We were not impressed with our first Royal Caribbean cruise. We expected it to be higher quality than the Princess and Norwegian cruises we usually take. It wasn’t. In fact, it was of lesser quality and just above Carnival, in our view. Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Dining: The meals were uninspired. Most menu selections were typical restaurant fare—nothing special—and repeated night after night. We were annoyed by breakfast in the dining room when they tried to steer us towards a buffet set up in the dining room. My wife ordered waffles with a carmel sauce from the menu and was told to get it herself from the buffet! If we wanted the buffet, we would not have gone to the dining room! Service at all meals was mediocre. The staff was friendly and helpful, but they simply had too many tables assigned to them to provide good service. Another negative was that the buffet and soft ice cream machines shut down at 9 pm! We couldn’t believe it. Also, they ran out of grapefruit halfway through the cruise.
Teen Club: Our daughter was in the 12-14 year olds. This club was terrible! Worst of any cruise we have been on. The staff was lazy and didn’t bother coordinating many of the activities that were planned. In addition, they had few supplies. For example, for a bandana-decorating activity, they had exactly 4 bandanas. For 20 kids. Pitiful and inexcusable.
Entertainment: The Royal Caribbean singers and dancers were very average. Also, the major entertainment on Saturday night was a decent comic, but he only did 30 minutes! Really? RC couldn’t spring for a 45-50 minute set? Sad.
There were some positives: The morning Zumba class was excellent. The ship excursion in Aruba (Pelican sailing beach and snorkel tour) was very good. The temperature on the ship was generally comfortable, not ice cold like we’ve experienced on many other ships. The rock climbing wall and FlowRider were fun, though the latter typical had a 20-30 minute wait.
Last note: Other cruisers told us that one must get on the newer and bigger RC ships (i.e. more expensive cruises) to get the experience RC is known for and that we were expecting.
Cabin was typical interior stateroom. It was kept clean by the steward.
Good crew. Big crowd, but crew handled it well and was very efficient. Equipment was very good. There were about 60 of us onboard, but it did not feel crowded. They kept the rum punch and other drinks flowing (try the blue drink). On the open-air bus ride back to the ship, they had everyone whooping, and hollering, and singing classic rock tunes at full volume! Lots of fun.View All 185 Snorkeling Reviews
Quiet catamaran. No loud music or dancing. Small group. Excellent crew. Service was superb. They fitted masks to our faces (first time that's happened in 10 years) and took off our flippers as we climbed the ladder to reboard.View All 171 Snorkeling Reviews