Embarkation: I had read in one of the cruising "bibles" that Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) was one of the most unfriendly ports to embark on a cruise. In some ways it's not fair because at other embarkation ports, each cruise line has the option of sprucing things up. For example, Port Canaveral houses a few lines, and each of the embarkation points are unique. Disney's is the most appealing, but RCCL's spot isn't unpleasant. However, Port Everglades... the best way that I can describe the embarkation areas is a cross between a Sam's Club, Walmart, and a general warehouse. Concrete floors, rows of makeshift stations all contributed to the drab, sanitary look. I wish that Betty had been able to keep the pictures she took, but when she started to snap pictures in that area, the officials there weren't too amused and made her delete the photos. Ha.
Ship Staff: The quality of the ship staff was uniformly higher than the previous two RCCL cruises I've been on. I'm not sure why that might be but all the stateroom attendants were quick to greet guests regardless of which room they were in. The buffet dining area had a wonderful staff as well - quick to smile and bring our beverages of choice. Our waiter and assistant waiter were both very jovial, and our assistant waiter had this droll habit of excessively rolling his R's. Although not speedy by any means, bar staff was friendly. As a total aside, the staff on this vessel seemed to have a higher mastery of the English language as a whole than my two other RCCL sailings.
Public Areas: On the Sovereign class of sailings, the Centrum marks the flagship of the public areas. One nicer statue or display surrounded by boutiques on two levels. The Royal Promenade replaced the Centrum on this vessel. Spanning four or five stories, the Promenade featured shops, cafes, and bars along the way. The usual display or statue was replaced by a tall fiber optic creation. I was not able to take advantage of every single bar on board, but the ones I did go into and take pictures of were clean, appropriately lit, and comfortable. Outdoor public areas were pleasing as well. The main pool deck featured 4 whirlpools and 2 pools while the adults only solarium offered 2 whirlpools and 1 pool. Chaise-lounges were plentiful, and it seemed as if all the guests had enough personal space while outside. The obligatory basketball court was well maintained, as was the flagship rock wall. Certain areas of the miniature golf course could have used maintenance, but overall the course was extremely playable. The arcade featured age appropriate games for teens, but some of the machines were in ill repair or malfunctioning.
Interior Stateroom 7113 wasn't bad at all. More than spacious for one traveler, and would be sufficient for two. Although located toward the front of the vessel, I didn't hear much anchor noise, and foot traffic was minimal. Located close to the forward stairs and elevator, it was easy to get to any of the levels.