We are two males who could be described as young at heart. We were both very excited about going on this huge ship. I have cruised about 20 times and have been through some messy embarkations and departures. So knowing that this ship could carry 5,400 people, we were prepared for the worst. We left home at 9 a.m., not wanting to get to the pier too early. We drove. It was about a 3 hour trip. We got through the gate in a few minutes. We could see the ship and were told that the parking was right next to it. Dropped off two bags. The porter asked if we were starboard or port and I couldn't remember. He said it didn't matter, he would look it up. We entered the parking area. I thought it would be a garage but it was just a big parking lot. We found a spot very close to the ship. By this time we learned that this voyage was filled to capacity. Each window in the check in area had a deck number and each deck had about 4 windows. We started walking to the window marked deck 14 and were stopped. The woman asked us which deck and we said 14. She said 14 was a little busy so we should go to deck 7 which could handle us quicker. Deck 7 took us immediately. The people in front of us were Chinese and I noticed that their passports read People's Republic of China. We stepped on the ship about 15 minutes later. It was the easiest embarkation I've experienced.
We were able to find our cabin right away. I noticed that many of the passengers were Chinese. We heard no English. Other than Chinese we heard a language I couldn't figure out. It was Portuguese. The largest group was from Brazil and the second largest was China. Later I met a woman from Hong Kong who told me that it was a week long Chinese Holiday. Ditto for Brazil.
Went to lunch at the Windjammer cafe. It was at full capacity but we found a table right away. The food tasted just ok but RCCL is not noted for it's cuisine. We went to our lifeboat drill which was held in the Aqua Theater and then joined our group for cocktails and off to dinner. The late seating. A table for 10 with a very entertaining waiter from the Dominican Republic. There was a first night show but I don't really remember it. A very active day and too many cocktails. But I do remember exploring the ship. It was fantastic. I realized that we were going to do a lot of walking. We were aft so getting to the dining room was just an elevator ride 11 decks down. The elevators were more than adequate. But getting from the dining room to the Opal Theater which was forward was a long, long walk which we had to do every night. I noticed that my key card said Diamond and there was an envelope for Diamond passengers on the dresser. We found that we had complimentary cocktails every night at Blaze disco which was all the way forward just outside of the Opal Theater. We also had a private dining room for breakfast. We liked the regular dining room better. The service was excellent in all of the dining rooms. We found the Solarium Bistro which was our favorite restaurant for lunch. Health food. And the Solarium deck was the best for sunbathing and swimming. Adults only.
Two of the shows were fantastic. Frozen in Ice which we saw twice and Oasis of Dreams in the Aqua Theater, the swimming and diving show which we were able to see only once. For Frozen in Ice we sat in the front row on one of the aisles. That was one of the points where the skaters entered and left the ice. My traveling companion sat on the aisle and in both shows a beautiful girl skater from the show who was supposed to stand beside the chair until her cue to get back on the ice, sat in his lap. He does seem to have those kind of experiences. The shows in the Opal theater were less spectacular. One show, in the Royal Promenade, a tribute to the 60's. They had the Village people, several Michael Jacksons and I think I saw John Travolta doing his white dance in Saturday Night Fever. It was spectacular. Very fast paced. The dancers were great and all of it happening in the Royal Promenade, you could reach out and touch the performers. One of the Village people took off his shirt and everyone was counting his ab muscles. It ended with all of the performers marching into what looked like a lifeboat in the fountain which then raised up into the ceiling. I would have to give this cruise a very high rating. We opted to carrying off our own bags which meant that we could leave the ship between 6 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. To get off we just took the elevator to Deck 5 and were directed to the gangplank. We were off the ship in 10 minutes.
We didn't take any shore excursions, staying on the Solarium deck using the hot tubs and swimming pool and the wonderful Solarium restaurant was a highlight of the trip.