I booked this cruise back in June 2017 for sailing in January 2018. I found a great deal on the Royal Caribbean website and told my friends. It was a 48 hour sale and a bunch of us ended up booking the cruise, in total it was 19 adults and 6 kids. This was my first experience on Royal Caribbean. In the past 13 months, I travelled on Holland America and Silversea with my father. I'm in my early 30s, single and not married. I planned to share an interior cabin with my roommate. About a month later, another friend asked to share our room and we switched to an interior room with pullmans.
We live in South Florida, about an hour away from the Port of Miami. We left our house around 10:30am on embarkation day and arrived about 11:30am. We dropped our bags off with the porters and 4 of us waited at the terminal, while 2 people parked the car in the cruise parking garage. We previously discussed parking offsite but decided that we would just split the cost of parking and enjoy the convenience of parking at the port. It took about 10 minutes for us all to meet up again to enter the terminal. We entered the terminal about 11:45am. We had to show our SetSail passes and passports to enter. Then we went through security where they checked our carryons, there were no lines to enter or security. Then we proceeded to check in. We went to the Gold line since we had previous cruisers. There were about 3 groups ahead of us in line, be we got to an agent within 5 minutes. Some of our friends we saw outside the terminal went to the regular line. It took them about 20 minutes. We all boarded the ship together and went straight to the Windjammer. It was about 12:15pm. One of my friends went directly to the fitness center. Although busy, we were able to find a table for 6.
As we finished lunch, they made an announcement that the staterooms were now available. That was about only a couple of minutes before 1pm. We went to the cabin and found it pretty roomy despite it being an interior cabin for 3 adults with suitcases. I knew I needed to lower my standards since my last couple cruises were in suites with rooms more than double the size. We all found the rooms to be quite adequate in terms of storage space and size, but we spent very little time in the rooms during the day. I will say that the WORST part of the cruise was the MATTRESS. It wasn't just a little uncomfortable. It was the worst that ever slept on. It was actually painful to rest on my side. I started to sleep on top of the comforter and it helped slightly.
The ship itself appears to be in good condition. I enjoyed most of the bars and venues on board. I did not spend much time on the pool deck because it was windy and chilly, which is not uncommon for this time of year. Plus I'm from Florida so I didn't feel the need to go to the pool. The hot tubs were very crowded though because the pools were cold. Also, I felt that the ship never seemed too crowded. There also weren't tons of kids since winter break was over.
I really enjoyed the activities director, Daniel, and activities staff member Carlos. They were both hilarious. I went to both adult comedy shows and The Quest. I found them to be entertaining. The Disco Inferno was awesome. You have to get to trivia very early since it is held in the Schooner bar and it's not very big. Tables fill up 15 minutes before.
The food wasn't amazing in the Main Dining Room and especially the Windjammer. I enjoyed my meals in the MDR, but I only went to Windjammer for breakfast if possible. I went to lunch a couple times and was not impressed. I did make myself a nice cheese plate before dinner. The best dining venue is Sabor. The margaritas are included in the deluxe package and were fabulous. I had 3 at dinner! We had 10 people at dinner in Sabor and they brought us out everything on the menu to sample. I also had sushi at Izumi that was very good and did the sushi making class. It was worth the money since you got a lot of sushi for your money. Brasserie 30 in the MDR on sea days is the best spot for lunch!
The service is great! I really enjoyed our room attendant and waiter in the MDR. The bartenders were all excellent too. It was so easy to get a drink all of the time. We got our drink package for $41/day plus 18% gratuity about 3 months in advance during a sale in cruise planner. It was worth the money!!
Our cruise went to Costa Maya and Cozumel. We did not prebook any excursions. My friends did the adventure park in Costa Maya. There are a bunch of places to book excursions when you get off the ship. I walked around the port area. I was disappointed with the "tex-mex" food options, since I wanted authentic food. There isn't anywhere else to go besides the port. It was fun to walk around and explore. Our ship was the only one in port. In Cozumel, we walked off and rented a 15 passenger van from Hertz (note that the cars are manual shift). It cost about $200. We drove to the San Gervasio Mayan ruins. It was a 30 minute drive on very well paved roads. It cost $9.50 to see the ruins. We drove around the island a bit before going back to the ship.
Our friends had kids and they were in Adventure Ocean during the evenings. We had the 8pm MDR dinner. The ones that were 5 and younger usually ate in the Windjammer and then went to Adventure Ocean and one went to the Nursery (23 months). The kids ages 6-9 ate dinner in the MDR and one of their parents would drop them off at Adventure Ocean and come back. They ordered the kids' meals as soon as we sat down and they usually came by the time we had appetizers. They nursery closes at 12AM, but time has to be reserved in advance. Only one time they had to pick up at 11pm, but they were able to get time each evening. Adventure Ocean has babysitting from 10pm-2am. They were usually asking to go to Adventure Ocean so they didn't have to sit with us through dinner. There aren't many, if any, activities for children in the evening except in Adventure Ocean.
I also got a spa service when we were in Costa Maya. I did the special for $129 for 75 minutes which included a 50 minute Swedish back massage, facial, back exfoliation, and scalp massage. The specials are only advertised on port days in the daily compass.
I would go again, but I would read reviews about the beds for the ship. I enjoyed everything else about the cruise. I would also skip the Windjammer for all lunches since I really didn't like it. It's perfectly fine for breakfast though.
We had an interior room with 2 pullman beds. Since we were 3 friends, we had the 2 bottom beds split apart plus one top bed pulled down. There was a small loveseat couch in the room and a vanity. There was also a closet. The shower was very small and hard to move your arms in. We didn't really put our suitcases away. We would have more room if we didn't, but we hardly spent any time in the room. The mattresses were extremely uncomfortable on all 3 beds. It actually felt like a hard service.