This was our first cruise and we chose to do it after many flight delays and too much airport stress in previous years. That aspect of the holiday was so easy. We parked, some very friendly people took our luggage out of our car and we saw it again on the ship. All we had to do was walk to the ship with our hand luggage and check in - a very simple procedure. It was even easier on the way off as our luggage was picked up the night before, and we collected it from a large hangar space when we disembarked.
The ship itself was magnificent on first sight - with circular staircases and sculptures. It was also huge and there are some excellent facilities. It was rather surreal watching a football match on an enormous screen, while sunbathing on the top deck with a Pina Colada and a buffet lunch from the restaurant. Great fun! Also pretty surreal playing mini-golf on the top deck in the middle of the night in 30 mph wind. The flow-rider is excellent and the staff do their best to help everyone stay on.
The kids club that my 14 yr old attended was also very good as it allowed the kids to do their own thing while giving them a safe place and activities that they could do if they so pleased. There was a separate pool area for over 16s which was great when you needed to escape from unsupervised children who were mucking about in the main pools and hot tubs. It's worth pointing out that these kids were playing in the large hot tubs because the pools were ridiculously cold. There was a well-equipped gym, spa, poorly equipped library and loads of shops.
The cleanliness of the cabin was good although it did put me in mind of a Travelodge. Nothing wrong with Travelodge but it's not luxury. The food itself was amazing and I doubt that many people came home without having gained many pounds! Service in the restaurants was also superb.The evening shows were good and there were some great side shows, eg the pianist in Schooners bar, the guitarist in the pub and the string players. Formal nights are great and just about everyone on the ship got into the spirit. It looked lovely.
However, there were two main problems with this cruise. Firstly, the ship was very crowded. I was given 2 different passenger totals: 3744 and 3960.This resulted in queues, over crowding and a distinct lack of seating in the bars. (There was no problem with getting deck chairs, especially if you weren't bothered about being right next to the pool.) For example, there is an ice-skating rink on the ship and it was only open for 2 hours of public skating. People started queuing 40 minutes before it started and many got turned away even after they had queued for a long time. There were some events in the main Promenade and it was so packed with people that it was nearly impossible to move. You queued at the bars, the cafe, to get into the restaurant, etc. Not good enough really.
Secondly, the excursions were extremely expensive and disappointing. We did two and wouldn't do any more. The first - a trip to Samil Beach - was good although I'm not sure that paying nearly £70 for a 20 minute bus ride is value for money. The second - a trip to a religious site at Covadonga - was horrendous. We were off ship for over 6 hours and 5 of these were on the bus. We arrived at the first place to be told that we had 25 minutes to see 2 places. Then we went to our lunch with no prior consideration for dietary requirements. Then it was back on the bus for another long drive back. The excursion cost approximately £240 for 3 adults. Ridiculously expensive and disgusting value.
Would I go on another cruise? Yes, though possibly not with Royal Caribbean and certainly not on this ship.
Any tips? Yes. Buy a drinks package. Also, only buy one wi-fi package and share it between devices. They advise you to do that onboard.
Cabin was clean, looked after well but the housekeeper. But a but dated and Travelodge-ish. Needs renovating.
Very easy check in apart from the queues.
Lovely beach though expensive excursion.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Walked to a local beach - great fun.