We were a group of 22 celebrating a 50th Wedding Annivesary. We live in Ft. Lauderdale, so no pre-cruise hotel info to share. We ranged in age from 2 - 74. The younger ones enjoyed the kid's program.
The food was good to very good. We found the selections to be limited in the dining room. The lunch menu was the same daily, with one added item which was different every day. We had plenty to eat, but the choices afforded to us were not varied enough for us. The beef tenderloin offered the first night was tasty, tender and cooked as requested. The pasta any night was not edible. During lunch you could have a pasta dish custom made and that was much better. The pizza in the Solarium was fair, the kids ate it, but the adults did not. The bread selection was also very good. The lobster was moist and tasty, the turkey and Mahi-Mahi on the last evening were also good. Of course, food is subjective, so this is just our opinion and your experience may be much different. Breakfast was fine, we ate at the Windjammer every morning and the omelet station was wonderful. It was manned by 2 chefs making 3 omelets at a time, so the line moved quickly.
Our cabin attendants were wonderful and we never asked for anything more than once. No refrigerator, so the small soft-sided cooler we brought worked out great and they filled it with ice twice a day for us. Our dining room staff were also great and very patient. Since we were a large group, we never all arrived together and Anca, our waitress, never complained. We were always the last group to leave the dining room.
Two of the cabins assigned to our group, 2117 and 2611 had an awful odor in the bathroom.. Someone from the maintenance staff came to assess the situation. They agreed that the odor was present and very unpleasant, but nothing was ever done to rectify the situation. If you have been assigned these cabins, you might want to bring an odor eliminating spray or see if you can be assigned to a different cabin.
Key West was a short day. Always fun to walk around or take the trolley or Conch Train. Had to be back onboard by 2:00, so not much time there.
Cozumel was hot and wonderful. Took a cab ride to Paradise Beach ($12). No admission and free umbrellas, lounge chairs, floats, water trampoline and climbing iceberg in the water. Got a massage from Paula, wonderful, 1/2 hour $30 in an air-conditioned room, well worth it. Had some great drinks and nachos. Took a cab ride back ($12) and did not do any shopping. Men went fishing, charted a boat from Wahoo Tours ($325 for 4 hours), he kept them out for 5 hours and let our son drive for the last hour. They caught barracuda and trigger fish. Had a great day and the boat provided water and beer and snacks.
Belize was interesting. You anchor about 5 miles out and take a 15-20 minute tender ride ashore. We walked beyond the gate and strolled around the city. We never felt threatened or unsafe, but one very aggressive cab driver told our group of 7 that if we did not take his offer of a ride, we would be robbed because Belize is not safe. What a Chamber of Commerce greeting that was! We walked into town, everyone we enountered was pleasant (except that cab driver), we purchased some wooden carved items for our son and daughter and walked back to the ship. It was extremely hot there. Two other families in our group picked up a snorkel tour at the marina where we tendered in and went snorkeling . They had a great day.
This was our 5th cruise with RCCL. They have definately lowered the bar in many areas. They are cutting corners in ways that really cheapen the whole experience. We still had a wonderul time, but I am uncertain whether I will choose to cruise with them again. We have taken 2 Celebrity cruises, which had a much higher level of service and overall feeling of being taken care of, but the Celebrity crew could learn a few things about friendliness from the RCCL crew. Our next cruise is booked for January on Norwegian. We wanted to experience Freestyle and have something else to compare RCCL to.
Any questions, please feel free to e-mail me.