This is our first Royal Caribbean Cruise. We have cruised with Disney 4 times. We are 48 and 53, and love cruising. This cruise was to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. This is our 2nd cruise without kids.
We enjoyed this cruise very much and would go again in a heartbeat. Most of the issues discussed in this review are for the most part minor to us and did not take away from the enjoyment of the cruise.
We will say that a huge part of our enjoyment on the cruise was due to meeting up with our CruiseCritic.com meet and mingle group. Not a big group but lots of fun and laughter. We will probably book Royal Caribbean again, in fact we have one booked out of Bayonne, NJ in April. Our choices are limited because we only want to cruise from ports we can drive to. Flying is too erratic, expensive and unpredictable.
We thought the ship was beautiful inside. Although our only comparison is Disney and their ships are simply elegant. Outside the ship has no character and is quite boxy. The ship was easy to navigate, in great repair and has been very well maintained.
We booked a cat N room, inside deck 4 # 4535. It was convenient to everything and in the middle of the ship so quite a smooth ride. The room had plenty of storage, was very clean and the bathroom was bigger than expected. I actually liked it better than the Disney cabin bathrooms, more storage and more counter space. The bed was comfortable to us although DH didn't like the pillows. The room steward did a great job and we have no complaints there. The TV needs updating and the channel selection was pitiful. TNT, CNN, ESPN and assorted cartoon stations were available along with Pay Per View movies. The reception was poor, with a snowy picture. Not just in the room but also in the bars. Any cruise ship sailing from Boston in October should have the capability to show the Red Sox games.
Room service was inconsistent. One day they didn't even pick up our order, even though it was out before 3am as required. Which meant we overslept as that is our usual wake up call on a cruise ship. The food mostly arrived cold.
We ordered a Romance Package to celebrate our anniversary. Upon arrival only the robes were in the room and a coupon book telling us that we would have champagne, and flowers in our room upon arrival. When they weren't there we asked our room steward and she had no clue what we were talking about and had to make several phone calls in order to get the items sent to the room. They arrived that evening after dinner and the show.
On the first formal night the canapEs arrived prior to dinner and were tasty. The petite fours arrived in our room and had been sitting out quite a while before we found them as we went to the show directly after dinner. On the 2nd formal night the canapEs and petite fours appeared to arrive together while we were eating dinner and again sat out too long to be comfortable eating.
Champagne breakfast was delivered on a tray that would not fit through the door. The food was cold and the mimosa had only the slightest hint of Champagne. In spite of all the items on the tray they sent 2 hot waters for tea and no coffee. DH had to find coffee on his own. Since we had room service for breakfast almost every day you would think they'd know to send coffee. Overall we would not order the Romance package again or recommend it.
Activities, every one we went to the person running it was late, unprepared and generally seemed lost or disinterested. The cruise director was fine and we saw her all over the ship. The Quest game was great fun!! However when the winners were declared we were all quite shocked as it seemed they were not even in the running.
Entertainment, very disappointing. However, we only have Disney to compare to. The mostly elderly clientele seemed to enjoy it though. The comedian was quite funny and the best show by far. The prizes given away for different games were almost embarrassing. When top prize for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is a Royal Caribbean drawstring sack they are being exceptionally tacky and CHEEEEEAP!
While watching the nail biter finish football game on Sunday, with 29 seconds left we were told by the cruise staff that we had to clear the room because the Captain's reception was about to begin. Several of us asked if we could just watch the last 29 seconds and were told "NO, you have to leave now." The crowd was upset but we moved on and then they did nothing in the room for the next 45 minutes. There was no reason to evict us prior to the end of the game.
Casino and sports bar were too smoky. We only walked through when absolutely necessary and by the time we reached the other side our clothes and hair smelled like smoke. We couldn't stay long enough to even attempt a game.
Food was inconsistent. The Jewel was going into drydock for repairs at the end of our cruise so that may be a factor in the issues surrounding the food. The Windjammer had lots of variety, although dessert choices were disappointing, 1/3 fruit, 1/3 sugar free and the rest the same every day. The cookies were not labeled even the peanut butter ones. DH picked one up thinking it was a snicker doodle and it turned out to be peanutbutter. Thankfully he's not allergic or there would have been another Alpha Alpha Alpha over the PA system.
We were happy with MyTimeDining and would probably book it again if available. We ended up eating with 2 other couples from Cruise Critic and had fun. The selection seemed fine, there was always something new to try. The starters were the best on the menu. Several nights I ordered 3 of those. Desserts were disappointing. Minimal selections each evening most people at our table ordered vanilla ice cream.
Seaview cafe, difficult to find and hazardous to get to on a very windy sea day. Early in the cruise we went there and the portions were great, 3 pieces of fish, loads of fries and a heaping plate of onion rings and all of it was delicious. No free drinks offered here though. The next time we went the portions were reduced, 2 pieces of fish and a handful of fries, about 8 onion rings on the plate. The last time, 2 pieces of fish, no fries and about 6 onion rings. What was there was delicious every time.
Portofino's and Chops were excellent in every way, food quality, selection, presentation, variety, service and ambiance. We would highly recommend each of them.
We did 2 excursions and were very happy with each of them. Although the Historic Pub Tour was expensive for what we got. The Walk through the Park and Cadillac Mountain was excellent and well priced. The guide was excellent and knowledgeable. The pace was well thought out. We had a great time on this cruise. Getting to and from the ship was convenient even the tender ran efficiently.
The ship was very stable, even in the Atlantic where we expected the seas to be rough it was smooth sailing, Only one morning it was a bit rocky but the winds were strong and the seas quite rough.
Photography, Every photo was excellent and it was hard to choose one out of the bunch. I will say that getting off the ship there were 2 or 3 photo opportunities at each port. We were having fun and didn't mind but others were bothered by the photographers.
The people we met on Cruise Critic were lots of fun and really made the cruise for us. We will definitely take a Royal Caribbean cruise again.