This was our first cruise with RCCL. My wife and I both turned 40 in the past few months and decided to celebrate it with a cruise just for us. We left the kids behind and because we were not cruising with our kids opted to not go on Disney this time around.
We stayed in San Juan the night before embarkation, enjoying Old San Juan, shopping and eating dinner in town. As our cab pulled up to the terminal, we feared a long wait to get baggage to the porters. While it did take about 25 minites to get to the front of the line, once we handed our bags off, we were whisked into the check in and walked right up to the counter, had our Sea Passes and were getting our welcome aboard photos withing 10 minutes of handing the bags off. Very quick and easy check in.
Room was ready at 1:30PM. We had a great room attendent, name Marley (or Marlie) who was from Nicoragua. Did a great job all week. Ice 2x per day, extension cord for my CPAP, etc.
I won't give a day by day break down, instead I'll break it down into areas of interest like Ports, Meals, etc.
Ports of Call - We were on the Southern itinerary that featured Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, and St. Croix. We loved the number of stops and really enjoyed all the islands. The people in Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten were all great. Antigua had more rude and pushy locals trying to vie for your tourist dollars, but over all we had no issues. Be firm with your "no's" and you will be fine.
Excursions - We did two RCCL excursions. Ziplining in Antigua and The Tiki Hut Snorkel Lounge in St. Maarten. Both were great and worth the money to go.
Room - Our room was adequate. We don't spend much time in the room except to sleep so we didn't expect andy bells and whistles. I will say that even on the roughest night at sea (6-10 foot waves), we never felt a thing. It was great. As I mentioned earlier, our room attendent was awesome.
Main Dining Room - We opted for My Time Dining as we were not sure we would be ready for a 6PM seating with so many port days going until 5 or 6 PM. We only ate in the MDR 2 nights, the my time dining was very impersonal and we felt rushed. We went to the Windjammer for dinner after night 2.
Windjammer - We ate breakfast every day in the WJ, and dinner nights 3-7. Service was great and we sat in the same section every night. Had a great server name Jose Colaco in the WJ that took care of our sodas, water, and ice team each night. The Maitre D, Dharmesh was also great, offering info about the next days ports and things to do. If we do another RCCL cruise, I will forgo the MDR and simply go to the WJ for dinner.
Food - Breakfast was okay, nothing special, typical breakfast fare. Only ate lunch on embarkation day, it was good. Dinner in the MDR on nights 1 and 2 were good. Choices in the Windjammer for dinner were great, ranging from Lamb Chops, to custom stir fry to ethinc cuisine and standard Burgers and other kid friendly choices. The snack bar always had pizza, trail bars, pastries.
Service - Overall very good service. We did have to work for a fix to our missing soda cups (we bought the soda package) and missing water. Took 2 days to get both. That annoyed us, but the bar manager who got involved more than made up for it getting us extra soda cups and some free drinks.
Shows - We went to a few of the shows, they were good, not great.
Cruise Director and Staff - Anthony was great, he was funny and approachable, as were his assistants.
Shops on Board - Lots of jewels, watches, liquor, and perfume. RCCL logo'd clothes were minimal at best, would have liked to have seen more RCCL stuff.
Port and Shopping Guide - Kevin and his fiancee Davette were great at suggesting shops and getting VIP coupons. Be sure to see them before going ashore for shopping. Take part of their shopping show on Day 2 for specials.
Overall - We were spoiled by our times on Disney, and while this was not on the same par as Disney, I was impressed and would go back again on RCCL.