This was our 8th cruise and first on RCI. We were excited by the prospect of trying RCI after many friends and family thought it great and especially based on those who have been on the Oasis. First let me premise by saying, I wish I hadn't spent so much time looking at each and every picture that had been posted and the You Tube videos showing every feature. I would have so much liked to see the various decks for the first time on the cruise itself. Here is a run down of highlights of the ship. The ports were inconsequentual to us as we have been to them before and the ship was really our destination.
Cabin - D1 Category:
Since we love to hang out on the balcony, including having breakfast and late afternoon relaxation and snacks we chose a D1 oceanview superior balcony. We chose this category because it offered a larger balcony and we had no interest in the boardwalk or Central Park balcony as we love the sound of the ocean and the ocean breeze. Plus after being on the ship, I dont see how anyone would get any privacy in an interior balcony. I do regret booking a D1 though because there was no real advantage of a larger balcony when there are no lounge chairs or footstools to fill the space a bit. Plus our biggest disappointment was that the room service breakfast menu was so limited that we never ordered it.
We loved Chicago (although felt the young woman who played the Roxie role was a bit weak), loved the diving show and enjoyed the Motown headliners. I know everyone is wowed by Blue Planet and although lovely backdrop and choice of songs are, we found it a bit cheesy (sorry). The Comedy Show was more annoying than bad, didnt find it funny at all. Since when is it funny to talk about "wooping your kids?" We saw the end of the ice skating show which looked good. We booked all the shows well in advance and my only complaint about this requirement and the need to book specialty restaurants in advance too is that we felt a bit too scheduled during the week.
Because of the demographics and this also being a very family friendly cruise ship and line, the activities were fun and abundant. Thought the 70s night was a hoot, Grease Sing along in the Aqua Theatre so much fun, watching the belly flop competition a riot too. On the other hand, being in our mid 50's and without our children or grandchildren, the Dreamworks stuff held no interest adn was a big focus.
I did a pretty thorough review of the specialty restaurants on the Allure theads so wont repeat myself but....with all the offerings of complimentary restaurants like the Solarium, Park Cafe and wonderful specialty experiences like Chops and the Chef's Table I would never eat in the MDR again. The MDR felt like a banquet hall, that was hectic and the food just average. Boo hoo though we ran out of time and so wanted to try Vintages.
We loved the Champagne Bar, classy with wonderful service and drinks and nice touches like canapes before dinner and chocolate covered strawberries in the evening. Would have loved Boleros as the music was awesome but it was a smoking bar and the place reeked! We left within minutes.
WOO HOO!!! Was able to have my daily grande non-fat lattes rather than setting for average coffee.
And Celebrity thinks they have the upper hand here. Mmm. Sure Celebrity provides you with nice cool washclothes when you return from a port, had hot chocolate on deck in Alaska and RCI didnt have these small added touches. But the RCI staff we met, from the cabin steward to the waiters in the specialty restaurants to the salesguy in the store were all great. The only weird thing we found was that it is clear they are all equally trained in customer service. All staff we met either initiated or engaged us in mega conversation. My only comment is that they need to also learn when to back off. We found several of the staff wanting to talk and talk and talk while we wanted some alone time. Didn't want to be rude so endured a history lesson by one as an example.
Interesting how the non-smoking side of the ship has better loungers and umbrellas and is full yet the smoking side always had more availability. I also found that they squish those loungers together a bit too close for comfort for me and no way to exit the front rows without squeezing through others people's space. Pools were great and cannot wait to take our grandchildren to that awesome children's pool area.
Overall the absolute best cruise experience we have had by far. I must say Central Park by day and by night was one of the most magical places I have ever seen on any cruise line. I cannot wait to go again.