This was my first trip with Royal Caribbean, after more than a dozen cruises with Cunard, Carnival and NCL. I didn't have unreal high expectations however, after this experience, I wonder why is it that RCI is considered a higher standard in cruising?
My first negative impression came from staff members, whom I suspect are underpaid and in less than decent conditions on the boat (they can't all be moody!). Most of them have questionable attitudes, as if they cannot be bothered. I am not one of those annoying, obnoxious, demanding customers, actually I have compassion and respect for workers, especially since I worked with Cunard myself.
Our deluxe balcony cabin lacked bathroom supplies (no tissues, shampoo, or even bags for garbage) and seemed outdated, there was mold in the shower and in the toilet, yucks. Beds were hard and there were no individual controls for lights, which were either blinding or left us in the dark.
Internet service package...I might as well not have wasted my money! Was expecting a work contract and needed to have email available, but was unable to refresh, let alone do anything online. Entertainment was mediocre at best, however I didn't expect super talent aboard a boat.
What surprised me the most was the very, very poor quality of the food. Windjammer was distracting due to the buffet nature and variety...but their main dining room, Saphire, omg, every dish looked and tasted like a $3 dollar microwave meal.
Don't know if I would give RCI another shot, would have to read reviews. For now, as far as big cruise liners, I believe NCL is a much better choice. This was like Carnival, with less desperate feeders and a higher quality crowd, but overly stuffed the same.
Did I mention we waited 3 hours for disembarkation?