We traveled with our family since it was our 40th wedding anniversary. This included my son and his wife (their 15 mo old son) and my daughter and her husband. Everyone had cruised before but my daughter-in-law and my grandson.
We flew in the night before with Delta and there wasn't any problems. Taxi to the Embassy Suites on 17th St. My family loved this hotel. My daughter & her husband had been there for the manager's reception and enjoyed the free drinks.
We decided to eat at the hotel since it was late and way past my grandson's bed time. The food was actually better than most hotel food but pricey. My daughter-in-law loved the 2 room suites. This gave them a bedroom and the crib was put in the living room area. The only problem was when I requested the crib when I made the reservations, I confirmed 3 days before arrival, and asked it to be put in the room when we arrived. When we got back from dinner it still wasn't there. I am on vacation, it is late, I am tired and don't feel like tearing into the staff for incompentantcy. Come to find out they delivered it to the wrong room!
We took a taxi to the port we had arranged with the cab driver from the night before. This must be very competitive, we were confronted by the hotel staff when we went to exit and wanted to know what we were paying! None of their business, it is free enterprise! The cab driver took the 7 of us and our luggage to the port for $20! The hotel wanted $6. per person. You do the math!
Checked in very quickly, we had a Jr suite and I had taken care of all the reservations, so they let us check in together. We were there maybe 15 minutes for the 7 of us. We entered in the promenade area and stopped at the pub and hung out there until lunch. We went to the Park Cafe and had the roast beef sandwiches, they are good. But this area is crowded, noisy and no trays to carry your food!
We then took our thing up to our rooms and the rooms were nice. This is the 1st time we had a Jr Suite and with the family with us we were very glad we did. We hung out there on several occasions, kept the grandson a couple of nights and bathed him in the tub! It was definitely worth the extra money. Our room steward was great!
We ate mostly in the main dining room. The first night was a circus. Problem being the Royal Babies Program is not available the first night! A 15 mo old can not do the dining room. Most children can not sit through a 5 course, 2 hr meal. The first night I talked to the dining room mgr. Sat for 40 minutes with no water, wine serve or assistance with the baby. The dining room mgr assured me they would have their act together the second night and he did deliver. I thought the food was better than average.
We did the Chef's table and loved it! It is definitely worth the money! We actually tipped extra due to the excellent service! And this is not the norm for us. The wine flowed freely just like everyone talks about, the food was great and the company was very nice. Yes, I would do it again. I would just have to make sure it was a different menu.
The ship is huge. The water in the hot tubs and pools were way too much chlorine. My eyes burned even without getting water in them just the fumes.
The ship is way too permissive with the smoking than any other ship I have been on. The Casino is a joke. The bar is in the middle and they are allowed to smoke. There are no walls or ventilation systems. It is unbearable! They smoke in the pool area, balcony everywhere!
I shops were probably the worst I have seen. No bargains not even the liquor.
The different neighborhoods are not air conditioned and very close & hot. We did not spend very much time there because it was so hot!
The only place you can get cook to order eggs is the dining room. They give you a restaurant guide when you get on board, this describes which dining rooms charge and which don't. You need to keep this the week so you know how to get around. We usually enjoy Johnny Rockets however this one was greasy and was not worth the extra money. Go the the Cafe by the flow rider, they have great burgers for nothing.
The Diamond Club has been drastically downsized. You have to swipe your card to get in (even with a bouncer at the door) You have been put off the side of the sixth floor. Not even a room but a balcony off the promenade. If you have a Suite or you are a Diamond Plus you get the concierge lounge access. This is where RCCL has decided to put their money. It is looking over Central Park and is a beautiful lounge. The only reason we saw it was due to the Chef's Dinner. We were not invited to any repeaters party and Diamond Pary and all the other previous cruises. Is this another RCCL cut!?
The Royal Babies is top notch. The staff and facilities is great! The problem is 1.) they are not open the 1st night 2.) They charge $8./hr. I paid $842 for my 15 mo old grandson. Just what is this paying for?? He slept in the Pack N Play. They should give cruisers 20hr free and then charge if the cruiser wants more.
My husband & I went to all the shows. The aqua show and Ariel show was top notch. The rest were good just not out of this world like the other two. Making reservations for most the shows is necessary if you don't like waiting in line. We did and everything went well.
Overall my family enjoyed the cruise. Would we go back on the Oasis class ship? No, it is just not for us. The service, facilities and food is better on the Freedom class ships.