We are a retired couple (50's/early 60's) on our 8th cruise. The ship was just as wonderful as everyone had reported. I am not going to repeat the same things everyone else has said but will just mention a few things that stood out in my mind.
When we arrived, we noticed the beds were twins but that was fixed quickly by our cabin attendant, Jillian, who put the beds together. I also asked her if she could remove the items in the fridge as we would not be using them. She just dumped all of them into a drawer! I really didn't want to lose a drawer to store their canned drinks. I have never had a cabin attendant not completely remove the items from the room. Also, she put fresh ice in the room in the morning and then not again until we returned from late dinner seating. I wanted ice for drinks while getting ready for dinner. Who needs fresh ice when they get back to their room at midnight or later?
I'm not a big fan of the buffets anyway but the Windjammer Café had really loud Caribbean type music playing at all times. It was difficult to hear others talking at our own table. Also, I was shocked that they did not have any hand sanitizer at all until the third day, especially since they had had serious outbreaks of norovirus on the previous two cruises. I asked for it and was told that they didn't have any.
The Flow Rider was wonderful. If I had known how much I would like it, I would have brought a wet suit. The weather/wind/rain was much colder than I had anticipated and standing in line was rough. They do rent wetsuits ($10 per day) but I didn't find out until the last day. The wetsuit would help cushion your falls and eliminate the concern about wardrobe malfunctions. I brought a one piece suit after reading the reports and I was very glad I had. I saw many men/women lose their bottoms/tops. The water is going 30 mph and depending on how you fall….well you get the idea.
If you think you will be trying the stand up surfing, start early in the week. I was very surprised that I never saw any children or teenagers trying the stand up surfing. There is a learning curve and it takes practice. I also tried the ice skating, mini-putt and rock climbing wall. It was all very fun. The gym was much nicer than I had expected and the equipment was very good.
Someone had mentioned something about too many children on board in another review and at the time I had thought, "What a grouch". Now I understand what they meant. There were almost 600 children on board and that by itself wasn't that unusual. What was unusual was that the children never seemed to "go away". On previous cruises, there might have been that many children but I never seemed to notice them. They were in children's programs or at the pool. I hardly ever saw any children after dinner on previous cruises. Not on this cruise! The children were in the dining room, playing on the elevators, attending the evening shows, dancing in the bars, etc. They even had children at the Quest! Not just watching, but participating!! A boy about 10 or so was dressed in heels and a bra! They had family karaoke, family disco night at the bar, family everything. Once at the late night dinner they even had 20 or 30 small children dressed as pirates to "entertain" us by yelling some chant for what seemed like 10-15 minutes.
At the midnight pirate parade they were tossing out RCL tee shirts to the onlookers. I bent over to pick one up that had landed at my feet and two little rabid children came out of nowhere and knocked me over and hit me to get the tee shirt! I was speechless.
Another time I was in line with about 5 other women at a restroom waiting for a vacant stall. Three girls, ages 4-6 ran in and starting beating on the doors running from stall to stall. When the doors would finally open, they rushed in. They never stopped beating on the doors until they opened. Now, if your child is old enough to go into a bathroom alone, they are old enough to be taught some manners.
This happened early in the cruise. By the end of the cruise I would have said something to them. I noticed that the other passengers patience had worn thin by the end of the week and you saw passengers correcting other people's children. On the last day, a child was getting ready to push all the buttons on the elevator and a man grabbed the child's arm and said in a very firm voice, "don't even think about it". Kinda scary, actually.
The promenade was not designed to be used by crowds pushing baby strollers. One would not be so bad, but there was never just one, or two, or even just five or six.
At the buffet, an unattended 5 yr old boy had placed a pound or so of bacon on his plate and then decided to put some of it back with his fingers! If his parents let him go to the buffet alone, so you really think that they made him wash his hands correctly after using the toilet?
The children would rush into the elevators before letting the other passengers get off; I guess they were in a hurry to push all those buttons. The children had 4 or more hot tubs to use but of course, they wanted in the Solarium Adult Only tubs, too. They also would get in the Solarium Adult Only Pools. They never got to stay long; the passengers would run them off. No one was waiting for a crew member to ask them to leave.
On formal night, I couldn't count how many children attended (many in shorts and tee shirts) and this was for the late seating! Even after midnight, there were children and babies everywhere.
Now, I love children, I have 6 wonderful grandchildren under the age of six. But ill-mannered children are not pleasant to be around.
I had a great time but I would never go on this ship again unless I was traveling with children. I would really miss the Flowrider....