At first, I was weary about embarkation. When we first walked through the door there was a large jumble of people in (somewhat) lines in front of Royal Caribbean representatives holding ipads for check-in. After getting in line, it exceeded my expectation and went very quickly, we gave the reps our set sail pass, they asked a few simple questions, snapped our pic and sent us on our way to Security. This was also a breeze! The lines were sorted out, some for general boarding and others for suites and high tier Crown and Anchor members. After a short walk through the metal detector we were on our way up the escalator onto the gangway, where we were greeted with a red carpet walk way and beautiful floral arrangements, when we boarded the ship we entered directly into the Royal Esplanade on Deck 5, which is of course where everyone was gathered and was a little hectic at first, but after everyone was settled in you would’ve never known how many people were on the ship. When leaving port in Cape Liberty, Bayonne, NJ, we had the best view of New York City.
The first place we ate was Café two70, which had hot/cold sandwiches, salads, soup and fresh carved meat, all in different stations where you would pick out what you wanted, and get it in seconds. I had the BLTA (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Avocado) Salad which was delicious and the 4 cheese melt, again, delicious!
Our first dinner we had was at ‘Devinly Decadent’ which is a low calorie, heath conscious complimentary restaurant which was originally a specialty restaurant on board and was later converted to complimentary. The starters and desert was self-serve buffet style, while the menu items were separated out by 500 and 700 calorie options. I had the lemon glazed prawns and filet mignon, which was served with steamed carrots, broccoli, asparagus and a portion of mashed potatoes. Everyone at the table had the filet mignon and all had the same reaction “WOW!” It was incredible! It was cooked to perfection and full of flavor. You would never guess this was only 500 calories! At desert they had small portions of carrot and pumpkin cake, as well as flourless cakes and dark chocolate brownies. I particularly loved the pumpkin cake.
We were in Category D2, cabin 12160 located in the forward of Deck 12 on portside. We walked in to find our room keys and sea-pass bracelets waiting for us on the bed. Our room steward –Warren- greeted us shortly after arrival to provide us with our Cruise Compass, and ask if we had any questions. Our room had a very modern feel with sharp lines, deep blue colors and very well coordinated décor. The restroom had a walk in shower that had a hand held shower head, and an easy to understand faucet configuration. It had all necessary toiletries (i.e. shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shower gel, and hand soap) though small, the mirror in the restroom helped make it feel large and more open. The stateroom had a convertible sofa and small desk area that attached to a dresser with plenty of drawers for storage. Storage could also be found above and on either side of the bed. Out on the balcony we had two very nice lounge chairs with a small table and a gorgeous, non-obstructed view.