Very easy embarkation. In all I think it took about 20 minutes. Huge plus.
There was a mix up with our group and we were switched to the 2ND seating. We went immediately to the dining room to speak with the Maitre D but we had 11 people in our group so they were unable to switch us back to the first seating. The Maitre D was extremely nice and I understood why they could not switch us back. Actually worked great because our son fell asleep in the stroller a half hour before dinner and we were able to enjoy ourselves without the baby.
After visiting the Maitre D we went straight to our cabin (inside). When we got there we found that room was not set up correctly and we were missing the pack and play requested for our son. We called the operator and the phone literally rang for about ten minutes without anyone answering it. Finally someone answered and told us that housekeeping would be in at three and the pack and play would be delivered then. We came back to find the beds pushed apart and the top bunk lowered with no pack and play. Again we called the operator and the phone rang for about 5 minutes straight this time before someone answered. They sent our room attendant and everything was fixed. Just very annoying that no one would answer the phones!
Dinner - We had a beautiful table on the third floor next to the railing. Our waitress was not a good match for our table. She was extremely rude. On several occasions she muttered things under her breath when we requested something. We were a happy group and she just made everyone feel uncomfortable. After three days I requested a new waiter. The new waiter was fantastic.
Food in the dining room - The first two nights the food was not bad but not great. Then all of sudden the food started getting much better. Favorites were the lamb chops, lamb shank, crab cake appetizer, spinach salad, and the lasagna.
Food in the windjammer - The food was OK. Nothing special.
Favorite spots on the ship - The promenade was nice. We really loved walking around there before dinner...and I loved the wine bar. The bar (Olive or Twist)on the 14Th floor was spectacular. The H20 zone was VERY pretty at night. Also enjoyed the casino!
Royal Babies program - There was Mommy and Me time every morning. Would have been great however there was not a planned class and the girl who was running the time looked like she partied too much the night before (both days we went) The brochure sounded like they had a program...maybe she was just too tired to follow the program. Still the toys and a room for the babies to crawl around in was nice. Also the toy lending program was great. It was nice not to bring toys with us.
Ice Show - FANTASTIC!
Parades - Loved it.
Flowrider - Cool but really could care less.
Things that I did not care for on the ship.
1) Locker room in the gym. Had to go upstairs to the spa, stand in line for 10 minutes to request a key for a locker in the gym. I don't understand why you cannot get a key to a locker in the gym????? Also I wanted a bottle of water but could not buy one in the gym. I had to leave and go to a bar in the solarium. And why is there only one toilet in the gym??? And it was always a huge mess.
2) The Shows (not including the ice skating show) Every show that I watched was borderline terrible. I have never been on a cruise and said the shows were terrible. Very surprised by this.
3) What happened to the HYDROTHERAPY pool??? Why is there no hydrotherapy pool on this ship????? That is my favorite thing about cruising. I was very disappointed. :(
4) Tender in the Grand Cayman. Ridiculous. It took forever to get people off the boat. In fact I noticed some of the tender boats half empty???
5) Artwork. One word "blah".
Notes for families cruising with kids:
1) Get an outside cabin. Inside was really too small. Workable but sometimes stressful.
2) Pack and play is nice but be aware that the bottom is basically a piece of cardboard. You might want to bring something to make it more comfy. It is much harder than the pack and play that I have at home. My little guy seemed to sleep fine on it but I still felt guilty.
3) The pool is freezing. Unless you are cruising in the summer your kids might actually refuse to go swimming in the pool. Just saying this might not be an activity to count on.
4) Age limitations on a lot of the activities. I cannot remember the exact age for the rock climbing wall and ice skating. I think the age requirement was 8 for both. (cannot remember fully)
5) We cruised with a family whose children were 6 and 8. Both children did not seem to enjoy the kids clubs that much. They have been on other ships and had a blast but they did not care for this one so much.
6) If you have small children who will sleep in the stroller at bedtime I would recommend the later dining time.
7) Don't bother bringing toys. The toy lending program is great!
Favorite stop on this itinerary was definitely Cozumel. We took a cab to Playa Palencar. LOVED IT. Great service, great beach, and great margaritas. They also had a boat leaving from the beach that would take you snorkeling.
All in all a good cruise. I like Royal Caribbean...just wish they had hydrotherapy pools!!!