First of all, we thought the embarkation process was a dream out of Baltimore. We stayed over the night prior at Hyatt Place and it was fantastic. They shuttled us to the pier at a cost of $5 each.
Everything was clean, organized and quickly processed at the pier. I think it was approx 45 minutes from the time we left the hotel until we were on the ship.
The ship was a great size. Very easy to navigate and a ton of windows everywhere we went. Our cabin was small (our first time in an inside cabin) we had mixed opinions on that, it was fine for me, but my husband was bothered by no window. The cabin itself had tons of storage. I was impressed with how much storage it really had. The bathroom was small, but not a big difference from other lines.
Our cabin steward, Ling, was terrific. He did a great job, we hardly ever say him , but our room was always very tidy and he did leave us some towel animals, which was fun.
The dining room was nice. Our service was terrific we had Elvia as our waitress and Alex as our asst waiter and they were not only efficient, but very friendly as well. The food in the dining room gets mixed reviews as well. The appetizers were great as were the soups. The entrees were decent, but not outstanding and the desserts were limited and not too interesting. Never had a cruise where they didn't offer cheesecake either. The buffet - my husband really enjoyed the Indian and Asian food, but neither are my favorites so I stuck to the other items which in my opinion were too varied and none were very good. Maybe less variety and better quality would be the way to go. Again, desserts were...eh. I did think the service in the Windjammer was very good though compared to other cruises I have been on. Also a lot of choices for drinks compared to other cruises (non alcoholic in the buffet area). There is soft serve ice cream available quite often, which was nice.
The pool area was roomy, but also seemed a little cluttered to me. Lots of stuff going on there - expansion bridges, a ton of deck chairs, covered hot tubs, sprinkler area for the kids. 1 pool is salt water and one was fresh water. We had a ton of kids on board and I don't think the parents were doing too good of a job keeping and eye on the kids. The Solarium pool would have been an option, but it was too HOT! As noted on previous reviews - they did not retract the retractable cover although the weather was nice and it was HOT outside.
Lots of entertainment - but 2 comedians, 2 short shows with the dancers - not a big variety. They did offer a couple of movies - but at least one of them you could watch in your cabin. They did have Karaoke, but the lounge was too small and the karaoke only lasted about an hour.
The most disappointing thing was that we left Bermuda early due to Hurricane Katia. I understand that we needed to go, but I wish they would have told us the day prior that it was a possibility - we would have planned our time out differently. We left Bermuda without doing the stuff we really wanted to do. The Norwegian Dawn was in port next to our ship and they did hear that they might have to leave a day early. I heard we left some golfers behind that left early in the morning.
The ship seemed attended to, but lacked something. Our last cruise was on Crown Princess and it was much nicer, as were the Holland American ships we were on and the Costa Victoria. I think I expected nicer from Royal Caribbean. It still was nice, but just not as nice as some others.
I do feel as though we got good value for the money we spent on this cruise. But I think I would rather have spent a little more and received a little more. Next time I think we may stay with Princess or Holland America.