Warning, long review incoming.
We have sailed Disney three times, and this was our second RC cruise. First time on this class ship.
Getting on board was a breeze. We were emailed and asked to show up not before noon. We showed up at noon and were on the ship by 12:25. Our room was ready at 1:00 and our luggage was already there. Very nice sized balcony room, and worth the price in my opinion. Plenty of storage space for two people. The balcony is my sanctuary and is needed for me. We purchased the deluxe beverage package and VOOM for one device. The app is nice but needs work. We were able to relax, and had a small lunch in the Solarium Bistro, then walked around and tried to find our way around the ship. We also did the Ultimate Abyss slide right away, and that was a lot of fun. This ship is AMAZING! I do not like crowds, and there were over 6000 guests on board and I only felt the crowds poolside on days at sea and at a couple of shows. I love the design of this ship.
Also, the water slides were an absolute blast. Almost 70 steps to climb, but I did that multiple times each day (8 was my record, and loved the green slide). There are places to relax and have quite when you want. I love the Solarium, but no pool was a bit disappointing. Days at sea were very relaxing there, and it was still a very short walk to the Water Slides. I spent about 20 minutes in the Casino (too smokey for me) and did walk around a lot. My wife and I avoided the elevators, so we got a decent workout walking stairs. We also used the gym three times and the walking/running track on deck 5 often. I gained a few pounds, but the stairs and walking helped keep that number low.
I love the options and activities on this ship.
Dinner (SILK, deck 5) day one was the first disappointment, and set the tone for mediocre dining the entire week. We were my-time dining, as "traditional" was already full when we booked 14 months earlier. We were sat right away, and we had mentioned that we wanted to sit with other people and not at a two seat table. This did cause some confusion by the terrible hostess, but eventually someone was able to tell her what we wanted, and we were sat with two other couples. The food was ok (salmon overcooked, lobster tails had one that was good, one was rubbery), the service was terrible and consistently bad in the main dining room. I never did get the name of our assistant waiters, and we had three different waiters/assistant waiters the four nights we ate in the main dining room before deciding to call it quits. It became a joke at our table to see what they would mess up first. One night, the appetizers were almost completely finished before we had our drinks. Another night, one person was delivered the wrong entree and wrong desert. Another night, someone asked for two different appetizers, and never received them. Another asked for two deserts and only got one. I asked for and received the wrong desert twice.
After the 4th bad main dining room experience, we were done. I booked the Solarium Bistro for dinner one night, and that was the best dining experience of the week at that point. I was fine with pizza or hot dogs or whatever the rest of the week, but someone suggested Wonderland. We decided to do that, and while I am not happy about being steered to upscale restaurants because of terrible service, we both loved the food and service and wonderland, and I tipped and extra 25% to Maria, since the entire experience was great.
Basically, Wonderland gave us what we had received with no up charge when sailing Disney. You do get what you pay for. Maybe I get a suite next time, since that would more accurately compare the two lines? Eating in Coastal Kitchen would be much nicer I imagine.
We usually had breakfast or lunch, rarely both. I enjoyed Mini Bites since they had a made to order omelet option for breakfast. We also both enjoyed the Solarium Bistro for any meal. We had pizza once, and a hot dog on the boardwalk once. We only ate in the Windjammer once during lunch while in port. Too crowded to be enjoyable, though the food was fine. I preferred the Solarium or Mini Bites to the huge buffet. I would rather have fewer options in a less crowded area.
My wife and I were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and also her birthday. We booked this while on board Independence of the Seas in 2017. While the travel agent "made a note" of our reason for the celebration, and so did the phone agent I spoke with when booking show times, the day came and went with zero acknowledgement. That was my first trip to Guest Services. The agent apologized and offered a bottle of wine. Sure, it was kind, and something. Just sad that I had to mention it. They also forgot her Birthday. How hard is that one? You have everyone's birthday on the ID they use to get on board. Again, Disney makes you feel welcome, Royal may do that for Diamond types, but I am not there.
The cabin was kept spotless, and the beverage service throughout the ship was amazing the entire week (except in the main dining room. I know, same people). I made a second trip to guest services after our 4th bad experience in the Main dining room. She offered to remove the prepaid gratuities. I declined. The staff was all working hard, just needed either better training or management. I just used the cash I had brought to tip the bar service I enjoyed and the cabin attendant instead of giving extra to the waitstaff.
Entertainment/Activities: We love the aqua show, and I got to see it a second time by just hanging out by the rock climbing wall. There are chairs there, and some were open right before show time. We liked Grease, but had seen it before and often enough that it was just OK for me. The had to alter the story a bit for time and no intermission. I absolutely loved both comedians. I did not go back for the family friendly version, but heard that was good. Voctave was also very good. Columbus could have been skipped. It was ok. I see enough ice that I skipped the skating show. I mentioned the smoke in the casino, other than that there is plenty to do while on board. I was never bored. Zumba poolside, different contests and activities and dance party's. We both had a blast, and it was a memorable week with a few hiccups and mediocre dining.
Labadee. Rented a cabana and loved the day of relaxing. Food was fine. I fed the local starving dogs that were around (they liked the chicken), and wanted to rescue them.
Jamaica: Did not do much. we shopped, then got back on board and braved the WindJammer, then hit the pools and waterslides since they were not crowded at all.
Cozumel: been here plenty of times. Did a bit of shopping and got back on board the not-crowded ship.
Will I go again? Probably. I will either pay extra for a suite, or pay for a dining package. I have to do math to decide if Disney is worth the extra expense. I like all the activities that RC has on board. I will cruise again, I may need to look at other lines.
Like the cabin a lot. Steward kept the room spotless. We were very near Dazzles but the room was still very quiet.
Stayed in a hotel near the Miami airport the previous night. Uber to the port was under $45. Loved how quickly we got on board.