My wife and I chose this cruise for two reasons, we were celebrating our 10th year anniversary and the ship departed in our home town of Houston. Since this was our first long vacation in a few years and we wanted to splurge without having the kids, we chose to travel in a grand suite. Having been on other cruise lines from Galveston we wanted try Royal for the first time. Being in our early 30’s we also wanted something less appealing than a party ship but also to avoid the high class on upscale cruise ship and older crowds.
The trip overall was wonderful and the staff very friendly with little to no complaints. The ship is very clean and has a fresh appearance given the recent dry dock and refurbishment a year ago. Getting on and off the ship was quick and painless taking less than 30 minutes in both cases. Granted as suite guest you do have separate lines and disembark times so I cannot confirm if this is the ‘norm’ out of Galveston.
Our room number was 1579, a Grand Suite port side deck 10 which included use of the Concierge Club and other amenities. The room was large and felt like a decent hotel room rather than a small cruise ship room. If your budget allows we highly recommend cruising in a suite, it’s well worth the perks and service amenities. The only complaint with regards to our room was towel animals only appeared every other night rather than nightly. Royal does offer Wi-Fi in all rooms however the service is extremely slow. Facebook, email, and small web traffic works fine however Apple Facetime or Skype video calls would not work. We were able to use Skype audio only calls successfully. Prices for the internet varied, we purchased unlimited for the duration of the cruise for $189 – will worth it for calling back home nightly and posting pictures on Facebook.
Our Concierge Nadaja and her staff within the club were fantastic and meet every need on this trip. If we could book cruises based on her being our concierge, we would! As a suite guest we also had a bridge tour, galley tour, reserved seating at the pool, theater / ice shows, and dinner at the Captain’s Table one evening.
As expected things on the ship are expensive. Cruise pictures averaged $25 each (or through other high priced packages), drinks of the day averaged $10 each, bottle water was $3 each, ect. We had one Royal Replenish package for $20 per day which included everything (such as all Starbucks drinks, bottle water, OJ, ect.) but no alcohol drinks. This worked well considering we had the free open bar in the Concierge club when we wanted a drink.
We were not impressed with Chops having been to other steak restaurants on land. Expected more of a five star treatment though our waiter was less than attentive most of the evening. This restaurant was not packed most nights given the cost of dining and the food was not impressive. If you’re looking for a thicker steak compared to the main dining room this is the place, just don’t expect the quality would see from a local steak house.
This by far was our favorite restaurant given how different the food is presented and prepared. The food and staff were fanatic, just wish we could find something similar back home. Highly recommend.
This restaurant is featured as an Italian restaurant but felt nothing more than a general restaurant serving food from the main dinning room. Some general basic Italian dishes expected would have been language or spaghetti neither of which were listed on the menu. Would not recommend eating here based on the menu options.
Looking for a good burger… this is a great place to eat. Our complaints with this restaurant was the hours open (most days didn’t open until 2PM) and the loud music which made it hard to talk across the table.
Food here is average (to say the least). If you want a quick meal such as breakfast on port days, this place it ‘OK’.
Main Dining Room:
For the dining room we arranged for My Time Dinning which was the best decision we made during our advance booking. Treated more as a first come, first served restaurant we never waited more than five minutes for a table. Food was average, nothing to write home about.
The room was large and felt like a decent hotel room rather than a small cruise ship room. If your budget allows we highly recommend cruising in a suite, it’s well worth the perks and service amenities. The only complaint with regards to our room was towel animals only appeared every other night rather than nightly.
We missed the Grand Cayman port due to seas hitting 17-20 foot waves and the inability to tender. Royal credited back tour and port fees to our sea card account.
In Jamaica we chose the City Walking Tour. The staff was fantastic and the tour was wonderful and insightful with information about the local culture and buildings. At $25 per person it’s a great inexpensive tour to see the local town. The port is clean and well kept within the gates, the city however is very different. Within the port you can find some local vendors however items seem to be the same from shop to shop. Some would haggle, others would not. Highly recommend walking to the market just outside the fence to support locals where you will find cheaper prices and more ‘realistic’ Jamaica items. Felt secure for the most part with law enforcement and tourism police present though it can be a little intimidating in some areas.View All 53 City Tour Reviews
Arrived two hours early due to missing Grand Cayman port the day prior. We were not impressed with the Cozumel port as shops where limited and the port is rather small for two full cruise ships. Most shop owners would not negotiate on prices which was a disappointment. There is a Senor Frogs in port and a Hard Rock Café across the street just outside the port. For our excursion we chose the Swimming with Dolphins which turned out to be a fantastic though required a 10-15 minute cab ride. Our only complaint was the cost of pictures, note they will not allow cameras which forces the purchase of photos if you want to capture any memories. They do take credit cards or cash but plan ahead for this expense and haggle on the price. We walked away with a CD of all images and two prints for $100. The prices started at $150 just for the CD. On location is also a Beach & Snorkel option. Snorkel gear cost an additional $15 per person but again haggle on the price. We managed to get a price of $20 for two sets of gear and a locker rental on the beach. They hype up a bath house where you can take showers but this more like a prison shower with no privacy and smelly water/facilities.View All 456 Dolphin Swim & Encounter Reviews