I chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We wanted to go out of San Juan again and also get to Bonaire that we had never tried before. It was a good cruise, not a great one. I would really rate it a 3.5. I have been on 30+ cruises in 17 years and I would put this one in the middle.
Was invited to the Cruise Critic gathering and like the last few cruises, only about a dozen people showed up. I heard the RC rep say that many more than that signed up. That has been typical about the last 3 years. Why sign up if you do not go? It makes Cruise Critic meaningless to the cruise lines if the members are not going to actually participate.
The main dining had excellent servers (we did traditional late dining) and all the food was excellent except beef. Had to send it back both times I ordered, was inedible. Desserts were way too good.
The Windjammer was huge and spread out. This has both good and bad points. However, I miss having the outdoor eating area off the back of the ship as many other ships have. It is great having the coffee and tea and snacks at the Promenade cafe. Other cruise lines would do well to copy that feature and put it on their main deck are in the center of the ship. Loved the adult-only atrium area also, very smart move.
Drink specials - $1 mimosas for an hour in the casino. Actually, very few people showed up for that, oddly enough. My past passenger status got me 2 for 1 wine in any bar one night. Royal Caribbean lets you carry on 2 bottles of wine per cabin AND the most recent rule is that you can consume it anywhere on the ship, including the dining room. The servers even save them for you and bring them out the next night. I had white wine and the fridge in the cabin was barely cool, so they kept them in the wine chiller in the back.
We didn't get to very many shows, but the ice show was a lot of fun. The special headliner was The Platters, or rather the version of the last 20 years still carrying on the tradition. We saw part of it, good fun oldies music.
I have no complaints about the "oldness"of the ship at all. Everything seemed in good condition, the bedding appears to have been refurbished. Possibly those reviews were written before the refurbishment not long ago. But overall a solid cruise.
We had one of those odd-shaped oceanview cabins a couple of decks below the bridge right off the front of the ship. The shape made it roomy on the window side and we had a 2 person sofa there. We did have to keep the curtains closed at night because of the bridge above. The cabin was in good condition, bed comfortable with newer bedding. TV appeared to be newer and in working order. Not as much storage space as some ships but average. There is a fridge but not very cold and didn't see a switch to turn it up.
The cabin attendant quit right at 7:30 pm. We had 8:30 dining but if we left the cabin after 7:30, we got no service even though there was a tab to put in the lock that said "make up room". The first day he told us he worked 6 to 8 pm in the evening but we found out otherwise. Also he barged in 2 times because we had no "do not disturb" sign for our door. I had to finally ask for one the 3rd day after he did that. When we did get service, it was fine.
Love to stay in San Juan, we always go 3 nights early and stay at a beach hotel. We had perfect weather and sunshine!
Took shuttle to Jibe City, husband went windsurfing while I hung out at the beach bar and grill there. Burger and drinks good. Water is very calm, but not really a family area. There were a couple of people with screaming babies. I would not have taken my kids there, has to be other options than hanging out in front of the beach dive bars with very little room to play. The loungers are crowded in and go right up to the water. This area is strictly good for those who want to do the watersports. Otherwise I would find another area to hang out with more beach.
Took cab to Shipwreck Bar. It is maybe a 20 min ride. The cab driver came back at the appointed time, 3pm. This is a dive bar with a tiny stretch of beach. They have tropical drinks and put fresh grated nutmeg on some of them. The water was on the rough side and lots of debris that day. I talked to the ladies next to me who were staying there for a couple of months. They thought it was too rough and full of seaweed and they left and went to Cockleshell. We went there last time and it is more of a family area with much more open beach space and options. However, it is another 10 minutes farther. Next time in St.Kitts I will try another beach area or go to Nevis on an excursion.
Took a cab to Orient Beach. Beach bars all down the beach, side by side. Paid $20 for 2 loungers with pads, umbrella, wi-fi and 2 rum punch drinks (or reg punch option). Was $20 for 2 people in a private cab going. Shared a shuttle cab on the way back for $7 each I think it was. We didn't eat but all the bars seemed to serve things like burgers and conch. Got a foot and leg massage by one of the vendor ladies for $20. That was pretty much it - water and weather were as perfect as it gets.