I've been on a few cruises in the past, mostly Princess cruises. This was my first Royal Caribbean Cruise and probably my last with them. To start off the ship was 6 HOURS late pulling into Bayonne NJ. where we were to start our trip. This would not be so bad except for the lack of information the crew were providing us. I also felt bad since it was January and Many elderly people were forced to stand while waiting. coffee and cookies were provided for all guest but after 6 hour of delay coffee and cookies don't cut it for a meal replacement. You would think Royal Caribbean would provided all the inconvenienced guest some sort of compensation, even if it's a free drink and a "were sorry" speech... but nothing. I went so far as to contact Royal Caribbean and let them know of my experience. They sent me a template "sorry for the delay" response where they put the blame elsewhere and not on themselves. I really didn't know how good I had it on Princess until I tried a Royal Caribbean cruise.
The Food was very sub-par and I don't even consider myself a real foodie. I'm a simple guy who loves going to diners, and that would be a step up from the food given to us on the Explorer of the Seas. My wife and myself tried all the food options on the ship and were happy with only one... the restaurant we had to pay $20 per person to get into. This was an Italian style dinning experience that we enjoyed. In that restaurant we had three waiters catering to all our needs, and the food was very delicious. It almost seemed like Royal Caribbean forces you into this style of dinning to get the extra cash out of you. In my experience a buffet is supposed to offer food services 24/7. I guess due to budget cuts this buffet was scheduled for the most odd hours of operation. In addition to that the selection of the buffet food was very limited. It seemed like all the buffet stations (which they had many of) were loaded up with the SAME 4 or 5 items. The food reminded me of when I was a child and would join my grandmother at the senior citizens center for lunch.
Our Stateroom was conveniently placed right above the one of the theaters so It was very noisy until about 1AM. I usually don't mind loud noises but this was like sleeping right above a club. When the noise did die down every little hinge in the room creaked all night long. I've been on a few ships before in the past but never experienced anything like this. Maybe it's do to the ships age or poor maintenance but it was like sleeping in a creaky submarine.
The activities and the entertainment is was got me thru this trip and got my mind off the poor food and staterooms. I really enjoyed everything from the rock climbing to the ice skating and mini-golf. I'm an active person and I must say that they kept enough interesting activities going on-board to really keep us busy. The gym was very nice and well kept as well. I looked forward to going to that gym every morning more than I did the breakfast.
I really enjoyed the destinations we landed at. Every place we stopped we had a great time. San Juan was vibrant and lively, while Antigua was an amazing beech destination that my wife and I loved and would go back to any day. Dominica was rich in friendliness and personality definitely one of the more interesting islands I've ever been too, and I've been to many.