This is an exceptionally large and well-appointed ship that must have something for everyone. However her size makes crowds and queues inevitable.
Our cabin was the largest we have experienced and being near the forward lift shaft, the quietest any time at sea. The balcony was large and protected enough on which to relax and sunbathe.
The Ship's Company is very happy and this comes over in their good attitude towards passengers.
The gym is the largest I have ever been in with some equipment that I have never seen shore side.
Embarkation in Southampton was delayed firstly by an ABP computer crash but more worryingly because of a deep clean that was required because a number of passengers (understood to be in the 100s) suffered Novovirus on previous cruises. Embarkation was the first time that RCI had mentioned this (to us)so feel we should have been given the option to cancel. During the cruise, it is unacceptable to breath in fumes in gangways from cabins being disinfected under pressure.
However there were antiseptic gel dispensers everywhere and all were persuaded to use them regularly, particularly on entering food areas.
Passengers are always blamed for bringing novo virus on board but as this problem seems ongoing on IOTS, it seems to me that it could well be a caused within the Ships Company.
Biggest disappointment was food choice and quality. Menus were uninteresting and uninspiring, the worst of any Cruise Company we have used so far and well below the standard of food on a previous RCI cruise. (Serenade of the Seas)
However the main dining rooms were stunning with good service although it is obvious that costs have been cut here also by reduction in staff numbers.
Our bar bill was the lowest in 18 years of cruising because of the unreasonable high drinks prices. RCI must take note that we do not have to pay such prices and can choose not to drink. Their accountants should realise that it is better to make $10 on a bottle of wine that I do purchase than to make nothing at all.
We enjoyed our cruise but because of the poor food choice, will hesitate to use RCI again unless we receive some form of positive response to our on board survey.