This was my 6th cruise (3 with NCL, 2 with Princess, 1 with Viking), and my first with Royal. Our trip was a get-together of 4 friends, and 2 of us brought our wives. One of the wives refused to sail on anything but Royal, so that is how we chose this sailing.
Embarkation: everything was fast until we got checked in. Then we had to sit until our group number was called. Anyone that had sailed with Royal before was allowed to board immediately, so we were a little irritated that we got penalized for not sailing with them previously.
On-board activities: there is a ton to do on this ship because it is so large. Rarely did we wait longer than 15 minutes for things such as mini-golf, rock climbing, or the flowrider. There was almost no live music anywhere on the ship, so we spent a lot of time sitting around waiting for shows or trivia to start. There's a ton of trivia, which entertained one or two people in our group, the rest of us were bored with it. The pools are heated to a very comfortable temperature so we spent a lot of time swimming. The night time entertainment consisted of an ice show, 2 different comedians, a couple broadway-style sing/dance shows, and a magic show. The ice show repeated 4 times, and although the performers are very talented, it got boring very quickly. The broadway shows were good and the performers had great voices. The comedians were bad, one did only New Jersey and italian jokes, the other talked about how complicated computers are and how he misses tuning black and white TVs. The magic show was absolutely terrible, the tricks were poorly done and tacky, and most of the show was playing videos or strobe lights. It really was the worst show I've seen. There was also the standard cruise ship game shows, and karaoke, but only on a couple of nights and it was too short.
Dining: the food was great. We usually went to the buffet for breakfast and lunch, and the dining room for dinner. 2 of the nights were formal nights- a bit annoying because I had no desire to get dressed up, although they didn't seem to enforce any dress codes. We chose my-time dining, which ended up being a big problem. The second night the dining room was full and we had to eat in the buffet. We were told we had to make reservations every night with at least 24 hours notice or we would never get a table, so it was pointless to have my-time dining. We were seated at the same table each night with the same waiters, which was nice. Both of the waiters learned what we liked and often brought out extra entrees for us to try when they overheard us being unsure about what to chose. One of the nights my wife and I went to Chops (steakhouse), which was fantastic. For about $100, we each had 9oz filet mingons and a bottle of wine, which is far less than the meal would have cost ashore.
Ports: our itinerary was Labadee (Haiti), Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Labadee was nice, although I felt bad for the locals working there. We were specifically told not to bring cash by the cruise director, but there are locals setting up chairs, working the bathrooms, and playing music for tips. I thankfully had a few singles on hand for the chair guy and one musician but I wish I had brought more. Jamaica had a nice port area to wander around in directly off the ship, but it would not be a good idea to leave the port unless you're on an excursion. Grand Cayman had a wonderful beach, but we did not have nearly enough time there. Cozumel had 5 other cruise ships already docked when we arrived. After finally getting through the port we discovered the taxi line that probably had at least an hour wait. We figured the resort we planned on going to was most likely full anyways so we just went back to the ship.
Overall, I don't see anything that justifies the extra cost that Royal demands. Some may like the loyalty program, with member-only events, seating, boarding, etc, but I just found it unfair. I tried Royal once and I don't think I'd do it again unless the price drops.
Although bigger than an interior, it's not good of you go to bed early. The events/music in the promenade are loud. You have to keep the curtains closed constantly because people can see in your room. The light from the promenade is very bright at night, and although there's blackout curtains, some of the light still leaks in.