EMBARCATION: A BREEZE! Porters were everywhere collecting luggage as soon as you pulled up, and RCCL staff were directing you to the main entrance of the terminal. I arrived at around 11am and was on board by 11:10, no joke!
After a light lunch and stroll of the beautiful pool deck, 1 o'clock came around and the staterooms were available to guests. By 1:15 my luggage had already been delivered! I was guessing that with the volume of people and the sheer size of the ship it would be well past 6pm before I could expect to have luggage delivered!
STATEROOM: I had a Balcony cabin on deck 8, the beds were unusually comfortable and seemed a tad larger than the other ships I've sailed on (both with RCCL,and other lines) and the room was pretty standard in all other aspects. Balcony was about that on Freedom-class ships, as well as restroom layout. Only slightly negative thing were the pillows! Hard, and had a plastic like cover under the pillowcase, which I know is for hygiene, but still not very easy to get comfortable on....
ENTERTAINMENT: Honestly I'm not big on Broadway style shows, but i did see part of the Hairspray show and if you are into that type of entertainment, you would probably enjoy it. The Aqua Theater had a show that was good, but seems that they have not yet had a chance to fine tune it for an entire production. What i saw was pretty spectacular though. Very high tech and a true innovation for any ship! The Ice skating show was great, again very much like the ones on the Voyager and Freedom-class ships. I never made it to the comedy shows which was a bummer, but there seemed to be many shows at the comedy club throughout the cruise. Casino was HUGE and had just about all the games like black jack, poker, let it ride, slots, etc...
FOOD: I tried the "My time dining" and thought it worked well. I also enjoyed the food from the Windjammer buffet. I'm not too big on seafood or steaks, so i didn't try the MANY specialty restaurants. There were many options from Asian, Italian, and Steak house style dining. The food, again, is the same as on all the other RCCL cruises I've been on, and for my taste, better than most cruise lines I've been on (which include Carnival, Princess, Norwegian), but not as good as Disney cruise line's food.Over 5,000 people on board? WHERE ARE THE CROWDS? Not ONCE did i feel that there were this many people on this ship.
The ship is truly AMAZING! Not just for its size, but for the innovations that you will not find on any other ships, or even on land based resorts. The RISING TIDE BAR was one of my favorite places to sit and enjoy the ever-changing scenery, from Central Park, to the Royal Promenade. Boleros had the BEST Mojitos made by Adrian, and a nice place to hear live music from the band. Blaze nightclub was also a fun late night venue.
The Solarium was just beautiful. Never crowded, always inviting.
The zip-line is a MUST! Its not a long stretch but it is really a neat thing to do while on a ship!
Strongly recommend express departure, i walked off the ship when I was ready.
I can go on and on, but don't want to bore anyone! If you have any questions feel free to contact me at FreedomOTseas@aol.com