We sailed with a group of 8 friends. One of which is handicapped and had rented an electric scooter chair to use for the trip. This cruise has been planned for over a year. We flew in the day before and stayed at the Homewood Suites in Ft. Lauderdale. I would HIGHLY recommend this hotel! New hotel with great staff, great breakfast, and beautiful rooms!
We paid for the shuttle to come pick us up at the hotel. The hotel has a shuttle service and we liked it because they took just our party of 8 at 10am when we requested. We didn't like the HOARD of people waiting for free shuttles at other hotels. SO, we booked the shuttle when we arrived at the hotel. They took us to the port and then picked us up after and took us to the airport for $18 per person round trip. I would use them again.
We got to the ship at 10:20am and EVERYTHING they say about the boarding process is TRUE! It took us literally 10 minutes to go from the shuttle to the waiting area upstairs. We waited till 11am when they told us we could board. They boarded us by Suite guests, Diamonds, and so on.. VERY efficient!
FIRST, my SKEPTICISM....the "LOGJAMMER"....Windjammer is a NIGHTMARE! We made the HUGE mistake of going there for the first day lunch. My friend with the wheelchair was SOO discouraged as people were clamoring for food and cutting her off. ( you would think these people hadn't eaten for a month!) We did NOT go back to the Windjammer EXCEPT for a late afternoon bite..
FOOD- We ate in the dining room every evening and every morning for breakfast. We did NOT eat at ANY specialty venues. We really feel if we paid for an all inclusive cruise...we want to eat at the places we paid for! SO I cannot review any of the pay to eat places. The breakfast in the dining room was WONDERFUL! They had a buffet or you could order from the menu. It was quiet, peaceful and a wonderful time to sip coffee with friends while eating all your favorite fruits! The buffet had diced fruit, granola, sliced fruit, rolls, donuts, rolls, eggs, sausage, bacon, hashbrowns, yogurt..PERFECT for breakfast!
We had lunch at Sorrentos Pizza- EXCELLENT! AND of course LOTS of snacks from the Cafe Promenade- there cookies ARE TO DIE FOR! Also, soft serve yogurt machines are on the pool deck in several places! The WipeOut Buffet is nice for picking up a quick snack OR filling up your thermal mugs you brought from home full of ice and tea!
Dinner each night was a pleasure. We all tried new dishes and enjoyed our waiters Jan and Ivan! I don't understand people complaining about the food. It was tasty and warm!
CABIN- Our cabin was very efficient! Loved the nightlight in the bathroom. The TV was big and very easy to use. We brought an extension cord and were able to plug in all of our electric items. The bed was comfy and we had no complaints!
ENTERTAINMENT- WOW! I can't say enough about the amazing shows! I am NOT a big show person. I am not a big fan of the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers on past crews... SO for me to LOVE it....it HAS to be GREAT! Hairspray was EXCELLENT! Everything about it was professional! The Ice Show was WONDERFUL! Usually it is a bit " weird" but this production had humor and was very "normal"! Plus they had a sand drawing guy that was a MUST SEE! The water shows were also FIRST CLASS! They have 2 shows. a comedy review and Oasis Dreams. They were both put on by talented, highly acclaimed divers and swimmers. We also saw Abbacadabra, an Abba cover band. IF you like Abba, you will feel like you are at a real concert. They look and sound just like them! Overall, the shows were 10 out of 10 PLUS you don't need tix! You preregister online ( I suggest WAY in advance of your cruise) for times for the shows you want and then when you get to the door they just scan your seapass card and it lets you in!
LABADEE- Favorite stop! Water was beautiful. I floated on a mat most of the day until we had a great lunch of ribs and chicken, burgers, salads..it was ALL delicious. We took the shuttle over to the other beach and it wasn't crowded at ALL! Had chairs under the palm trees.
The Ship itself has so much to do! We zip lined! FUN but too short of a ride. I went Flowriding with my 50 something girlfriends! We did the boogie board and the instructors were so kind and helpful! I didn't even wipe out! We walked in Central Park but felt it was wasted space as all there is, is pay to eat venues and the Park Cafe. The Boardwalk area is nice! Its where the AquaTheatre is located. We rode the Merry Go Round, had a donut or two (not really that great), looked in the cute kids shops, made a "pets at sea" flamingo, but didn't eat at Johnny Rockets or the Seafood Shack. The Royal Promenade was MUCH wider than on the next class ships. It was not as crowded and had lots more chairs to sit and eat or watch people. I found we didn't get lost on the ship. There are so many interactive screens to help you find your way! They have a great walking track on deck 5. Also on deck 5 you can go to the very back of the ship and sit in a chair and read and watch the waves go by virtually ALONE! Very few people back there! We never had a problem finding a deck chair. We loved the Beach Pool and pretty much camped out there. Our handicapped friend had no major problems on the cruise. Her room was handicapped accessible and was HUGE and VERY WELL designed.
Cruise Director Richard Spacey was THE PERFECT blend of humor and efficiency! He was the best we have ever had!
I give this ship a 9 out of 10. We are planning on cruising the Allure in a year or two. Can't wait!! And try to withhold judgement on this ship till you have lived on it a few days. IT GROWS on you! It doesn't seem so BIG and it doesn't seem like there are 6'000 people on it with you!