This was our sixth cruise but our first with Royal Caribbean. Also, the ship was by far the biggest on which we have sailed. We were aware that the ship is an older one, and that right after our cruise she would be going into dry dock for repairs and refurbishing, so we were prepared to have some things be sub-par.
Well, we were very fortunate because overall, our experience was fantastic. We had a balcony room on Deck 6, which was very comfortable, had none of the plumbing issues about which we had been warned, and met our needs completely. Lots of storage space, great beds, excellent care from Reggie.
We chose the early dinner seating and there, too, everything was excellent. The food was very good, the waiters took good care of us, and we lucked out with our six table companions. We ate in the Windjammer Cafe for breakfast and lunch most days, and four the selection and quality there to be very good as well. One day, we had lunch at Johnny Rockets (extra cost but not much) and loved it. Sure, it's just burgers, but they were really good, the service was great, it was all-you-can eat, the music was fun, and the atmosphere a hoot.
We loved that there is a pool for ages 16 and up - not because we dislike being around children and teens, but because that particular pool did not have music playing, so it was restful and quiet.
We enjoyed skating on the ice rink and watching the ice show one evening. We also went to two of the dance/music shows, and they were pretty good. I thought the ice show was better.
In spite of the ship being so huge, getting around was fairly easy because of the interactive touch screens on every deck near the elevators/stairs. Perhaps this is the norm on ships nowadays (it has been 9 years since our last cruise) but it was our first experience with them and it helped me a lot (I have no sense of direction).
This was our first trip with a balcony and I have to admit we loved it. If you're not into constant activity and music and noise, but like a quiet environment in which to talk and read, having your own balcony is marvelous. We spent a fair bit of the second at sea day there, and at least a bit of time on most days. That said, there are so many lounges on this ship that with some effort, you can probably find a quiet spot. The library, for example. It doesn't have a huge selection of books but there are some, and it has lots of seating.
I took off one star for two reasons. I was disappointed with the extra fees for some activities on the ship. I thought the drink packages were ludicrously expensive.
And we did the galley tour/lunch at Giovanni's combination, and I hope the food in that restaurant is better at dinner because I was not that impressed. If it hadn't been for the galley tour I would have been pretty miffed to spend $35.00 on that meal.
I thought this cabin was great. It's not too far from the stairs/elevators; very comfortable; plenty of storage space (as we were packing to leave I was still finding storage spots I hadn't noticed before!). Our suitcases fit nicely under the bed and there are lots of little shelves and drawers in addition to the closet.
A very large tour group was divided into small busloads and we were taken to the home of the family who runs this tour (about a half hour drive). We then went by motor boat to an island where a short hike took us to a beautiful view of the area; again by boat to an area for snorkeling and then to an area where mangroves grow for kayaking; then we had some free time on the same little island as where the hike was before returning to the starting point for banana bread and something to drink. Everything was very well-organized. No complaints!View All 40 Kayaking Reviews
A 20-minute bus ride from the ship took us to a beach a few coves over from where the ship was docked. There we were given snorkeling gear and life-jackets and kayak paddles. Following a guide, we kayaked to a different beach, where we left the kayaks on shore and snorkeled right from the beach, again, following the guide. I thought this was an excellent tour. I have never snorkeled with a guide before and it was great. After kayaking back to the starting point, we had some time to rest and have a drink before returning to the ship. Highly recommend.View All 18 Kayaking Reviews