This was my first and, most likely, last RCCL cruise. If you are allergic to or sensitive to cigarette or cigar smoke, this is not the ship nor, perhaps, the cruise line for you.
I had a lovely balcony cabin; however, there were smokers on either side. This greatly reduced the amount of time that I was able to spend enjoying the sun and the view. In fact, someone commented that balconies are predominantly booked by smokers. The casino was smoking with the exception of two nights; the smoke still lingered in the carpeting and other fabrics. The casino smoke drifted into the Orpheum theater (rear seating)and into the Boleros lounge. Unless willing to go outside or up one deck, one needed to pass through the casino to traverse from the theator to the dining room. There was smoking at the pool deck bar; there was smoking in the Viking lounge at the bar all day and then cigar smoking in the late evening. The Viking lounge smoke was evident for the evening Diamond, etc., More
gathering. I don't begrudge smokers the ability to smoke, but smoke was very evident on this line (unlike Celebrity or Azamara Club Cruises). Several passengers, including myself, had our allergies to smoke kick in. When on antihistamines and decongestants, it limits or eliminates the amount of alcohol that should be consumed (I had a $0 bar bill this cruise). Not good for RCCL's bottom line.
Embarkation in Baltimore was a breeze. Was dropped off by a service at 11:00 a.m.; no lines at check in. Waited until 11:30 a.m. to board; went immediately to Windjammer and was having a nice buffet lunch by 12 Noon.
Cabin: Asked for an 'eggcrate' cushion for the bed. Was provided the first night. Room had plenty of storage, particularly since I was travelling solo.
Would have liked better lighting in the bathroom (light lens was yellowed). Had a full-sized sofa and sufficient desk space.
General Ship Condition: Good for an older ship. Elevators were slow and not logical in their performance. The Centrum has two banks (due to ship's expansion); push the call button on both sides as they operate independently.
Shortage of Space in Orpheum Theater and Windjammer Buffet: I heeded the advice given in previous reviews and went to both venues in advance of opening/show start so I always had a table or a good seat. Timing is everything.
Pool Deck: Always found a lounger in the shade; plenty of towels; hot tubs were not really hot; would have preferred the temperature increased a bit more. Nice kids' pool/fountain.
Food: Windjammer was good; best variety on embarkation day. Dining room menu was very limited as compared to Celebrity or Azamara Club; this was a disappointment. Food was good in quality and quantity; hot food was never hot; cold food was never cold (i.e.,panna cotta). Galley was on same deck and close by so was surprised by this.
Dining Room Table: For some reason, RCCL placed two solo travellers with a couple at a table for four (both of us had requested tables of six or more). On the third night, we two solos transferred to larger table.
Service: Very good throughout the ship in all departments.
Shore/Shopping Talks: Skip this hard sell. If you travel to the Bahamas and Caribbean, you know that every port has the same shops (and the same mass-produced merchandise) and that the cruise lines and the 'shopping experts' receive fees for recommending the shops. No good areas-of-interest advice to passengers visiting the ports for the first time.
Entertainment: Katrina and John Blair, activities and cruise directors, respectively, made this cruise. If they are on board, do not miss the first and last nights in the theater; do not miss the 'newlywed/marriage' event in the theater or the adult "Quest" in the Spotlight lounge. The 'Quest' activity was all the more 'adult' due to the number of Spring breakers who participated. The "70's" event in the Centrum was a blast. The comedians and the magician were just OK. Musicians in the lounges/on deck were good.
Enrichment Speaker: Great speaker with a Brit's sense of humor. His four presentations on ships (pirates, sinkings, general interest) were very well attended.
Ports: Cape Canaveral: Did not do the theme parks because there would not be enough time in the parks (around six hours) and it was Spring break week with long lines. Took the ship's shuttle to Cocoa Beach. This was well worth the $12; families could negotiate a better rate with individual van drivers. CVS/Walgreen's and Ron Jon a short walk from shuttle drop off. Rented a beach umbrella for $10. Passengers who took the more-inclusive Kennedy Space Center tour enjoyed it.
Key West: Took a tram ride (not ship's tour) for $25. Picked up coupons for BOGO drinks at various bars; had chocolate-covered key lime pie at Kermit's. KW is a short stop because the ships must clear out prior to sunset (the big event at Mallory Square). Would have loved a late-night departure from this fun town.
Nassau: Much cleaner than I anticipated. Easy to walk around. Took a non-ship van tour of the island for $20 - I did this @ 1:00 p.m. (morning rush was over) and negotiated the price down. Had 30-45 minutes in Atlantis; limited access to property but just enough to get an understanding of what it has to offer - lots.
Coco Cay: Private island (tender usage) - found a shady spot with a hammock on the far side of the island. Only one ship so only one food area open; but there was lots of food with little wait. In the area that I 'hammocked', the low tide exposed a large area of mud. The last jet-ski trip was cancelled as a result. Water was choppy and folks mentioned that the glass-bottom boat trip was more adventurous than anticipated.
Disembarkation: Diamond and above levels were early off the ship (after express) and our luggage was located in a separate hall - very easy to find. Baltimore is great.
As a solo traveller, I had a fun time. Met so many nice folks - passengers hailed from eighteen countries on this cruise - and participated in many activities with them.
Would return if RCCL would modify it's smoking policy to mimic Celebrity or Azamara's. Less
Cabin review: Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony
Cabin #7054 was a good selection - about half way between elevators. Roomy (especially for a solo traveler). Quiet,no sewer smells. Would have like brighter lighting in bathroom and over bed (easier to read at night).
I believe the cabins near the Centrum would be noisy because of the nightly music and activities there. On Deck 7 the noise was evident in the hallway a fair way back from the atrium.