Seven day cruise with wife, three single daughters + one friend of one daughter, and one married daughter with her husband and their two boys (2 and 4). Wife and I had an aft cabin (1400) and was the biggest cabin and balcony we have enjoyed. Two daughters were next to us in the same category (D1) cabin but was smaller. Third unmarried daughter was in an inside with her friend. Married daughter with her husband and two children had a family promenade cabin - that was terrific - two bay windows onto the promenade, bunk beds in a small room, pull out sofa, and bathroom with a tub. The rooms were clean and the stateroom attendants were efficient and invisible. Service was great.
We heeded the warning and did not arrive to the port until about 2:00. Embarkation was not quite as long as described on other reviews but we were standing in lines for more than one-hour.
Ice show was good but the regular shows were generally only OK. The comedic juggler and the tribute to the Temptations were both quite good. Ship is going into drydock to undergo some upgrades. RCCL is intending on putting on very different shows - a pretty good idea in IMHO. Activities were numerous and I was pleased to see no more "Art" Auctions. That said, there was certainly more room for variety in activities. One of my grandsons was in the explorer program and enjoyed that, the younger attended some of the Fisher Price programs but there was too much TV watching in the explorer program.
Dining room staff was as good as we have experienced. We had breakfast and dinner, generally all ten of us, in the dining room. RCCL has dropped the ball with the food.
No more waffles, breakfast crepes, or eggs benedict every day. Now, there is a single special each day. One may certainly order omelets of their choosing and the food came out hot but with choices so limited it did not feel the same. I was pretty bored after just a couple of days. Indeed, in the dining room, a buffet was offered as an alternative to ordering off the menu - not sure why RCCL made that choice.
Typical but it certainly felt like fewer choices. The Windjammer no longer served hard ice cream. Lunch seemed less downgraded than either breakfast or dinner.
The service in the dining room, we had a table for 10 in the 5th floor dining room (Botticelli's). Our waiter and assistant waiter were first rate. Our waiter, Ivan, in particular was as good as they come - pleasant, patient, good with the kids, always trying to satisfy us. We aren't all that picky but he did make every request seem like it was his pleasure and no problem at all.
The food on the other hand... Appetizers were generally good - indeed, the highlight of virtually every dinner. As always, the onion tarte was terrific and the chilled soups rarely disappointed.
Entres were hits, near misses, or misses. With ten of us selecting there was a variety for us to sample.
First the worst. The prime rib was a poor piece of meat. The lobster tail was not sweet and also a little tough - not much of it anyway. The steak on the last night was also a less desirable cut - the menu claimed it as a NY strip but perhaps it was cut so thin that the meat was neither tender nor particularly flavorful.
Near misses to hits. The lamb chops and most of the fish dishes were close to fine. My wife enjoyed the lamb chops but really preferred other meals. The lamb shank was very good as was the turkey, lasagna and the vegeterian Indian alternatives. The fish dishes were a mixed bag - the best being the panko encrusted mahi-mahi. The cilantro-panko "catch of the day" met mixed reviews. One of our party's takers did not like the taste at all and sent it back. The furthest from fine was the sea bass. The dinner accompaniments were generally OK but the vegetables were sometimes overcooked and of course sometimes undercooked.
Desserts were a little disappointing the quality was lower than we had experienced and the choices seemed more limited. The cheesecake options on two or three of the nights was reliable. But other than that, no dessert was truly memorable.
Disembarkation was a breeze. We will certainly try RCCL again but wait a couple of years to see if the food improves.