My husband, two teenage daughters and me took our 8th cruise - third time down the Mexican Riviera. We're from Arizona so it's convenient!
We arrived around 1pm to discover a long line outside the terminal building. You would think we were at Disneyland. It was hot and the line was not moving - really. I walked up to the front of the line to see porters emerging from the building. At the same time, cars were pulling up dropping off passengers and their luggage & flagging down the porters that just came out. I spoke to the head guy and said what about the people that have been standing in line for over 45 minutes - what kind of system is this? The head guy agreed but the porters just went with the passengers who "grabbed" them. So I joined the "Joneses" and flagged a porter and asked(okay begged) to walk with me to where my family was waiting. The rest of the embarkation went smoothly but this porter system needs to be fixed!
The ship is beautiful and the Royal Promenade in the middle of the ship is a great idea. The decor of the Promenade is contemporary & modern but what happened with the design of the cabin areas/carpet? The interior designer(s) must have stepped back a decade to the 1990's with the light finishes. The Savoy Theater is stunning and the stage curtain is extraordinary with its embellishments.
The highlights of the cruise were the comedian hypnotist - never did catch his name and Revolution - Beatles Tribute. Although beautifully staged and choreographed, the production shows seemed to cater to the 65 plus crowd. The first night featured obscure jazzy/show tunes and put us all to sleep!! Their other show was no better although they included some Elton John! They need to take their cue from Carnival if Royal wants to attract a younger crowd. At least their shows feature music from the each decade and popular tunes!
And speaking of age group, I head read from previous posts that HAL seemed to cater most to an older crowd with Carnival the youngest. I expected Royal to be in the "middle". My teenage girls were greatly disappointed as they felt their were hardly any kids their age on this cruise. In fact, both my husband(in his 50's and myself - 40s) felt overwhelmed by the majority of people 65 plus on this cruise. Nothing wrong with that but created a different vibe for a family.
The service was impeccable. We ate our meals in the main dining room - Sound of Music floor - overlooking the 3-story restaurant. Gorgeous restaurant and the best overall ambiance from any ship we've sailed so far. The food was good - but we're not picky eaters. The desserts were the best part of the meal - typically ordering at least two of their selections. What's another 1200 calories from the second dessert after you've already consumed 12,300 calories in the last 6 hours. The head waiter/manager for the Sound of Music floor was very attentive and personable!
Although I've read complaints about the Windjammer(buffet food) and lack of seating - we never found that a problem. In fact, they had staff making sure tables were cleared and to assist diners to find tables. The food was okay and yes - the desserts were delicious. The coffee was rather bitter.
The layout was very efficient but tight fit for four of us. Liked the small love seat but coffee table could go giving you more leg room. Great closet space and beds were very comfortable. The cabin steward was very friendly and did a great job taking care of our "messy" habits.
Since this is our third visit, we mainly did some shopping/beach at the ports. We opted for horseback riding with Randy's Happy Horses in Mazatlan and had a wonderful experience.
*Cushioned chaise lounge chairs in the Solarium/adult area a big plus!
*Jacuzzi temp could be hotter. Seemed lukewarm at best.
*Huge line for soft ice cream. One machine was down for the entire cruise.
*Nice casino - Lady who ran special events there was great fun - hosting various themed events each night.
*Ice Show - Fantastic addition to the rather lackluster main entertainment at the Savoy theater.
*Cruise Director - Keiron - the funniest and best cruise director we've experienced do far.
*Fitness Center - nicely equipped and laid out.