This 4,200 passenger ship was new territory for us, a 50+ childless couple. The few niggles are far outweighed by the many good innovations on this ship, but are still an annoyance nevertheless, and God help parents taking 2/3 children on a cruise like this (costwise)if for more than the 5 days length as this was.
Plusses - Good organisation on embarkation and disembarkation. Unusually good and helpful guest services desk. Decent sized stateroom with effective shower in bathroom, reasonable hairdryer, lots of little storage areas for smaller items, large sofa opposite television. Quality of food excellent, however, sometimes not always enough choice at dinner,even for a not 'fussy' eater. Staff across all areas seemed friendly and helpful. GREAT choice of entertainment and not always in a theatre venue ie: Ice show, Promenade parade, Dancing in the Street event. Lots of interests for youngsters of all ages.
Negatives - Never ending opportunities for extra charges ie: Ice cream/pizza/cup cake parlour, tattoos etc not to mention Flow rider/Rock climbing. Don't expect to be able to make lots of Internet usage. On the few occasions we managed to get connected the system often went down, and made it hard to work out how much we'd spent. Our intermittent 30 minutes was billed at $245 (but in fairness was refunded when challenged. REMEMBER TO CHECK YOUR STATEMENT REGULARLY).
Several people we spoke to agreed that it would have been better to stay longer in Rome and have an alternative stop to Cagliari, which was a big disappointment. The lady on the excusion desk was not very knowledgeable about this port, so not able to advise on where beach was or how to get there. Consequently the day was wasted apart from a nice traditional lunch in a small restaurant we found by chance off main street area.
In conclusion, RCI seem to try very hard to provide something for everyone, but the sheer size of this ship makes it difficult to work out when and where things are happening. It is ideal for keeping the kids out of mischief, and has many new and exciting areas, but the extras may make this an expensive cruise for parents.
Whilst the My Time dining option can be very useful, the consequential tipping procedure is a little confusing. It was good to be able to request a particular dining time on-line prior to the cruise.
Only 2 small soaps and shampoo in a wall dispenser in shower provided.
Drinks are expensive and the addition of VAT to items in the retail outlets raised costs of most items bought.
As we didn't get onboard for a shopping trip we would consider trying RCI again, but on a smaller ship. Service, staterooms, food and entertainment were enough to maybe tempt us back.