My husband and I booked this cruise in February of this year. This was our 15th cruise and our 9th with RCL. We are familiar with the ship as we did a caribbean cruise on her in 2007. We booked a "balcony guarantee" for $729. and were very pleased to receive a D2 cabin. We were right behind the hump port side and it was very convenient to dining and to the grand promanade.
We arrived at LAX a day early and took the Prime Time Shuttle to Doubletree hotel. We booked both ahead via internet. The shuttle was right there, but failed to tell us it would drive around the airport until it filled the shuttle. With tip, the shuttle was about $40. Doubletree was a good choice for a hotel. It is showing its' age with wear and tear but the staff was great and the rooms large. The do have a restaurant on site and we had dinner and breakfast there.
Sunday morning, the hotel shuttle (free) took us to the port which is about 5 minutes away at 10:30 a.m. The cruise line tells you not to expect to be on the ship until noon but we were checked in and eating lunch bey noon. We were in our cabin promptly at 1 p.m.
We were immediately greeted by our cabin steward, Zena. She was awesome and set the standard for the entire trip. Some trips, we never even know who our cabin steward is, Zena seems to appear out of thin air whenever we left our cabin. We did not need for anything. We asked that our mini bar be kept stocked with diet coke and water and it was. Our cabin was cleaned twice a day and our linen changed twice.
We chose main dining. Our head waiter was again, awesome. We were with a group of about 16 people and we had two tables. We switched up the tables every night, buy she knew us by the second night and had my wine waiting for me no matter where we sat. She was quick to bring our extras every night as we like extra vegetables and some of our friends liked two meals (they were growing boys).
The ship was as great as I remembered. She is none the worse for wear for being 7 or 8. Our cabin was clean and almost sparkled. I did not see wear in the hall carpets or in the walls. The public areas were kept remarkably clean. This ship had truly, one of the best staffs we have ever experienced. In the grill, tables were cleaned as soon as some one got up. The buffets were kept full and clean. The food was delicious. And although the ship was full, we never had a problem finding a deck chair or getting on and off the ship. We were really impressed!
Our goal on this trip was to return home and not need a vacation to rest up from our vacation. We did not plan to take any organized tours or excursions and we succeeded in doing this. We were surprised at how much fun we had and this will go into our books as one of our favorite vacations. We were never stressed by the need to go to bed so we could get up early, or skip anything cause we had somewhere to be. We made no plans until we woke up each day and it was great!
We loved all three ports and have some new sayings. "Lady, almost free!" And "Don't buy from him...Silver for one week".