We stayed at the Cambria Suites the night before and it was great because they offered free shuttle service to and from both the airport and cruise port. There is also a "mall" nearby if you forget something (like my bf did). And if you get hungry at night, there is food (although some of it isn't that good).
Our Room-We stayed in 11629 (Central Park Balcony) which we thought would be a great room since there was no one on the other side of us. At first, we realized it was even better because the balcony was twice the size for the same price. Then we realized why they gave you a bigger balcony. It's a terribly noisy room! I'm a heavy sleeper and not one to complain about noise, but this was awful. We were right next to some sort of room service place where they brought the dirty dishes and not only were they loud in that room, but they were loud coming down the hallway. You'd constantly hear big bangs and the dishwasher running and it was just noisy. The room was also awkward because when you walk on the balcony, there are people right across from you which I did not like. You are also constantly looking at the same thing and while it's pretty, it gets boring and we did not use it that much. If we had to do it over, I would have just stuck with an inside or gone with an oceanview balcony.
MDR-food was decent. I'm a picky eater so the food choices weren't that great, but if you've sailed RCI before, it's pretty much the same.
Rita's Cantina-The menu wasn't very large, but you definitely get what you pay for. We went for the lunch and paid $8 a person and you're allowed to get an appetizer, entree, and dessert. The waiter told us just to start with an appetizer because some were big and thank goodness we did! I only ate half my appetizer and was full so it was definitely worth the money.
Chops-As usual, the food was excellent. I would definitely book this restaurant.
Giovanni's-Once again, definitely get what you pay for. We did lunch for this too, and while I don't really like Italian food, it was pretty good. It is a lot of food though so If i did it again, I would do the dinner.
Samba Grill-So filling! They bring out 9 different types of meat but you also get an appetizer so it's so much food. Normally, your plate starts off full and winds up empty, but mine did the opposite! They also have this cool light you change when you're ready for different courses so it makes the meal a bit more fun.
Izumi's-My boyfriend and I both sushi, but he would not do this again. I might, but I wasn't too crazy about it. He got a beef rock skewer which was cool because they give you raw meat and you cook it yourself on a volcanic rock so it's definitely unique.
150 Central Park-did not eat there since it was expensive and more for older people.
Boardwalk Dog House-Ate lunch there almost every day, but the people there were rude at times like they didn't want to be there. This was the only place we experienced bad service.
Wiindjammer-Buffet, same as usual. The Assistant Waiters come around and ask you if you want drinks and are very nice and try and help you find seats when busy.
Sorrento's-They have make your own pizza and then regular pizza. The only thing that I didn't like was the line gets really long after shows get out and the Windjammer is closed.
Cafe Promenade-Same as on the other RCI ships. The line got long here too and they didn't have much to eat.
Solarium Bistro-Weird. The food is supposed to be healthier, but it was terrible and not ordinary. We ate there the first day and that was it.
Wipeout Cafe-Where the ice cream is! There are other machines by the pool, but there is one here which most people don't realize. There's also hot dogs and burgers and stuff which are pretty good.
Cupcake Cupboard-I heard how terrible the cupcakes were and had to see for myself. It is true-they're terrible. Definitely not worth the 2.50 we paid for the cupcake.
Park Cafe-Not a lot of options. Ate there once and got a salad.
Room Attendant-Fabulous! We got on the ship and he introduced himself and we told him we were still waiting on 2 bags, but it was whatever because we were in no rush. Not even 5 minutes later, he comes back with the two bags. He also got us extra hangers and a cruise compass I had lost. He was very personable and you can sit and have a conversation with him.
MDR-Our assistant waiter was always smiling! She was always generally happy to serve you and be there. She was also on top of the drinks and our glasses never went empty. The waiter was shy at first, but he opened up a bit as the cruise progressed. The head waiter also did more than any other head waiter I have ever had. Most of the time they come around and introduce themselves then come back for tips, but she collected food, and served food, and everything. We even saw her at Izumi's the one night and she remembered us from dinner and the next day she came up to our table to ask how everything was at Izumi's. She definitely earned her tip.
Specialties-The service was beyond excellent and all the waiters were really funny and personable. The only place we had a problem with the waiter was Samba Grill. It seemed like he just kind of forgot about us and both my drinks went empty, but then the hostess said something to him. The meat servers were very nice and funny though.
General-Everyone is so nice on the ship! One bartender sat and talked to us for a long time and went the extra mile to decorate our drinks which no other bartender did the whole cruise. Also, my bf was getting food at Sorrento's and he had his hands full, so one of the guys helped him carry the food to the table which I have never seen before on a cruise.
Oceanaria-No story line, but very cool to see. Get there early though as seats fill up fast.
Chicago-I'm really into musicals and dance and stuff, but this wasn't that good. I've seen the movie a lot, but this seemed to drag a bit.
Comedy-They had 2 comedians, but one of them we had seen last year on the Explorer and he had all the same jokes which kind of sucked, but the other guy was really good.
Blue Planet-The cast wasn't very good, and I expected more from the show. It was okay, but they still have a lot of work to do. It was a new cast.
Ice Games-Interesting. They use monopoly to take you places around the ship which is really cool. And the timing was perfect for it. Good for all ages.
Headliner-We had adbacadabra as our headliner and I loved it! They were an ABBA tribute band and we had to leave early one night for quest, so we went back the next day to finish it. Even my bf liked it!
Book beforehand! Shows, definitely. They get full really fast. If you don't get in, they put you on waitlist, but you won't always get in. Specialties are cheaper if you book beforehand, but you feel too scheduled. We thought our lunch times were awkward (1pm) and wished we hadn't booked them for that time.
If you're thinking of getting an inside balcony, do boardwalk view. You can see the aquatheater from there and watch all the different shows from your balcony.
There are a lot of "hidden" places on the ship (sun deck, track, etc.) so go exploring.
Also, do Eastern Caribbean. Western ports were terrible and we found we did not have much to do on the islands so did not spend much time off the ship.
In all, I would do this ship again, but change some things around. We had a great time and while some say it is a one time only ship, I believe it can't be done too often because you do get sick of it.