After a night in a Newark airport hotel, the Renaissance - very good excellent breakfast, we were picked up very efficiently by RCI and transported to the port. There then was what I can only really describe as a cattle market scene as passengers were herded onto the ship via a very long que and a tight squeeze on a cattle truck/shuttle bus.
Once aboard however we were treated to a wonderful experience for the most part. We watched the sail away from Dizzy's Bar on deck 14. Missed our early seating in the MDR due to technical difficulties and the cocktail of the day. Missing our seating in the MDR was to be a theme of the cruise we made it once in 11 nights!!!!! Grub in the Windjammer was excellent with the Mongolian Stir fry a highlight and the Key lime Pie!!!!
Our cabin on deck 8 was very acceptable and our attendant very attentive indeed.All areas of the ship were cleaned to a high standard at all times. All the bar stewards / waiters were very kind and helpful. The Royal Promenade was a joy to behold and the coffee in the Cafe and indeed throughout the ship was fine and indeed very good if you were lucky enough to get a fresh brew!!
On the MDR the second night was a dreaded 'Formal' and everything seemed very stuffy and S L O W and on reflection the food was no better with less variety than you could get in the Windjammer. Throughout the cruise we heard horror stories of people waiting 30 mins and more between courses. We avoided!!! Oh and portion sizes were small in the MDR although you could order the whole menu apparently if you wanted at one sitting.
On the first full sea day we were greeted with a queue the whole length of the Royal Promenade on finally finding out that they were for the ice shows we decided not to bother only to learn afterwards that this was the only opportunity to get tickets for both the shows. Hey ho!!!!
A lot of the entertainment was a bit Butlins on Sea but the shows in the theatre were of a reasonable standard.
It would appear that they are very into trying to flog stuff all the time. We went to a talk about St Martin only for some bloke to go on and on about what shops to buy diamonds and stuff in and only to use 'approved' shops which we think were RCI shops or ones that fell under their wider corporate umbrella. Bit of a con but hey ho.
The Royal Prom turned into a jumble sale of various descriptions each evening.I watched from the comfort of the Crown & Kettle pub where the craic was good but the entertainer (if that's what he was)was dire.
All in all a great 11 nights very enjoyable. Great parades,friendly people,good service with a smile.