This was our 5th cruise and first on Royal Caribbean (have another one planned in Oct). Have sailed Norwegian and Princess twice each before. Since we live in Texas, Galveston is great to sail from as no air travel is needed. Something broke down on embarkation and line was long and slow, but disembarkation was fast and early!
SHIP: Needs a third bank of elevators at the aft - long walk to them from our cabin. Remodeled, but the Promenade Deck 5 was way too crowded - bars, shops, kiosks in the middle - way too much. Way too many jewelry stores and not enough clothing stores. At sale times, the Promenade looks more like a Morrocan Bazaar than an elegant shopping area. RC could take some design tips from Princess. The Casino is in middle of ship on Deck 4 with both ends open so bars with entertainers like Boleros & Schooners on Deck 4 smelled the smoke. Smoke drifted up the open stairs to Deck 5 all the time. You had to pass thru Casino to get from one area to another on 4. Also, there was a staircase going from the Casino up to the Promenade on 5 and acted like a chimney and funneled all that smoke up. Worst thing - it was right next to the wine bar on 5 so did not make for good swirling, sniffing, and sipping of wine. Very poor design. Stairs need to be closed. Casino needs to be at one end, up high, vented to outside and completely closed from rest of ship - gamblers will find it! but other passengers will not have to smell it!
ENTERTAINMENT: Never went to the theater but heard comedian wasn't very good. Best entertainment was the ice skating show. It was marvelous! Very professional and did a lot in that small space. Wish they had 2 different shows each cruise. Liked the CW band at Boleros, but time interferred with dinner so not much time to dance until started again at 10:45 - too late for me. Never made it to the piano bar at Schooners as was always too crowded. Both of these entertainment bars need to be given more space and away from smoke. Watched the flow rider and rock climbing wall - wish I was young enough to do it.
DINING: Ate one breakfast and lunch in Windjammers - OK but nothing special. Coffee was awful, so we bought Starbucks at the Promenade Cafe and sat on our deck to drink it. Food was great in the dining room at lunch (3) and dinner (3). Had anytime dining with no problem getting in and had same area and waitstaff - Eglan & Carl. Ate at all 4 specialty restaurants - all very good, but Izumi is all a la carte pricing with no added fee. Turned out to be very expensive. The others are worth the surcharge.
EXCURSIONS: Only went on one excursion through the ship - Salsa, Salsa, Margaritas (Cozumel) - and really enjoyed it. Was not available privately. Did the stingray/snorkel tour privately on Grand Caymen. No need to pay ship prices as all people/boats do same thing at same time so find cheapest. Tendering on GC is a hassle. They need to build a port like at Falmough. Line to get back to ship was so long, I am surprised no one was left (don't really know).
OVERALL: Except for some design flaws, really enjoyed the ship and cruise, but probably won't do those islands again. Will try the Eastern Caribbean next and may or may not go RC depends on time, price, cabin availability. The ship is not as important to me as the itinerary.
Although smaller than a mini-suite, there was plenty of closet space with hangers and shelves. I liked the drawers on either side of the vanity area - held all cosmetics, hair stuff, underwear and bathing suits for husban and me. Bath had cabinet for toothbrush, soap, etc. While the shower is small, the glass doors are great - temp and pressure was good too. Sometimes had to run shower to get sink water to warm up, but was plenty warm after that. Bed was very comfortable, and I brought my own TemperPedic pillow. The duvet was way too much for that climate, so I asked for another top sheet. The steward took the duvet away and brought a very nice (and little heavier) top sheet to put over the one already on the bed. Made it just right and not too heavy. Have never understood the switch to duvets instead of spreads. Way too hot and heavy for me. We had an aft cabin with an extended balcony on deck 6 that was wonderful. 2 loungers, 2 chairs and a table and completely covered. Even though the cabins are not at the actual end of the boat, the view is great and it is quiet. The only thing that was bothersome was that deck 5 below us was a crew only passage way and they had lights on all the time. I would have preferred to be in darkness so I could see the stars, but the glow wasn't that bad. Clinton from St. Vincent's was wonderful. 3 cute animal towels and everything was always clean.
Live in Texas so been to Galveston several times. Drove to pier, parked in guarded lot reserved beforehand, and walked a block to ship. Did eat at "The Spot" a waterfront casual restaurant before going to pier, but Galveston was fogged in so no scenery.
It was a walking tour through Falmouth that visited two fruit vendors (we had fresh fruits, coconut water, etc), a bakery (had wonderful soft bread and spicy meat pastie), a jerk chicken restaurant (chicken and Red Stripe beer), desserts at a private home. On the walk, the guides told us about several historic buildings, churches, and people. Very interesting and well worth the $49. Outside of port, Falmouth is somewhat poor but very friendly and nice.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Snorkeling was OK but not the colorful fish of Hawaii and did not see any strange or exotic fish or plant life. Guide did find starfish at the stingray site and let one of the kids hold it. Since price was cheap, felt we got our money's worth.View All 340 Snorkeling Reviews
Never found Duncan with whom I booked online as he never told me where to meet. Asked in port and one man called him, and ended up on his tour (don't know name). But all the stingray/snorkel tours are about the same. Got to feed 3 stingrays and pet the ones the guide held up. Very fun experience.View All 795 Stingray Swim Reviews
Groups of 8 went by taxi to a hotel/resort. There were 150 of us from 3 different ship. Sat at tables for 8 and got instructions on making 5 salsas and 1 guacamole with ingredients already cut, etc. for us. Made two, plain and strawberry, margaritas. They refilled all you wanted. Really made it fun and interesting and tasted great. Tried to teach us to Salsa dance, but after all that, not many did very well. But lots of fun! Very well organized. Had the option to stay at the resort for the pool or beach, but we elected to taxi to town and went to Las Cinco Soles and Pancho's Backyard for tequila, shopping and eating. Very nice place. Took taxi back to pier.View All 111 Salsa & Salsa Reviews