This was our 1st cruise with RCI and having watched many TV programs and reading almost every weekend newspaper praising this wonderful ship that sails from Southampton we decided to give it a go!
The ship although very large is fantastic, in 10 days you cannot possibly take advantage of everything on board. There are allot of people on this ship and you cannot always get a seat in the lounge or bar of your choice, this could be helped a little if some, not all, parents would control there children and not let them run around the ship at all times of the day or night.
The food in the main dining room is OK but is dining room food rather than restaurant quality, the food in the Windjammer is very good but you have to be prepared to queue for food and a table. The food in the specialist restaurant Portofino's was excellent, we both ate far to much. We did not use the other specialist restaurant Chops & Grill but were told by some of our fellow cruisers who had dined there that it was excellent.
The drinks are very expensive and priced in US Dollars so for the first few days it was a little confusing, how they justify $10 to $15 for a medium glass of wine and $6 to $7.50 for a beer i don't know. If you have children the soft drink package seemed good value for money.
We had an outside stateroom which was excellent, I have never seen or slept in such a large bed. our stateroom was cleaned and served twice a day by our excellent stateroom attendant.
All the staff on board were excellent with the exception of the staff on the customer relations desk. On the three occasions I found myself wanting their help i found them extremely rude and very unhelpful.
As i mentioned above at times it was stormy both inside and outside the ship. We left Southampton heading for bad weather while other ships stayed in port, so we sailed into a Hurricane with the captain telling us next day that it was the worst seas he had sailed through for the last 10 years. We had lost 10 hours sailing in the wrong direction to try to avoid the worst of the storm therefore we would not now be calling at Madeira, a great disappointment for us, so we now had an extra day at see, putting more money into the RCI purse.
The other ports of call are good and the excursions on the whole were value for money.
To sum up then the ship is excellent but RCI is a money making machine. Would I recommend RCI to friends a definite NO