We flew from Newcastle airport to Palma de Mallorca to board the ship, good flight but unfortunately the problems started once we reached Palma. We got our luggage fairly quickly so headed outside to find our transfer coach to the Cruise Termnial, this was where we found out that the Travel Agent hadn't sent us out the transfer vouchers (next time I will not book with them as so incompetent, must have spent a small fortune on phone calls) luckily after a short wait they found our names on their files and we were allowed onto the coach and on our way.
Arriving at the Cruise Termnial (bearing in mind I didn't know what to expect, first cruise and all) I was quite disappointed to see it was just a big shed? Then of course I noticed the queues, we queued for over an hour to check in as so many people had checked in online yet hadn't brought the paperwork with them or left the credit card there were setting up their Seapass account with at home!
By the time we boarded the ship it was 1:30pm and we were told the cabins were ready, we were on deck 3 and since we embarked on deck 1 it was just a quick walk up the stairs instead of squeezing into a lift (some people just don't seem to realise you can only fit so many people in one lift!). The cabin (3029) was definately small so I think next time I will think about paying a bit more to have some more space (especially in the bathroom) but it was clean and that's the main thing. Our steward Nicolas introduced himself and that was the last we saw of him but he did a good job of keeping everything tidy. We had one big complaint in that before we travelled we had emailed the special requests department to get a fridge as we have medication which must be kept in a fridge and had a confirmation saying this would be provided yet no fridge in the cabin, after 3 days of constant complaining we finally got a fridge but this was seriously bad customer service.
The food throughout the cruise was good to us, a couple of times things could have been warmer slightly fresher etc. We had MyTime Dining which worked out fine for us and we generally went every night between 6:30pm and 7pm so ended up having the same waiters Marina and Elmond who were brilliant and also had the same couple on the table next to us every night (from Scarborough) who were great company. For me the great thing in the MDR was they didn't mind slightly changing the meal for you i.e. different potatoes or leaving some things off the plate if you didn't like them. The food in the Windjammer was also very good with a lot of choice but there is defiantely a problem with seating, just too many people all wanting to eat at the same time.
We were quite impressed by the ship and the crew, a few minor niggles but not enough to ruin a holiday. It would have been nice to have some more options for dinner but according to a member of crew when the ship is drydocked next year she is getting a steakhouse so that will be that problem solved. The ship was clean everywhere we looked but then we're not the type of people who go looking for problems, we prefer to enjoy the holiday!
There could have been some more activities available in the evening this seemed to be the only letdown for us as most of the entertainment finished by 10:30pm after this there was really only a guy singing and playing the piano in the Schooner Bar and he wasn't that good :( The highlight on the entertainment had to be the Love & Marriage Game Show this was just so funny especially the couple from Carlisle they were brilliant!
We had been looking forward to the ports but the only one we really enjoyed was Gibraltar so we were the opposite of nearly every other passenger onboard, having already done Barcelona we just wandered around and didn't take any excursions in any of the ports. Always remember that the shuttle buses that the ports run are much cheaper than RCI's shuttles and take you to exactly the same place.
When it was time to disembark we waited in one of the lounges but then they just decided to call everyone after 8:15am all together so there were hundreds of people leaving at once. We had the same problems with the shuttle bus back to the airport as we had getting to the termnial but we heard a few others complaining about this as well so it must be a common problem with travel agents
Overall we had a good holiday but there are room for improvements especially with some of the officers on Guest Services as they all seem to have different answers when it comes to sorting out problems. This ship is a nice size to find your way around but I feel it needs some more places to eat and have a drink and definately more space for sunbathing as sea days were a nightmare. I would cruise Royal Caribbean but I think I would like to try other cruise lines first.