My husband and I took this cruise in December for our honeymoon. We had never been on a cruise before this and we were not quite sure what to expect. Let me say, we were hooked as soon as we got on the ship! Starting from the beginning.
Embarkation was super easy and quick. We read what to expect ahead of time but we found the process to be painless and rather quick. We got to the port around 11 that morning and were on board within 30 minutes. Once through the port, we were directed to a number of tables where we could make reservations. Because I like to be prepared, we made our reservations before leaving home for Chops and our mytime dining times. We found our daily dining time (that we chose) was not really set in stone and we were able to change our dining times a couple of times throughout the week to better fit our plans. Once on board, I realized that I needed something that was in my checked luggage and panicked. I went to customer service and they did everything they could to help me with my dilemma! It was amazing because what could have started the trip out on a sour note was easily taken care of by the staff on board. We explored the ship and were amazed by all of the amenities. We stopped at the bar and had an amazing frozen mojito (which would become my go to drink throughout the week) that was surprisingly less expensive than a drink where we're from (we live in the metro DC area). We were able to get into our rooms after 1:30ish and were pleasantly surprised-with how small it was! We realized that that was fairly standard and something to be expected on a cruise ship unless you're in a suite. We thought the interior was very nicely decorated and when we got our luggage were able to put everything away in its place. We definitely over packed but we now know this for future cruises. The safety drill was short and painless and we were soon leaving Miami.
We had another great experience with service and that was from our wonderful cabin steward! He was amazing the entire week so much so that we left him an additional tip outside of the amount suggested by the cruise. On the first day I asked if we could have robes ( I didn't realize they were for passengers that were high members of Crown and Anchor) and he informed me that they were typically set aside for return passengers and people in suites. He told me he would see if there were any additional and would try to help us. I told him to not worry, that I didn't know and it wasn't that big of deal. We went to dinner and when we returned there were two robes for us. That is the kind of thing that will have me coming back again and again to Royal Caribbean. I really cannot speak highly enough of our cabin steward!
Our first night in the dining room was a little rough because we wanted a better seat (couldn't hurt to ask!). Luckily, we were obliged on the following days by being seated by one of the windows so we could look out at the water. Fabulous! Our wait staff was amazing! The head waiter and assistant were super attentive and we loved them. Whenever I wasn't sure about something on the menu, our waiter would simply bring us the options I was considering so I could try them. We never felt rushed to leave or anything and the food all came out hot and quick! Well done!
We never had any issues with finding seats around the pool and I like that you have to exchange your towel to help cut down on people holding chairs for phantom people. The poolside entertainment was great; the cruise director staff was unbelievably good! There were also plenty of seats around the running track if the pool was too crowded. The gym was wonderful (we had every intention of working out except I forgot my workout clothing!) and the cardio machines provided a great view of the water while working out. We ate in the Windjammer everyday for breakfast or lunch (while we were on the ship) and I made it my mission to eat dessert whenever it was offered (I definitely gained 10 pounds on our honeymoon!). Some of the desserts ranged from excellent to okay but that's to be expected when it's mass produced. I'm not as much of a foodie as my husband is but we were always able to find something we enjoyed. I'm more of a stickler for service and we had no complaints, whatsoever. We also ate at one of the specialty restaurants and it was superb. The service was excellent and the meal was delicious! Besides, where can you get a 3-4 course meal at a steakhouse in the US for $50? Well worth the money and I would definitely recommend it!
We used the amenities but didn't try the rock wall or florider. I was afraid of wiping out in front of everyone on the florider and I lack upper body strength for the rock wall. We participated in the various trivia games they set up around the ship, gambled, and utilized the quiet areas. The CD was hilarious! We loved the Love and Marriage Game and were bummed that we missed Quest because we were exhausted-we're definitely not missing Quest on our next cruise because the highlights looked hysterical!
The ports were great and we did two ship planned excursions in Costa Maya and had one planned in Georgetown. Our only observation was that Belize City was definitely a port that needed an excursion-our oversight. We explored outside the "gate" in Belize City and eventually tendered back to the ship early. Cozumel was great because we just went to the beach. I think we paid $12-15 for a cab to and from the beach. Once at the beach club, I think it cost $2-5 for the chair rentals. Not too bad since we just wanted to relax. I never felt bombarded by vendors or anything and we enjoyed our wait service at the beach club. Great prices and awesome guac!
The water was really bumpy one night which prevented us from stopping in Grand Cayman the following day because the port was closed. No worries though because the CD staff went into overdrive planning activities for passengers to do during our unplanned day at sea.
I'm not sure if I missed anything but it was just a wonderful cruise and an experience that has made us cruisers for life. So much so, that I'm hesitant to try any other cruise line now and we're already booked for our next cruise to the Mediterranean. We would definitely recommend this ship and cruise line to anyone that places service and overall experience over all else. While there are cruise lines that may have comparable ships at a lower cost, we wouldn't sacrifice the service and amenities we experienced for that reason.