The Statroom: we went super cheap on the room - a guaranteed, oceanview category I and booked thru Alaska Airlines for the cheapest deal i had found over a months' fare watching online - booked 2-3 wks in advance of cruise which garnered the best rate for sure.
Stateroom was super quiet - only TWICE did i hear any sounds from people at all - the only sounds was the creaking of the ship & the hum of the engine. Being on the 3rd deck with no balcony or window to open, i thought i would tire of a long walk to the AFT section but did not - and the quietness was worth it as it seems that cabins closer to elevators would have lots of sounds thru the doors. Also, i thought an AFT cabin would make me seasick but it didn't.
The Staff: Terrific! Not once did we encounter any problems and every staff person was fabulous. Other than seeming to be low-staffed at the main help desk - we never had an issue.
The Food: I'd rate it similar to 3-4 star hotel food. Not great but lots of choices which made up for the mediocre-ness. Coffee was better than average though and some items were occassionally better than average (such as the Escargot, the french fries & the ribs).
My Time Dining - definitely the way to go. No wait, arrived whenever - sometimes got our own table, sometimes didn't but a really great way to travel and how it should be!
Portofino's was the highlight of the trip by far. WELL worth 20 extra bucks per person - this place was so far above the other food that it was kind of funny. Next time, would plan for more nights in the nicer restaurants for sure - just amazing!!!!
The Ports: San Diego - a total breeze - no line (and the ship was full) - no waits, no problems. Sneaking in a couple bottles of wine into our checked luggage was easy!
Disembarking - we were off the ship and on the street in under an hour from the time they said we could leave. Maybe because we got in the first group of 8:30 departures - but leaving was really easy and we made a 10:30a flight out without a problem.
Cabo - this is where we got stuck with all the heavy drinkers - in line & on the Tender on the way back to the ship. Note to self: the drunk folks wait till the last minute to return to the ship - so get in line earlier to avoid them! Seems RC had more time in Port than the other 2 ships docked there that day - a bonus. Overall - Cabo was not great - next time would spend more time on the beach - in water taxi's and doing activities. Strolling around cabo - not fun overall.
Common Areas: Being folks who like to read and relax on a cruise, we completely avoided what we call the "drunk pool" - which was always packed. The adults only Solarium pool was less crowded because it was indoors but you need to leave by late afternoon to avoid the drinkers - especially in the hot tub.
The fitness center was great - big with lots of equipment. The spa was also terrific - pricey but nice.
The clubs were nice but would have liked to have seen more dance lessons or dancing that began before 10:30pm at night.
The Productions - sad, but not great. Actually pretty bad. Like a high school production with great costumes & set design. Sorry folks
The People: Overall - a really nice crowd - and mixed with a variety of ages (not necessarily races unfortunately). Not many kids nor 20-somethings in October. Mostly folks over 30 and lots of groups of women on this cruise. Also - it seemed that about 80% of folks on this ship live in CA.
Have only been on one other cruise - a 14 day cruise on a small Princess ship in Europe so my views may be different - but overall I thought Royal Caribbean was great - would bring my kids next time, get a balcony cabin & eat at the nicer restaurants more often! Bon Voyage...