This is our fifth time we have sailed with Royal Caribbean and it was our best experience with the RCI brand.
To enable a smooth boarding experience we received an email a few days before our cruise advising us when we could check in at the pier, this was prioritised via cabin decks; a really good idea so that the boarding was staggered rather than 4000 passengers all turn up at the same time. We have sailed from Southampton on numerous occasions and this was the first time that we have noticed that port security pre boarding has been significantly tightened. The process is similar of that going through airport security so be prepared to remove belts shoes etc. During our cruise where RCI did not do the boarding security themselves we found a similar experience at all the ports we visited on this 11 day cruise so be prepared for queues getting back onto the ship.
We boarded very quickly and made our way to the Windjammer for early lunch. The variety of food available was excellent and throughout the cruise as the ship had sailed out of a UK port the cuisine was very much catered to the Britsh taste. The staff in the Windjammer especially the young waiters and waitresses worked very hard to give personalised service where ever possible. They appeared to be assigned to areas and were constantly topping up drinks and clearing tables for new diners while at the same time interacting with passengers. They were lead by head waiters and without exception all did a splendid job to meet and to try and exceed expectations. There were 65 different nationalities of crew on board the ship which takes a lot of managing, but throughout the cruise we never experienced anything but friendly, cheerful and welcoming service. Well done to RCI.
A large spacious cabin with walk in closet and plenty of drawer space. Tea making facilities which were topped up daily by the room attendant. This is an adjoining cabin but we didn't hear the next door occupants. This suite has internal cabin's opposite and occasionally we heard foot traffic passing but it was negligible. This cabin is situated on deck 10 under deck 11 which is the swimming pool area. At times for a few moments you could hear children running above or the cleaning crew moving the chairs around but this would not stop me from choosing this location again as it was midship and close to all amenties. The fridge is empty which is a bonus to keep your own water chilled.
The balcony was the size of one and a half cabins so plenty of space for the two sunbeds and two chairs and small table. The balcony was full glass so able to get a good view whilst sitting down.
Although the bathroom was spacious I found the bath too high to get in and out of and the shower over the bath was a hard spray which my husband did like.
Our room steward was efficent and inconspicuous and every few nights I was delighted to find a different towel animal left on the bed.He made a Polar Bear, Turkey and a Dog.
Vigo is a small town. We climbed to the viewing point to get a good view of the ship and this typically Spanish town. There is a small shopping mall next to the pier to but water to take back onto the ship.
Lisbon was stunning. Sailing right up to the city under the 26th Bridge which was designed apparently by the same designers as The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The view of the old town is very pictureque. As the ship docks in the middle of Lisbon it is very easy to stroll into the old town in ten minutes.There are Hop On Off buses as well as Trams and Electric Tuktuk which take passengers to the Tourist sights. Head to Castle of St George 8.50 E entrance fee for great views of the ship and city below.There is a small cafe and shaded areas to walk but be careful as slippery well worn stones, wear suitable footwear. Lisbon is a safe city to walk around but we did get advised that one passenger from another ship was pick pocketed that day.
Docked in the port and shuttle provided free by port security to port gate.By foot it is then a few minutes to the town centre. There is an attrcative Mercarto African food market. We visited the department store Coeur Angles which has a cafe on floor 7 serving lovely fresh food and Sangria with great views of Santa Cruz.
A gentle stroll of 15minutes on flat sea front area to the cable car. Shuttles available of 2.50 E on small traditional bus rather than 8 $ return from RCI.The Green building is the bottom of the cable car. Buy the ticket then queue but the queue soon moves as 6 people in each cable car ride. pay 15E return to the top or 26.50 E each return which is a combined ticket to the Monte Palace Tropical Garden which is well worth visitng especially as the entrance fee includes a glass of local port/sherry. The garden has fabulous views and is beautiful and peaceful with cooling Tropical gardens.
In August 2016 Funcal experienced a devastating fire where many homes were lost up and down the mountain side. During the cable car ride this scene of devastation can be seen. It was very sad to see.
We walked back to the ship through the coblled small town and went to a lovely cafe/deli at The Ritz hotel for a delicious Ice cream and Pastel de Nata (custard pies) which we purchased in a box and took back to the ship.
A big town that has all the usual Spanish high street shops a short walk from the pier. The department store Corte de Ingles provides a complimentary shuttle to their store and offers a free glass of vino and tapps in their cafe at the bar. The shop is worth a visit especially as they give 10 % discount for vistors on the second purchase and tax refund for non EU citizens.it was a wet day in Coruna so it was pleasant way to spend a few hours enjoying a nice lunch in the restaurant.