This was my third cruise, daughter's second. We stayed overnight at the Ft Lauderdale Marina Hilton where I got a free night based on honors points, but would have regretted if I had had to pay for same. We got to the port around 11 am and embarkation was very easy. The gentleman coordinating it was very pleasant. We were on the ship by around noon.The food in the Windjammer was plentiful- daughter loved the chicken and string beans. We got a soda pass, which I highly recommend. I used it as well, and it was certainly worth the cost. Other preliminaries- we got the first of 2 internet packages, as we both had laptops. The ship is beautiful- very clean. Our cabin was on Deck 4, an outside room. I thought it would have a sofa but it had a chair. There was plenty of storage space. I had arranged for a small bouquet of flowers and they looked lovely in the window all week. Our attendant, Sylvia, was fantastic, as were the gentlemen who helped her. In fact, the staff were amazing the entire time- friendlly, helpful, pleasant. I commend RCCL on this. I had ordered the champagne and strawberries and that arrived a few hrs after we got to the cabin. Our excursion tix for Belieze(pre ordered) were already in the room as was a bag I ordered from Gifts and Gear. Later in the week as Crown and Anchor members we got 2 great beach bags for free which was a nice treat. We also got 2 Gold member booklets with coupons. We used the coupon for bingo, the spa discount and internet credit.
A major disappointment was the food. I had pre booked Chops for the last 2 nights, and after the second night added the third night as well. We both thought the food was bland and just not tasty. She thought it reminded her of her college cafeteria food. We had My Time Dining and that was a mess. We reserved both nights we ate in the main dining room but people with no reservations showed as well, and it was very difficult for the head waiter to coordinate, although he tried. (He was wonderful, by the way). RCCL needs to fine tune this process. Chops, however, was fantastic. It reminded me of Morton's. The host and our waitresses, Darma and Alexandra, were excellent. The food was far superior to the dining room, if it can be compared at all. For ex., I had the shrimp cocktail in both. In the dining room, you got 3-4 tiny shrimp whereas in Chops they were large and flavorful. The cost was well worth it, and in fact, I would have paid more. The host asked if we had any special requests and when I told him my daughter liked the chocolate covered strawberries he arranged for a plate for her the last 2 nights.
I did not have a problem getting a chair at the pool, and on the last day at sea, sat on Deck 10 near the shuffleboard. It was quieter there.
One problem was some of the guests. There were about 200 teenagers from Argentina on the ship, many on Deck 4. They were loud and rude. Apparently, a lot of South American kids vacation on this ship after Disney World. RCCL needs to control this situation better. As to the crowd in general, it tended to be couples and nuclear families, who stuck to themselves and were somewhat standoffish and unfriendly. I cannot comment if this is typical for this ship or just that week, but it was next to the food the only negative.
Spa services were very good- my daughter had a mini facial and I had a massage. We both had the same attendant, Susan.
We did express disembarkation and were at the airport by 8 am. If I had known, I would have booked a morning flight.