We have sailed mostly on Princess. So I guess this review is basically a comparison to our prior cruises on Princess.
EMBARKATION - Hopeless. Folks weren't even allowed to start to get on until 1:30PM. Many people were trying to cut in line. We did see many different passports, even Kazahkstan and Malta.
ROOM - It seemed so skinny. Our balcony was fine except for the railing which was splintering from not being kept varnished. We did spend a lot of time on the balcony. The bed was very comfortable and we both slept well. Our stateroom attendant Patricia and her helper were wonderful and created many "critters" out of the towels.
SPA - WOW! This was a trip to pamper ourselves and we did. The first night we had a couples massage with Linka and Nicolette. The second day my wife had a pedicure with Debra and I had the facial, haircut and shave at Close Shave on the Promenade with Jackie. The next day I had a pedicure with Debra and my first ever acupuncture More
treatment with Harry. I chose the weight loss session. I got my wife to have a session for neck pain. We also had follow up sessions. Later in the week I had a hot stones massage with Justy and continued to get shaved by Justus. Kim is the Spa Manager (very cute). Overall, the spa services along with the extras they sell you were relatively expensive, but we did set out to pamper ourselves. Only criticism was the lack of advertised Tai Chi classes.
DINING ROOM (5th Floor Botticelli) Not Impressed. Even disappointed. The evening meals were like eating at Applebee's every night. The food was okay, but not up to our expectations (and previous cruising experiences). Our waiter was Keith and his assistant was from China. I never did get his name correct although he was fantastic. We had six at our table. Two were from Japan and spoke limited english. They had Japanese menus on a few nights. We quit having lunch in the dining room after we learned it was the same menu every day. And to get a decent amount of food, you needed to request a fair number of items. It was the same for breakfast. After two days, we ate our remaining breakfast and lunches in Windjammer which is likely what RCL wanted folks to do. WINDJAMMER - Lots of buffet food. We ate mostly fruit, yogurt and bacon fro breakfast and lunch. The bran muffins were very good. Service was great as there was always someone asking you if you wanted coffee even though it was only 5 feet away. Lots of hand wipes.
CHOPS and PORTOFINO - Chops at $25 extra per person was a waste. Again service was great (Tayfun) but the food was equal to the dining room. Portofino was marginally better for only $20 extra per person.
PORTS - We only got off the ship briefly at Jamaica to go to Jimmy Buffets. We are still uncomfortable with Jamaica. We spent about $500 for jewelry on Grand Cayman. And we bought 1 bottle of rum at the Cozumel terminal. The rest of the time we spent on the ship.
SHIP - The ship itself is perhaps too big. I will not be taking the even larger ships being built. This was our first experience with the inside promenade. We liked having late night functions indoors with lots of lighting. CAUTION - Most of the time, the shipwide announcements from the Captain or his mates are not understandable.
EVENTS - The ice skating show was great. It was amazing what the skaters could do in such a restricted area. The Russian girl was fantastic. The singer and dancer shows shows (Ever After and Somewhere in Time) weren't that great. But that's just my wife and I. We can only take so much of it. The Love and Marriage show was so funny as were the comedians. FIRST DAY EMERGENCY DRILL - Was way too long because people were dingbats and didn't come when they were told. So those of us that had complied sweated and even became dizzy from the heat and claustrophobic conditions.
DISEMBARKATION - Same here with the dingbats. "Oh we were getting our coffee and donuts." Other than that it was great. We opted for the Luggage Valet service. USE THIS!!! Your bags are taken from outside your room and delivered to you at your destination. Plus you are taken to the immigration desks and bypass everyone else in line.