This was our 4th cruise but first on Royal Caribbean. We traveled with our 2 teenagers and 10 yr old.
We flew from Hawaii to London 3 days before sailing, and saw the local sites. Booked transit to Southampton through a local travel agency for a good price. The cruise before us was hit hard with norovirus so no one knew quite what to expect at embarkation as everything had been delayed a bit. As it turned out, I think we boarded maybe 2 hours later than normal without problem. Went right to the Windjammer and found a table, did the obligatory first day on board lunch with the honey stung chicken (which wasn't quite my thing after all)then set out to explore the ship.
Along the way we were waylayed by a bar person with a bucket of drinks who was selling the new all inclusive drink packages. Doing the math in our heads, we quickly snatched them up- $29 per day for beer and wine for my husband, $39 for beer, wine and liquor for me. This was a smart investment, and we greatly enjoyed our "magic cards" all cruise long.
The ship was *beautiful*, it was decorated wonderfully and everything was spick and span clean. The crew was hyper vigilant about the noro threat and had hand sanitizing stations at each doorway in public areas and they would ask each passenger upon entry if they had sanitized. Efforts paid off, as we had no outbreak on our cruise.
We really enjoyed all of the entertainment venues- especially "Rock The Boat" singing rock n roll songs in the Pyramid lounge nightly, and Kory the piano man after hours. The main theatre shows were beautifully done, if a bit short lived. The ice show was *magnificent*, we saw "Strings" and the violinist was wonderful!
Food- here is a mixed review. We found the main dining room food to be very disappointing compared to previous cruises. Menus seemed limited and seemedto repeat similar dishes nightly, the meat was over or under done each time we ate in there, the plates were not garnished and presentation greatly lacked. No complaints with the servers- just the food itself. We ate there the 3 formal nights (and were disappointed, no lobster??) but stuck to Windjammer or speciality restaurants the other nights. The Windjammer was very pleasing- with a large selection, I especially enjoyed the Jade side with its various Indian and Asian dishes. Johnny Rockets was fun, quite hat we expected... we also did the Murder Mystery Dinner in Portofino- our opinion was the show was lacking, and not worth the cost- but the company we met was great and the meat we had was the best of our cruise.Amazing filet and that tiramisu in a white chocolate cup... delicious!!!
Quizzes on board varied in fun factor- some staff were wonderful at making everyone laugh and others not so much. Cruise Director Joff was wonderful- and hilarious!! We really enjoyed when he hosted events. My husband was one of the team leaders for The Quest and that was the most fun game of the cruise.
Drinks were generally very well made. Coffee exceeded expectations based on former complaints. We brought 2 cases of bottled water on board with luggage tags and they made it fine- the ids enjoyed their soda packages and we sure enjoyed our alcohol packages so no complaints at all.
Kids clubs- the 10 yr old LOVED hers, we dragged her away kicking an screaming nightly. The 17/18 yr old loved his- he was gone from embarkation until debarkation! The 13 yr old on the other hand-she was disappointed they did not keep the teens segregated as advertised, but instead the older and younger kids shared the living room space most of the time- she is a YOUNG 13, and to boot she didn't want to be around her 17/18 yr old brother. As a result she shied away from so many activities. I felt bad for her. She did enjoy ice skating, and ping pong, and the arcade and the free ice cream *a lot*!
All in all we had a FABULOUS time, and we would not hesitate to sail Indy again!!