We arrived at the port in Tampa at 11:45am and were on board by 12:10pm after a very easy check-in with no lines. Upon entering the ship I noticed that the centrum had some cracked tiles. Once I saw how beautiful the rest of the ship was I quickly forgot about the cracked tiles.
It was just myself and my 6 year old son (my husband stayed home as he might get Norwalk virus, seasick, or claustrophobic). My son and I had a blast and really enjoyed the cruise. This was a 4 day cruise with stops in Key West and Cozumel. We did not do any shore excursions as I am a shopper and wanted to shop.
The cabins were not ready until 1pm so we went to the Windjammer for lunch. At 1pm we were allowed into our cabin and our luggage arrived a few minutes later. I saw the porters still delivering luggage at 5pm so we were lucky to get ours so early. Even though the cabin was small we had plenty of storage for our things.
We ate in the formal dining room only once for breakfast since my son cannot do a 2 hour dinner. It was good. The other times we mostly ate in the Windjammer which I thought was excellent. There was always alot of variety and lots of desserts too. I could always get milk for my son by asking since they don't keep it out.
We also tried the burgers and pizza in the Solarium which were also good. Also, in the Solarium you can always help yourself to ice water, ice tea, and lemonade. Near the outdoor pool was a frozen yogurt machine which we visited everyday.
I used the laundry service on the ship and found it to be reasonably priced and they did a good job on the clothes. We did not use the spa services.
The Royal Caribbean singers and dancers were good. We also attended a lecture on how to shop in Key West where they try to sell you a $25 package containing a map and coupons and maybe a book. All you have to do to shop in Key West is walk down Duval street. I could not believe that people were paying money for their package. On the last night we attended a show with the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers and they were trying to sell us a DVD of the cruise. I didn't see a magician or juggler advertised on this cruise like some other posters have mentioned.
At night after dinner we would walk around the ship visiting the shops and listening to the live music in the centrum. They had some excellent musicians onboard. There was also a band that would play by the pool sometimes and they were good as well.
One evening we had our picture taken in the centrum. They were 8x10 and they wanted $20 each which I thought was expensive. I was able to bargain with the person in the photo shop and offered him $30 for two 8x10s and he let me have them for that price.
Our last full day on the ship was a sea day and they had a nacho bar by the pool which was really good. We had no problem finding deck chairs. There were plenty.
My son went to the Ocean club a couple of times and enjoyed it. They have different activities for the kids like art projects and classes.
On the last day we were supposed to be out of our cabin by 8am. I overslept and someone banged on our door at 8:15am. We finally got out at 8:30am. I had ordered some cold items (yogurt, milk, cereal) for breakfast from room service the night before. The ice bucket worked great for storing the cold things. Room service ends at 2am on the last day and the restaurants stop serving at 8:30am.
There is no self assist with luggage in Tampa so you have to wait for your color to be called before you can leave the ship. I had asked the night before what time our color would be called. They told me 9:20am and we were called at exactly that time.
We took Tampa Bay Shuttle back to the hotel where we would stay one more day before going home. They have shuttles waiting right outside when you come out with your luggage. It cost $18 for one adult and one child to go to a hotel near the airport. I think for one adult the price would be $11 to the airport. The cruise line was advertising shuttle tickets to the airport for $19.50 for one person so it is much cheaper to book your own transportation.
This was our first cruise so we don't have anything to compare it to. My son and I both really enjoyed it and cannot wait to take another Royal Caribbean cruise.