We booked a 10 day cruise from Venice to Lisbon. The price was excellent - $349pp. The ports were a little bit unusual - we've done alot of cruising and wanted to do something different. The ship and the cruise itself was, unfortunately, somewhat spotty.
I like the ship. This is an older ship - it is not too large. The cabins (we had an inside cabin) seem to be larger than those on the newer ship. That was very nice.
Boarding the ship in Venice was a real problem. We took a private boat to the boarding area because we had alot of luggage, and my wife used a handicapped scooter to get around. The boat dropped us off near the train terminal. We had to walk from the drop-off point to where a shuttle bus would take us to the boat. As we walked we passed panhandlers akin to those on the 59th street bridge in manhattan. One of them grabbed a bag from me, walked it to the top of the ramp, and then wanted money for walking the bag ten feet. When we got to the bus waiting area there was a line. Unfortunately, when the bus pulled in everyone attacked the bus from all sides, threw whatever luggage they could into the bus and just climbed aboard. There were no Royal Caribbean personnel at the shuttle bus boarding area to maintain order. When we got to the drop off point (by the ship), they got all the luggage off and my wife's scooter. But then when the bus pulled out, it struck her and just pulled off. When I tried to report the matter to ship's personnel (numerous times), I was told that there was no safety/security officer. When we got home I tried to report the matter via internet, but have still not heard from anyone.
Despite the problems getting on, the cruise turned out to be very enjoyable. The ports were all secondary ports, but that was what we wanted. One problem I didn't expect was that many of the ports required you to take a shuttle bus, and these busses were NOT complementary - you had to pay for several of them. I felt like I was being nickle and dimed, but it turned out it was only another 40USD for the both of us, and the cruise itself was very inexpensive.
Royal Caribbean of late has been getting a spotty in the food and entertainment areas. We've been on recent cruises where it was very good, and others where it was poor. This one was mediocre. The meats were very good and well prepared. Soups and pastries left alot to be desired. Why is it that whenever they serve "Lobster Bisque" on these cruises it is some concoction which you've never seen before? The choices for dining was either at the Windjammer, or the dining room. This particular ship did not have extra dining facilities. The windjammer was not capable of accommodating all of the guests, and there was usually some kind of a problem getting seats in there for breakfast. There were two seatings for dinner - early and late. The late seating (which we had) was at 8:30. If you were in the late seating, you went to the late show, which usually started at 10:45. This meant you didn't get to bed until close to 12:00PM each night. Normally you go to an early show if you are in the late seating, and late seating is usually not quite this late. Royal Caribbean has apparently switched to "Seattle's Best" for the coffee, and everyone was complaining that the coffee on the ship was terrible - it tasted burnt.
Breakfast was standard fare. When I tried to get them to make a cheese omelette at the buffet (there was an omelette station), I could never get them to melt the cheese. At lunch they had a salad bar, but there was usually something missing - on most days there was no blue cheese dressing. The pastries were unremarkable. The head chef was Indian, and there was a nice selection of Indian cuisine during the cruise.
Entertainment was very spotty. I remember when cruises used to have name entertainment - no more. There were two of the now mandatory "review" shows. This is the kind of show you get at theme parks like Disney. I am not impressed with these. The other nights there were regular performers. Most of these were pretty bad, but a couple of these were very good. There were a couple of acrobat? acts that looked like rejects from the Ed Sullivan show. But there was a singing group doing a tribute to Il Divo that was EXCELLENT. I think this was the first time they were on the cruise, and the activities director hadn't seen them before and was pleasantly surprised.