This was our third year in a row taking a cruise during Thanksgiving week, with the first two times being on Princess. Although we were happy with Princess and it was the same itinerary on the Mexican Riviera, we wanted to try another cruise line. We were quite looking forward to the trip as we had splurged and reserved a premium balcony suite.
We were pleasantly surprised that we had a special check-in line that allowed us to bypass the hour-long line for regular check-in. Entering the suite, 8th deck, suite 8506, the room was pleasant enough. By cruise standards, the room was large, approximately 350 sq feet with more than enough closet space. The bathroom was a normal, full-size size with a full shower tub. The other first impression upon entering the room was that the view through the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door was wonderful but the glass was filthy. The balcony was also quite spacious and had a table with two chairs and two padded lounge chairs. Again the glass balcony panels were quite dirty. The first 15 minutes were spent cleaning the windows. The carpeting was a little worn and the bed not particularly comfy but good enough. Although we embarked at 1:30, we didn't received our luggage until 6:30.
As we looked at the "Compass" detailing the available activities for the first day of the cruise, we noticed that there did not appear to be any movies showing that night. We had enjoyed this feature on Princess, and assumed that it would be standard on RCL. We soon learned that RCL does not show movies in an auditorium, but were nonetheless pleased to see that our suite was equipped with both a VCR and a DVD player connected to the TV. We then went to the purser's desk to find out where videos and DVD's could be rented. Believe it or not, we were told that there was no such service on board. Instead, the woman at the purser's desk looked genuinely surprised and commented on what a great idea that would be.