We recently returned from an 18 night cruise from Barcelona to Dubai. We chose the cruise primarily because of the itinerary. We have cruised with Royal Caribbean before, and found it below the quality of lines such as Celebrity. In addition, I had read several negative reviews just prior to cruising, so we had some trepidation as to what our experience would be.
We were pleasantly surprised with the quality of everything on the cruise, and the obvious effort all staff are making to ensure a pleasurable cruise.
Because we booked fairly late, we were only able to secure an outside cabin (no balcony). However, it was well designed, with adequate storage space for the three of us (our daughter accompanied us). We checked in early, were able to obtain our seapass with no wait, and returned to sightsee in Barcelona until just before sail time.
We found we had made it off the wait list and were able to enjoy "my time dining".
The transit through the Suez canal was a highlight, and we enjoyed the captain's commentary. The captain was one of the best we've ever had. He was able to strike the fine balance between the superegos we've sometimes encountered and those who feel they have to moonlight as the main comedian.
The overnight stop at Petra allowed us to book an independent tour to Wadi Rum and Petra, with an overnight at the Movenpick hotel there, so we were able to enjoy "Petra by night" as well as being able to see much of Petra the next day before the tour buses arrived.
The food was better than I expected. Drinks were reasonable. There was a nice range of daily activities. The shows were hit and miss, but since our nightly cost was less than tickets to a Broadway show, who could complain?
We would definitely recommend this cruise.