On 1/17/10 we arrived at the cruise terminal around 10:30AM and traffic was lighter than usual near the terminal. I expected it to be worse. Traveling in a group on 21 we waited for a few late arrivals, some who have never cruised before then we entered the terminal together. There was a short line through security and no line at the counter to get our cruise cards. Of course, we waited for a while until it was time to board. I think we were on by noon, but cabins weren't ready until 1PM. Off to the Windjammer we went.
We had an aft balcony on deck 7. Cabin number was 7390. We liked our aft cabin a lot. Some cruisers hate the long walk to the elevators, I did not and I walked it a million times. We found the aft peaceful and our balcony was big, 11 by 11. Loved the wake behind the ship. There was a vibration in the aft, but not enough to bother us. Slight view obstruction due to ship's design, but no big deal. We booked the aft corner balcony, cabin number 7388 for next year because we liked it back there so much. Patty from St Vincent was our steward and she was great. Nice lady. Note: RCCL has shower doors instead of curtains which is nice. We always wish there was a bit more storage space in all of our cabins and this time was no different. We always bring too much, however I did forget to bring my black suit pants and i had to wear blue pants with my black suit coat on formal nights. Wife forgot her reading glasses and couldn't read the dining room menu. Nine cruises and we still make rookie mistakes.
We had late seating at table 343 in the Carmen Dining Room. Lauro from the Philippines was our waiter. Nice guy, but sort of shy and not real entertaining. Not the best waiter we've ever had, but not the worst. His assistant was Alejando from Croatia. He was new, but tried hard. I rate the food pretty high and I enjoyed dinner every night. Soups were good, the salad was good size(Carnival's salads were tiny) and the main course tasted great. I was happy with everything except for the NY Strip Steak I had on the last night. They had A1 steak sauce not Heinz 57, which I prefer, so maybe that was the problem.
Our experience on board was great. We used the pools & hot tubs a lot. The kids did everything from rock climbing to ice skating to shuffleboard on deck 4. Loved stopping in the Promenade Cafe for coffee and a light lunch. We attended all the shows and the ice show. It was basically the same ice show we saw two years ago, but I'd go see it two years from now too. My wife & I closed down "High Notes" on deck 14 on numerous nights when the band Synergy played. The disco was dead. Mike, the cruise director, was a funny guy. I mean, really funny. Karaoke was lame. Even the finals were bad. Usually we find it very entertaining. Skipped Johnny Rockets & Portofino's this trip. but have done them before. I thought RCCL did a good job of monitoring the kids on board. The kids were always coming up to us and saying that they needed adult supervision to do a certain activity. We never used the fitness center or the spa, except for the large hot tub. The drinks prices keep rising. $27 for a bucket of five Coronas. I thought the best deal was the beer on draft, the big draft of either Heineken or Amstel Light. As on all cruises, they really push the drink of the day.
One more thing. We travelled with a burn victim in our group. He's a 14 year old boy who was burned very badly two years ago in an out of control bonfire. He has had 58 surgeries, has no hands and his body, including his face is totally scarred. He had never been in a formal dining room setting or on a cruise ship. Royal Caribbean did an OUTSTANDING job of making him feel welcomed. The staff & crew were FANTASTIC. Lauro, our waiter even cut Josh's steak for him every night. My fellow cruisers went out of their way to be nice to him too. I thank you all for that.