First time cruise for me and my wife with any cruise line. Had read many reviews before going and was concerned with the negative reviews following the very recent refit. It was a relief that on our cruise we had no significant complaints ... Read More
First time cruise for me and my wife with any cruise line. Had read many reviews before going and was concerned with the negative reviews following the very recent refit. It was a relief that on our cruise we had no significant complaints at all. Embarkation at 11.30am was very quick and easy. Straight up to the Windjammer restaurant for lunch which was welcome after a 4 hour drive to get to Southampton. Cases were outside the room by 1pm. We enjoyed the patriotic sail away party on deck in the sunshine.
First stop was a sunny Rotterdam with great views from the waterway leading into Rotterdam. Went to a large indoor market and enjoyed looking around. Walked back later to the ship with a friendly couple who shared their experiences of cruising with us. It was lovely to watch the sun go down over the sea from the Windjammer restaurant. After a smooth crossing of the North Sea, we woke early at 4am to view the first Fjord going into Olden. Had a walk around Olden in the morning followed by an excursion to the Kjendalen glacier in the afternoon. A very entertaining Italian guide on the coach made it fun. We walked closer to the glacier in warm sunshine and were amazed at the avalanches of snow and ice high up the mountainsides, crashing down with a sound like thunder.
We enjoyed eating in the Sapphire dining room and found the best way to do things was to just turn up at 5.30pm asking for a table near a window and sitting with anyone. We enjoy meeting complete strangers and sharing dinner. We met some very interesting people and had a lot of fun. Evening entertainment was outstandingly good each evening. Very enjoyable. As others have commented, the ice show was excellent and very colourful. Flam was the second port of call and we took the train which we had pre booked as an excursion. Although it was raining throughout the morning and snowing at the stop at the top, we enjoyed the views. We used the gym 3 times during the cruise.
The gym was well equipped with a good view out to sea. Only small criticism was there was only one rowing machine. The changing rooms could do with a spinner to get most of the water out of swimming gear. Most gyms have this. We did not use any of the spa or beauty treatments on offer. Other ports of call were Alesund with wonderful views from the viewing point which we walked up to in the morning. In the afternoon, we enjoyed a tour on a double decker bus with commentary in headphones. Stavanger was the last port. Before we got there the sea was very rough but we didn't get seasick. In Stavanger we spent a couple of hours going around the Petroleum museum which was very interesting. Despite a gale blowing in the North Sea for the return crossing with 20ft waves, we were not seasick at all. The size of the ship is huge and 20ft waves are dwarfed by it so no problem.
The room was fine. Plenty of room in our inside cabin and the advantage of being able to take a sleep during the day with no interfering light from outside. For us, a drinks package was not worthwhile. Yes, the drinks are expensive, but if you have the cocktail of the day for $8.5 instead of $14 you can save money. All the different bottles of wine we had were lovely, even the cheapest ones at $36 a bottle. We chose to do the 'Self Assist' departure procedure for which the information given was misleading and confusing until clarification was made. Basically go to breakfast, leave your suitcases in the room and then walk off the ship when you like. All very straightforward in the end. The staff and service was almost faultless. Would we cruise again with Royal Caribbean? Maybe, maybe not. Will be happy to cruise again sometime and perhaps try another cruise company. Absolutely nothing wrong with the quality of this cruise. Read Less