Embarkation at San Diego was quick and easy and it's worth mentioning that we stayed at the Holiday Inn just across the road from the cruise terminal which was amazingly convenient.
The cabin (stateroom) and bathroom were clean and showed almost no sign of wear and tear.
The itinerary was an excellent balance of ports of call and days at sea. There was a full day at sea at the start before arriving at Cabo San Lucas. On the return there were 2 days at sea after leaving Puerto Vallarta and we would have preferred the 2 days at sea to be at the start of the cruise as opposed to at the end of the cruise. The other places visited were Mazatlan, Acapulco and Ixtapa (Zihuatanejo). In Cabo we hit the beach which is lively and entertaining. In Mazatlan we did the canopy zip lining tour which we booked direct with the organiser via the web saving ourselves some $40 per person - great fun and recommended. In Acapulco we hired a taxi and guide for a 4 hour tour with the main aim of seeing the world famous divers which for us was just about the only thing worth seeing. We saw the divers from the El Mirador hotel where for a small fee we had 2 drinks each and we added some cheesy nachos. We had a fantastic view of the divers from our table on the shady terrace. In Zihuatanejo we went ashore for a couple of hours for a walk around the very pretty town where we noticed the ship's crew buying freshly landed fish on the beach. In Puerto Vallarta we spent the day on the beach where the swimming was excellent.
On the days at sea we had no problem finding empty sunbeds however the incessant live music nearly drove us mad - whatever happened to some peace and quiet? Live music is great in small doses and especially if the band and singer are good - this band was pretty bad! The bar waiters always seem to be around when you least feel like a drink and then you can never find one when you do. Drink prices are high as is the compulsory service charge however you expect that with American cruise lines. What we dislike is the space for additional tips on all the cabin charge receipts and the need to fill out the total before signing. We believe that this puts passengers under pressure to tip even though the 15% service charge is already added.
We ate breakfast in our cabin most mornings in an attempt not to eat too much. Room service is not bad but one morning our breakfast came almost an hour earlier than requested. Often the order was incorrect and one of our biggest grumbles is that the hot water for tea is delivered in a jug that has been used for coffee therefore the water is always tainted by coffee flavour and makes the tea taste revolting. Royal Caribbean - you have to do something about this because the staff do not understand the frustration when they consistently keep bringing coffee flavoured hot water for tea. The only way to get a decent cup of tea was to either buy it at Lattetudes or after dinner when it was served in a proper tea pot.
Breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer cafe is excellent and the quality of the food cannot be faulted. In fact the food in the Windjammer is far superior to the food served in the main restaurant (Cascades). The only complaint we had about Windjammer is the time it takes for the tables to be cleared after they have been vacated especially on the outside terrace where the staff don't appear to be under supervision. However we now wish that we had eaten in the Windjammer for some of our dinners as the food is so much better.
The service we received in the restaurant was excellent by our waiter Sergey and his assistant. However apart from a few exceptions the food was a disappointment. The food delivered often did not resemble the menu descriptions and the main thing missing was taste! On 3 occasions we ate in the premium restaurants at a supplement of $20 per person which is well worth the additional charge. The Chops Grille was good but not fantastic however the Portofino was excellent.
Wine is very expensive and we purchased the Platinum wine package to try to get some of the better wines at a slight reduction. Again the service charge is a killer!
The entertainment was very good as far as cruise ship entertainment goes however we still don't like the shows for second sitting diners being before dinner as opposed to after. We only saw 3 shows as a result and would definitely had seen more if they followed dinner.
The Starquest nightclub and bar on deck 13 is a great venue with its revolving bar - much better than being housed below decks like on the bigger ships. As usual though with all Royal Caribbean and Celebrity DJs the DJ played music that he liked and not what the audience wanted unless it was a themed night e.g. 70s, 80s or Motown. Also he was quite rude, even over the microphone when we pointed out that no one was dancing. It's unfortunate when staff forget who the customers are. However we met a great crowd of people in this bar and we managed to have a great time despite the DJs choice of music and as mentioned it is the same on all Royal Caribbean and Celebrity ships we've cruised on. We did chat to the Cruise Director about it and he sympathised and apologised.
The cabin was kept very clean however our cabin attendant was not exactly the most friendly of people although polite at all times. Be warned - don't use the laundry facilities as your clothes will be ruined. They will either shrink or be discoloured. We had a number of shirts and T shirts laundered on board and they are ruined, not noticed until we returned to the UK.
All in all we had a great holiday and despite the moans about food etc above we would still cruise with Royal Caribbean if the itinerary suits and the choice of cruise lines is limited and preferably on a Radiance class ship. However there are visible cutbacks and it is reflected in the quality of the food which after all is a key element of the cruise. We believe that this needs to be addressed by the company otherwise passengers will migrate to other companies.
For a standard balcony cabin it was roomy and there was plenty of storage space.