Went on this cruise with my hubby and 2 young boys and parents, sister and her family and brother and his family (12 total). Brother wanted to 'try' a cruise and the itinerary was promising....ABC islands. I am an Emerald member so I've cruised on RC and Disney before.
Embarkation: Worst one yet on RC. Got there at 11 and stood in line for almost 45 min. outside. Once inside, lines for Platinum, Emerald, Diamond,etc. SO long so I went to the first time cruisers line where they had 3 times the amt. of agents helping people and waited about 15 min. Total embarkation time until I got on the ship was 2 hours. My brother got there at 3 pm and walked right on. They took pics of my kids at check in; then when i got on the boat, the security said we didn't take pics, woke up my 2 year old from his nap to get pics again. That was fun. Rating: Messy 2 out of 5
Cabin: We had the newly renovated cabins room 1284 with the huge window. Lots of space for family of 4. Room was always cleaned immaculately from our Stateroom Attendant, Reron Payne. Excellent gentleman that continuously works nonstop. I can't wait for him to enjoy his vacation and time off, these people work around the clock so tip em folks. Only complaint was the plumbing situation in the shower. Fills up and overflows to your bathroom if you don't shut it off to wash hair, shave, etc. Kind of gross.
Dining: Dining room, YUK. I eat at 5 star restaurants regularly but I also LOVE Cracker Barrel. When I tell you cracker barrel was a Michelin star restaurant compared to the Dining Room food, I'm not exaggerating. Listen to the peoples review on here, i didn't believe them either, boy was I wrong. One night I had cold escargot and minestrone soup that look like campbells watered down, lol it was so gross. I suspect they make the dining room disgusting so you pay more money for specialty restaurants. It's the new way cruising is making you pay for extra baggage on an airline if you want an analogy.
Ate at all 4 specialty restaurants: Chops Grill- great service pretty good food. Sushi: Meh, overrated. Sabor: Pretty good mexican, not bad but we live in Florida but again I think it's worth it. My favorite was Giovanni's - service was pretty good but the food especially the lamb chops, OMG were phenomenal! I also ate at Johnny Rockets since my kids wanted to. It was ok, typical Johnny Rockets.
Windjammer: Surprisingly good. yes, you will get so sick of it if you eat there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day but trust me, the dinner selections are WAY better there than the dining room. We had a young man assist us all the time, Clinton Bautista Fernandes, EXCELLENT Service.
Entertainment and Activities: Let's be honest, mama needs a break and put her kids in the baby room and kids club so she can gamble. Baby room and kids club for 3-5 year old was nice and the caregivers were great. Miss Meow Meow is awesome in the baby room. My 6 year old refused to go in the older room because they combined the 9-11 year olds with the 6-8 year olds and every night I showed him how cool it would be, he got scared because the 11 year old big kids would nail the 6 year olds in the head with the dodgeball and although it did make me laugh my a$$ off, it didn't amuse my child who wanted to go down in the kids club especially since the caregivers in that older room kind of let the kids hash it out themselves.
Gambling was great, always enjoy donating to the casino. One guy on the show who was a comedic juggler was really funny but most of the other shows I left after a couple of minutes because they were super cheesy but the demographic being 60+ of most people on this cruise seemed to enjoy the shows. I think the scene stealer had to be the ice skating show. Really REALLY good and worth every minute.
Since my two year old couldn't play around the swimming pool since he's not potty trained yet and there's no splash zone I thought it would be ok playing putt putt golf and doing other things on sea days. Yikes, i was wrong, I was so bored by the last 2 days, it was awful.
Ports: Haiti: My kid loved the aqua park but my younger couldn't go so I played with my little one. We also did Amiga Island with the whole family, we thoroughly enjoyed that. We initially booked Malfini Beach because we love it there but they lost their boat like 3 weeks before our cruise but RC notified us the night before the excursion and gave us a refund. I bet RC knew about it before we booked online. pff.
Curacao: My FAVORITE island, not too big, not too small, just right. We rented a car and went north 30 min. The excursions on RC stink. I like to do my own thing. Found an awesome beach that was the most beautiful I have ever seen. I'm not telling you because I don't want it to get packed by cruise people. ;)
Aruba: Extremely commercialized, Hooters, Ruth's Chris, Texas de Brazil, whatever you have in the states. It kind of reminds me of Cancun. Checked out that area with all the resorts, pretty nice on the beach. This island is pretty windy but nice people, clean and cute island. My kids wanted to do the park with the slides so we took one for the team and did that for them even though we have a million water parks in Florida and I'd rather be on the beach swimming. I heard Palm Beach is the best if you rent a car or taxi.
Bonaire: REALLYYYYYYYYYY Windy. Known for Kite Surfing and Scuba Diving. Pretty small and natural, not commercialized. Rented a car here too and saw most of the island. Then went to Klein Bonaire, too windy for small kids but hubby and I alternated for snorkeling around the reef which was awesome. I would NOT bring small children to this island,really not worth it for them.
Disembarkation: WORST I HAVE EVERRRRR SEEN! They make you get out of your stateroom before 8 am basically so the stateroom can prepare for the next cruise. Fine ok whatever but then you have to sit in a room until they call your number for when you disembark with a million other people so we were like forget this and did self checkout. They only had ONE machine working to check you while the rest of the sardines are back in the theater waiting for their numbers to be called. Finally 1 hour later, we get to the machine and the guy in front of us has to go back on the ship and my sister-in-law does too cuz the menu in your room doesn't tell you when you are reviewing your expenses that there is a problem with your account. NOOOOOOOO they wait to tell you when you are leaving the boat holding up the rest of the ship! So they separated my brother who couldn't get back on the ship and his wife with two small children to go back onboard to guest services because they said he didn't pay something. Turns out it was RC fault. THEN it gets better....we wait an HOUR at the carasoul, not because we did self checkout and our luggage wasn't there but because they put luggage (which we put the night before by our room with our luggage tags) on the WRONG FREAKING CARASOUL. Half of our bags were on the right carasoul and the other half were two rooms away. Hubby was like lets go see the other carasouls for kicks and giggles and sure enough there it was. TRY Disembarking with a 2 year old for 2 1/2 hours!!!!
How about instead, I go to a resort with slides in the Caribbean and I get a beautiful beach and I can come and go to the beach as I please and even if i have to pay a la carte for food, it will still be cheaper than what I usually spend on a cruise. Just saying......
Cruise Rating: 3 because the 2 servants were awesome, Windjammer & Specialty Dining, Ice Skating Show, and the islands...
2017 family vacation as they say on the Quest Show, going going and completed.