This was our 5th cruise, two previously with Royal Caribbean (RCI) two with Princess.
Transfer from Barcelona Airport to the ship via pre aranged transport with RCI was smooth and efficient. We had a 30 minute wait at the ship in a long queue for embarkation, possibly as so many passengers had arived at the same time, shortly after 12 noon. It seems the queue is much shorter nearer 2pm which is worth bearing in mind. The actual formalities on reaching the end of the queue are quich, especially if you register on-line as we did.
Our stateroom was ready when we arived. We had chosen a Promenade View as at the time of booking no outside staterooms were available. These staterooms have a window to the centre of the ship but the amount of light is limited so you need a light on at all times.In addition, there is entertainment on the Promenade Deck some nights going on up to midnight. If you want an early night as we did for an early start next day for a tour, forget it! Also as you have the light on there is no privacy from the staterooms oposite. Frankly, save some money and book an inside cabin.
The ship decor was to a generally high standard although we personally are not fans of 'modern art' which was much in evedence on this particular ship. The layout of the ship is similar to others in the RCI fleet with the addition of a climbing wall and ice skating area. The Promenade Deck area had some interesting themes such as bar areas, a 'cafe' open most of the day and shops. We found staff generally to be polite and friendly. Out Stateroom Attendant, Anthony, was delightful and shared several amuzing moments with us. He kept our stateroom imaculate.
The dining arangements were as we had experienced previously with a choice of set dining or 'my time dining' where you dine at a time that suits you best. We choose the latter. Be aware, however, that RCI insist on all gratuities to be pain at the time of booking the cruise if you chhose 'my time dining'! Their argument is that in theory you could have a different waiter each night. The food in the Dining Room was to a high standard and well presented with a choice each evening.
The self service Windjammer Cafe provides food to cover all tastes including an impressive variety of salads and of course sweets, fruit and cakes. Tea, coffee, cold 'tea' and lemonade (still tasty bitter lemon) are available. We ate here for breakfast and lunchtime if on board. Finding a seat was sometimes difficult at busy times. I found cold plates anoying; obviously this cools hot food!
Entertainment in the full-sized theatre was varied with combinations of specialty acts and singers and dancers. Mercedes, the Cruise Director from Argentina,introduced all acts in both English and Spanish. We attended an excellent Ice Show. There was always a full programme of events throughout the day to keep passengers active.