This is my family's third cruise but first with RCI. The two prior have bee with Disney. Each cruise we have gone with the entire family, all 18 of us.
Embarkation - This was fast! We arrived at 11am and the process must of only taken 20/25 minutes total.
Ship/Amenities - WOW IS THIS SHIP BIG! I can't imagine what the Oasis must be like after seeing this! There are plenty of areas to explore, however the promenade is where you will spend most of your time, since it is the only place to get food fast and meet conveniently. The theming of the ship is a little bizarre, I didn't really connect everything but individually it was all nice, especially the artwork in the stairways. The Sports Deck definitely elevated the cruise experience. We enjoyed the Flow rider and Rock climbing because it is not something many cruises have. Some advice is to experience these activities early in the week, and either when they first open or during port days. On sea days you knew that you were on board with thousands of other guests, especially near the pools. The Fitness center was well equipped and always busy, but I could always find the machines I wanted without problem. Stateroom - My three cousins and I stayed in an Interior stateroom and it was surprisingly comfortable. The rest of the family were in balcony rooms, but I didn't feel left out not having one. We all fit our clothes and everything fine and it was definitely worth the money saved. I might never go back to a balcony knowing that the value is there for a interior. Our room attendant kept everything very nice, and we couldn't of asked more of him.
Entertainment/Activities - The Magic show by Drew Thomas was worth the cruise. It was by far the best show on board and awe inspiring. Other than that, what a complete disappointment. Although hearing all the talk about how the ship won best entertainment, we never saw it. The singers were nothing special(except for Patty) and the dancers were not impressive. All the choreography was very feminine, and not great quality. I've seen better at my high school. After Wednesday we started to not want to go to the shows, but there was nothing else that interested us to do. The Activities were definitely catered toward adults who like to drink. Being 17 and in the middle of child and adult entertainment, i never found much to do, which was extremely disappointing. We went to dinner, then trivia, then the sub-par shows every night. Trust me I tried to find other things, but for my age group, there were slim pickings. That was a huge let down for such a well known cruise line and ship.
Food - Another let down. Breakfast was terrible. Pancakes and waffles were some of the driest I've ever tasted. There was always a wide selection of food, but it was the same everyday. The Main dining room was only just above the Windjammer in quality, but both had limited selections. One morning i actually skipped breakfast because i had no desire to eat any of it. Lunch Once again was had wide selection that remained the same everyday. The quality was OK, but I could make better. I can't really complain about lunch; however, I can't praise it either... For Dinner we always ate in the MDR. the service is nowhere near Disney's but on its own it was great. The Head Waiter actually earned his tip and came by at least once a night to chat with each table. The appetizers were always the best part of the meal(in fact the best things i ate on vacation were appetizers!), and i normally got two. After that it went downhill. There was always a meat and potato entree. These were generally bland and fatty. Other dinners like lasagna I would rate a 3.5 out of 5, Surf and Turf a 3,chicken Marsala 3, and tempura shrimp/mahi mahi a 3.5. I will say anything with the shrimp was always the best. The desserts were passable in general. I only enjoyed the chocolate cake. On the promenade the sandwiches were great, but never changed, and the pizza was just OK if not a little below that. the cookies at the cafe, however, were always a treat, especially mud pie.
Ports - Labadee has a very rocky beach, and the venders are very pushy. We climbed Dunn's Rivers falls which was amazing in Jamaica. Stingray City in Grand Caymen was very Enjoyable, and the island is the cleaest and most inviting of them all. Cozumel was my favorite stop with plenty of great shopping, food and people.
In general this is how i would sum up our cruise: -Drew Thomas was the best shows, others were mediocre. -RCI charges for everything -Ship was beautiful and Huge -Cruise was for adults who drink, not kids. -If you are going on a cruise to eat good food and see good entertainment, this is not your cruise. -Allan Brooks was an AMAZING cruise director, we couldn't imagine a better one! -Cabin and Service was great.
So in the end when asked if I would go on RCI again, I'd have to say that it depends. I was not impressed enough to have them become my "go to" cruise line, but the ship and vacation as a whole was definitely enjoyable. I'll probably try other lines out before returning though.