Last week we came home from our 2nd RCCL cruise. I have a few tips that hopefully will help others in planning their trip. We were traveling with 4 children, ages 9 - 20, and a friend of the family (17 y.o.). First off, if possible get there earlier then they tell you. We boarded the ship around . We were actually too early and got to sit in a waiting area for maybe 10 minutes before barding - no big deal for the trade-off of being one of the first on the boat. We immediately hit the kids pool, deck 11 (this was the ONE AND ONLY time they had it all to themselves...not to mention it looked "clean"). Also, the buffet hadn't been ravaged by the onslaught (yet). The drink package is 18./kid plus another 18% (gratuity?), so I think it ran us $44 for 2 cups and we told the kids to share since we aren't big soda fans. The only thing is they put a sticker on your room card, and some bartenders ask to see it when you get a refill, whereas others don't seem to care. I can't stress the importance of a lanyard (especially for the younger kids). I brought them, as well as a whole punch, and it especially helped my 9 and 11 y.o. keep track of their card = admission to the kids club, ice cream charges, the room, etc.
We ended up getting 2 state rooms as we were ill-advised. The family suite, ocean view (very front of the boat) easily slept 6 with a queen, bunks (kid size) in a room with a door, and a fold down couch that sized somewhere between a queen and double. There was SO MUCH space, 2 closets, 3 windows...it was amazing! We also had a balcony room, which was much smaller but nice to have the fresh sea air and view. The only thing is, we could have comfortably accommodated the whole family in the family oceanview suite, without having to bounce between 2 rooms that were on dfft. decks (that was a drag). The rooms themselves were clean and well maintained.
The food was okay in the dining room and "my time dining" worked well for us. I often ordered 2 entrees since the portions were on the small side and sometimes the quality/taste wasn't up to expectations. The "fresh" ceasar salad was consistently good. Their version of "tiger" shrimp is maybe a large shirmp, but nowhere near XL or Jumbo. Desserts were consistently good. Check your water...sometimes we noted some "floaters" and requested clean cups and a refill. We ate at Johnny Rockets once - so glad we got there at 4:30 when they opened, as there was a wait line by the door when we left. The shakes were good, but there were only 3 flavors - choco., vanilla & strawberry. There is a nominal charge to eat there (5.95) but shakes are additional charge (6.00).