My husband and I had cruised before but never with RC. This was our first cruise with our nine year old son as well as our first since 2006.
The staff. They were uber responsive, friendly, professional and a joy to cruise with.
Our room attendant was very friendly and whatever we asked for we got in a quick manner. She always greeted us in our travels in and out of the room and was very sweet to our son (lots of towel creatures greeted him at bedtime).
The cruise director Jimmy was great as was the activities manager, Jacinta. Both were friendly, witty and utterly charming. Owing, I think, to the weather, the Captain was seen a lot on this cruise and he took the time to speak with passengers - young and old. Our son was quite taken with him.
Our waiter and her assistant at dinner were great. They remembered all the little things - my son's liking of grapes but not of honeydew, my husband's Arnold Palmer, my love of ice cream with chocolate sauce. It meant a lot to us and made our dinner quite pleasant.
The entertainment was super. We particularly liked the ice show and the impressionist.
My son ADORED Adventure Ocean - in fact he preferred gong there to being with us. The chant of "I'm bored" was not heard on this trip. We had a slight problem with one of the other children in our son's group that was acted on quickly and thoroughly with great attention to getting the true facts and handling the situation to our satisfaction.
Our fellow passengers. This was a full-to-the-brim family crowd of mostly NY and NJ folk. There was a lot of drinking but no obnoxious drunks. The teens were well behaved and didn't run wild.
The opportunity to try rock wall climbing and in-line skating was a real treat. We enjoyed mini-golfing and ice skating as well.
Dizzy's was a beautiful venue and the Schooner bar was a great place for trivia with super funny and friendly bartenders.
The quiet game rooms (not the arcade) were appreciated.
The communication about Hurricane Irene was super. We never had to wonder what was going on. Despite semi high seas, the ship handled BEAUTIFULLY.
The food. All meals served in the dining room were good but nothing to write home about. We had an opportunity to buy the ship's cook book but the food frankly wasn't good enough to merit it.
The buffet food was awful. Really. There is nothing nice to say about it.
The ship's shops were bland, the goods were pedestrian and the bargains non-existent.
The noise in the arcade (which we had to enter in order to access the Kid's Club, was way too loud.
The "nickel and diming". On past ships we were allowed to bring on bottled water. ON RC we had to buy the water package. The CONSTANT pushing of drinks - 2.50 for fresh squeezed OJ at breakfast, being awakened on deck with the cry for the drink of the day ... etc. Really , it was beyond annoying.
The lack of self serve laundry facilities. 25$ to do a small bag of wash was a rip off - but hey, we got someone else's lacy panties in our return bag so that was cheap thrill.
The photography staff were very good to excellent but the cost for prints was high and the cost of the CD was astronomical.
Our dinner companions. This is not RC's fault but there must be some way to match people better. Our initial table mates didn't speak a work of English so we switched and were placed at a table for ten. When we did switch, we were paired with a taciturn group of seen who already knew one another and who, I fear, regarded us as intruders in their group. Not wanting to switch a third time, we stuck it out. All-in-all it was the only thing that made our cruise less than a happy one.