Flew overnight from Manchester arriving in Dubai at 7am. Had breakfast, spent time in duty free in airport then got taxi to port at 11am. Watched our cases and hand luggage go through security check and walked straight on ship at 11.20am
Are Diamond Members in loyalty Crown and Anchor . Been on sister ship Jewel of Seas so knew layout.
At noon went to Windjammer for lunch and then to cabin at 1pm. Knowing the ship I had chosen cabin 9256. Aft [rear] corner with extremely large balcony with 2 sunbeds, 2 chairs and table...tremendous!
One or two signs that ship is ageing but nothing serious.
Had chosen 2nd seating for dinner and found that on this cruise that meant 9pm.
For first night we were too tired due to flight and had early meal in Windjammer. Night 2 went to dining room and met our table companions. They mentioned that it finished quite late previous night. Waiter took our order , and we waited. I had ordered 2 bottles of wine but waiters could not find order. Serving was pretty chaotic eg I asked for a roll 3 times before I got one. This was first formal night, with fillet steak[small] with 3 mushrooms, 2 asparagus tips, small quantity mash. Deserts were terrible. I left dining room at 11.15 pm before coffee was served, and could have eaten more. Our first RCI cruise was on Enchantment of the Seas in 1996 with silver service in dining room with plentiful wonderful food. How things have changed!
Due to chaos and quantity of food we decided to book Portofino for 2 nights, and went to other casual eating venues on others. Just done our own thing and enjoyed.
The staff throughout ship were pleasant and helpful.
In Oman,due to the way ship docked, for 2 full days we had sunshine on balcony. Went a walk into town. In Abu Dhabi got free shuttlebus to Marina Mall.In Dubai went to Burj al Arab [booked ourselves] for afternoon tea..all 8 courses. What an event. You have to book in advance and there is a minimum spend.
Entertainment on ship was magic act, latin dancers, female singer and groups throughout lounges to acceptable level. English, blonde female Cruise Director who asked passenger's to say to her when they seen her 'Hello my lovely'....right.
At end of cruise we were heading to Abu Dhabi so took our time getting off ship without a problem.
Overall we had a pleasant cruise but each year the standards are falling and are now asking ourselves if the benefits of the loyalty programme with RCI are worth staying with them.