Port Canaveral Arrival:
We live on the east side of Orlando so I time it as follows: Leave house at 12 noon, park at the new garage at the Port (85 dollars for the Monday through Friday cruise; pay as you enter via automated gate, very easy), get through security and walk in room at 100 pm (we roll are own luggage on). There were four of us travelling; us mid fifties and our two adult (21/24) sons.
As stated above, was parked by 1230, through security by 1245, checked in with a rep by 1255 and walked in room just as they were opening. Since Royal has numerous check in reps roaming with hand-held devices we barely stopped walking from the time we got through security and got to our rooms. Why any one would pay for the"Key" or worry about status is beyond me at check in. As long as you had your set sail pass and docs/passports in hand you get checked in at lightning speed. Seapass cards waiting at room.
We had two balcony rooms on the "hump" port side, floor 6. Excellent location, easy access to promenade and lower decks. Ships looks great, clean; rooms are average, could use updating. Put your water, soda in cooler/fridge right away. It does not get very cold. Cabin attendant was fine; quiet fellow but was around as needed and kept ice for us in our rooms as asked (extra cash tip likely helped). Lots of pushy up-sell for dining packages, specialty restaurants at boarding. We just said a polite no and kept walking. Plus the promenade looks more like a flea market with all the t-shirts, watches and junk littering the entire area. Not appealing at all.
We bought the ultimate drink packages prior to sailing; I think we paid about 48 dollars a person (was watching on-line) per day. Good thing; the price was 81 a day for the first person and then "half price" for second person if you bought day of sailing. RCCL has got to be kidding with this "half price" gimmick. Whatever. Drink package well worth it. A domestic 16 ounce beer is now 9 dollars plus 18 percent gratuity, wine 13, and it only goes up from there. You also get the soda, bottled water, etc. with package and can use it on CoCo Cay. So we were happy with the drink package. Still carried on two bottles of wine for room and soda allowance (12 pack) for room cooler. No drinks cards ever sold (4 night cruise).
Same old same old; stand outside and sweat for 20 minutes. We got there as late as possible. Plenty of time to get topside for sail away. Lots of servers on deck.
Food was average at best. The MDR (used two of four nights) was half full. Service was very good. Wear whatever you want because no one cares anymore. Main courses tasted bland and "banquet" quality, mass produced. I know it's mass produced but was not as good as previous cruises. MDR breakfast was better than dinner. My favorite omelet of the week (ham/cheese) was the one that came with room service.
The Wingoldjamcorraler was a buffet; feeding trough. Borderline disgusting. Not sure what was worse the people there or the food. Just a mess. Horrible coffee, and something that sort of resembled orange juice. Best part about it was the guys singing as you walked in.
Pizza on promenade best we have ever had on RCCL. Sandwiches actually pretty good also. Donuts in morning stale. Decent hot dogs/brats, slaw, potato salad on pool deck. Two ice cream machines on pool deck worked great, hardly any lines.
Not sure why but never, ever, once waited for a drink at any bar, including pool. Sat in solarium one day, multiple roving servers. Even at Schooner Bar, casino bar, pub, etc., all had multiple bar tenders who were beyond helpful. Even the pools never seemed crowded and we got two chairs in solarium on sea day.
Playmakers is nice but never saw anyone once order any food; it was never crowded. Bamboo lounge nice also as well as Pub. Great singer in there multiple nights and no one was ever in there, had the whole place to ourselves; we love live music but all the venues seemed to be under attended for some reason.
It is an absolute joke that it is almost 2020 and there is still smoking on half the pool deck and the casino. The casino smoke escapes into most of the areas surrounding the space; it is awful. On the pool deck parents were sucking down cigarettes, sitting with there small children; horrible. Hey Royal, just stop it, now. Designate some smoking areas away from the ones that are infecting the rest of the ship.
We have been CoCo Cay several times. This is such a vast improvement it is hard to describe. Great food (two big venues with incredible array of fresh Tex Mex, salads and more, snack shacks with take away burgers, chicken sandwiches, mozzarella sticks). I liked the food better here than on the ship. Go to Youtube, there are numerous great videos showcasing the Island. Remember, you do not have to pay for a thing; all the zip lines, hot air balloons, water park are optional; there are more than enough beach chairs, umbrellas for all; and we got there late morning. Lunch in the big venues goes to 330 in the afternoon; zero lines ample tables. No other cruise lines private island comes close to this. Plus your drink package follows you on island and with the permanent dock the ship will never miss the stop (which happened allot before).
No (fake) service/emotional support animals!! Yes....!
Very friendly, seems like a happy crew. Much happier than our last cruise on Independence.
Pretty good; Guy from Jersey Boys show in Vegas was great; magician was entertaining. Comic probably not right for this ship (older female; more appropriate for a Holland America crowd). Cruise director was funny; do not recall his name, is from Chile and seemed like a nice enough guy.
We booked our own private excursion (less than 8 people) on a small boat; 4 hours (two snorkeling stops, remote beach, drinks, snacks included, very reasonable price); 5 dollar a person cab ride to a small marina. Allot of you are "stay on the boat" in Nassau people; do yourself a favor and get on Tripadvisor and find some out of the way things to do. New Providence is a beautiful island and there is lots to see and do beyond the Port; friendly people and great out of the way stops if you look. We did not go this trip but Atlantis is free (hotel/lobby/aquarium) after 5 pm. All aboard was 830 pm so many times you will have the chance.
We did self assist off. Left room at 705 am (had to be out of rooms by 8 am anyway - did not really want to do the buffet madhouse on last morning); took elevator down to four and never stopped walking. One last seapass card scan (funny, one lady got stopped by security at last scan, was told to go to guest services/not allowed to leave ship - never seen that before), walked down to Customs; exited via facial recognition/never showed passport or anything. Was in car by 725. Some of you people remember what a zoo debarks were; this is such a vast improvement it is hard to describe how easy it is now.
Great four night cruise; I think the 3 night would feel rushed. Mariner is such an improvement over the last ships that did this cruise (Majesty/Enchantment/Monarch); and having been on the bigger ships than Mariner, do not think could ever go on this cruise on anything smaller than Mariner.
Would give it an 8/10 rating. CoCo Cay was definite high point. Only advice I would give is shop prices early (drink packages/even cruise fare); because prices were dramatically higher closer to sailing (for cruise fare also; book as early as you can).