This was our first time on Royal Caribbean and I have to say I was impressed with many aspects of the ship. Of all of our 26 cruises this was the cleanest stateroom we have ever had. I also couldn't believe what good shape the ship's public areas were in for its age. Things that impressed us were that in Cabo they used hired tenders rather than lowering the lifeboats like the other lines do. We also appreciated their tipping policy - they let us decide if we wanted it added to our folio or to pay in person (our preference). We've done the 3 Mexican ports many times so did not have high expectations for the enjoyment of this quick 7 day getaway - but it was a really nice cruise overall.
I should point out some negatives (just to keep it real!). One was how unfriendly the staff were in general (waiters, room stewards, front desk staff, etc.). I really got the impression that they were not very happy in their jobs. On Princess everyone smiles and says 'hello' when they pass you anywhere on the ship. On this ship when I asked for some information at the front desk, the person I was speaking to started typing (and looking down) while I was there in front of him - as though he was too busy to stop working to answer my questions! The other shocker was having our waiter tell us on Day 5 that he gets no salary whatsoever - his only income is our tips. I couldn't believe that this could be true so I asked at the front desk (this time got the unfriendly manager). She at first said that it was private information, and then added that they are given 'perks' for getting good reviews, but do rely on tips for income. Quite frankly our waiter was not very good at all! I thought if his sole income was tips he should really figure out how to give better service. We also found the food hit and miss, but not as terrible as others have written in their reviews. And finally, it seemed to be a far more party crowd than on any Carnival ship we've been on. All the poolside games were dominated by the under 30 beautiful people (often drunk) who would vote for their friends, and kept the contest one-sided in the judging - not much fun for anyone else to join the activities.
Don't get me wrong - overall it was a really great cruise despite these things. I could tell that RCL was a step-above some of the other lines we've been on in the quality of cabins, and the shows were really first-rate. The Cruise Director & his sidekick (can't remember his title) were a riot - the best we have ever had on any cruise! We put down a future cruise deposit so we'll definitely be back on RCL.