This was only our second cruise and first trans Atlantic crossing. As it was our Anniversary and my wife's birthday decided for this 14 night cruise so we could spend some romantic time together. Prior to the cruise jumped into the Cruise Critic forum board and really glad we did meet some great people and shared some great times.
Embarkation. Made our own way to the cruise port in San Juan about 12 noon had to man handle our own cases to the porters. Check in was better than expected arrived on board in 42 mins and 30 sec ( sad I know but set the stop watch on my phone ).
Cabin: 7560 had balcony on the Port side. Room spotless but showing the signs of wear ie rust around balcony door, scuffs and scrapes, shower screen had six inch crack and sheets although clean had been repaired. Our cabin steward was superb and always smiling.
Dinning: We had opted to dine early on a table of ten. First night arrived to find we were the only one's there the wait staff we pleasant BUT we pushing the BOTTLES of wine even though we were on a drinks package with free house wine by the glass. We were latter joined by a family with two small children one of which screamed for over 30 mins. We latter approached the Maitre De and asked for a move only to be told that the family weren't on his list for the table just another couple. Therefor a table of ten was for four.
The following night we decided to try the Winjammer and so glad that we did. The assistant waiter Leonardo was a dream couldn't do enough for us never pushy but always around. The food was good ( not a good as on the Princess Cruise ) with plenty of choice. We ate at the Specialty restaurant Portafino's twice during the cruise and enjoyed the food on both occasions.
The best meal of the cruise was at the Cruise Critic Luncheon on the next to the last day really top notch and great service. Have heard since some of those attended were not Cruise Critic members but snook in by the Matrede.
Entertainment: On the whole was okay. The Ice Show superb but only one show in the 14 nights. The temptations tribute group great. The productions shows were good but just good. The Cruise directer Hello Clo was always around and entertaining. We attended the CSI enhancement lecture by Dr Hal which we found enthralling and very interesting.
Bars: Amazed at the number of bars available and being on a free drinks package made visits to most during the trip. Special mention to Illian and Keven at the Schooner Bar this guys were superb and could be earning a fortune in a trendy mainland bar.
Summary: It became apparent that RCI are adopting the Ryan Air approach ie you pay for the cruise but there are a lot of hidden extras ie Starbuck's, Ben & Jerrys, Curry Demonstration, ships tours, etc etc all with an extra cost. Whilst expecting to pay extra for the Specialty restaurants and Theme nights some of the extra costs were unacceptable.
In conclusion: We enjoyed the cruise as a whole, the first four nights and island visits were great. The sea days dragged and the entertainment offered was of a holiday camp order. The all inclusive drinks package was a very welcome bonus and in our opinion not abused by those on it. We didn't see a single drunk. However we did notice a large number of people coughing and sneezing towards the end of the cruise and I came away with a severe chest infection!
Cabin 7560 had a good size balcony on the port side. It was kept clean by the cabin attendant but is showing signs of age. There were rust spots around balcony door, shower screen was cracked and several scuff marks throughout. Did experience slight annoyance with the smell of cigarettes as our neighbors were smokers and used the balcony at all times day and night to snoke.
Opted to visit the local port area for a bit of shopping a lot of road work going on and most of the shops selling the same goods.
Having done some research prior to our visit we opted to visit Maho Beach to watch the planes landing at the nearby airport. Took a local taxi 20$ for two and met up with our Cruise Critic friends at the Beach Bar. Had a great time watching the aircraft and drinking buckets of beer.
Took a full island tour Organised by a cruise critic member great to be out and about after five sea days the islands is superb and our tour guide Pedro very informative.