending thousands of dollars I expected not to hear EVERYTHING. The floors are metal with a thin layer of carpet & if you drop your shoe it echoes throughout. Kids running through the halls sounds like the walls are going to fall in. We have 2 young children so we are used to it, but I just thought Royal would have sound proofed better - I've heard less through the walls in a Best Western. We also had a water issue - some pipe in the wall outside our room was leaking, more like pouring water out of it. So our carpet was soaked for days & had to have a blower in our room for 3 days. Try to relax with that! they made no attempt at an apology, and basically ignored the situation like it never happened.
The ports of call are too far apart in my opinion. You really don't get enough time, especially if you book an excursion. We were running for the boat thru no fault of our own. There is 'ship time' and 'island time' always an hour different. This can be confusing, especially if you pre-booked an excursion & are set on the time & try to plan your days around it. We had a few disappointments & didn't have time to shop, etc. because of the time difference. You can't exactly complain or even suggest that Royal should let passengers be more aware of the time difference...simply put - they don't care.
Food in the dining room was OK at best. I cook better at home, but it's the volume of people they have to cook for at one time. We ate in the dining room 2 nights, buffet one night, Chops one night and then ate in Portofino's the rest of the time. Portofino's is well worth the extra money. Chops was OK, buffet was lame. Johnny Rockets was great, too.
Pool chair hoggers is a true myth. Plan on getting by the pool by 9:30 am if you want a prime spot.
If you have teens aged 12-17, this is the cruise for you. They will have a blast with all the activities for them like the rock wall & Flowrider. They will probably be busier then you. That is a nice age for teens since they can do things on their own.
Plan on spending extra money since you need to buy water, soda, & alcohol. Not to mention the food extras - which are worth it.
All and all we had a great time. We were traveling with friends which made it more fun. However, this cruise was not worth the money. We spent thousands just to get on the boat then felt nickel and dimed for all the extras that are hard to avoid. I am truly surprised at all the rave reviews about this ship. I guess I just expected more since we loved our first cruise so much. After this cruise we have no desire to cruise again until our kids are ready for the Disney cruise.