Just a little background on my self and family, we are experienced cruises with RCCL and other companies. One cruise away from platinum on RCCL but have been on Disney, NCL and Carnival. So we have seen it all and this review is my opinion but little things go a long way.
Embarkation, Norfolk, VA, Well we have driven to many ports before, Miami, Baltimore and Port Canaveral and this was just awful. The price on the website for cruise terminal parking said 10/day well it changed to 15/day when we arrived, and we checked the day before. We could have parked across the street for the same price if we would have know, or stayed at a hotel for cheaper too. Check into that if you come to this port as there are cheaper options. We were in line out to the street at 1130am and were not parked and luggage offloaded until about 1230. Once parked we were on the shuttle quickly and this is where the fun began. The shuttle was about 1.5 blocks away with mediocre AC and just sitting in traffic. The terminal drop off was having issues getting cars and busses in and once in we were the 4 or 5th bus in line and instructed to stay on. At this point we were on the bus for 45 mins to go about 6-10 blocks and just talked our way off to go get in line for check-in. Check-in was quick and easy, but this was eased as we are plat. cruisers so front of the line pass. We were on the ship about 2pm and were able to get to the room and drop off the luggage since the delay getting on.
Dining: We had requested early seating on booking through RCCL and were given late so we went straight to the DR to get this changed. Well we were not alone as we saw the list had us about 20 in line so far for a table change. The first night we were asked to eat late and then they would try and make a change. Well on day two we were notified that we were indeed moved so we made the change. Well this probably was not the best option as the room was way to crowded and noisy as the room was packed with extra tables. One thing I know they don't want to do but sometimes RCCL needs to is not facilitate the moves. Crowding the early seating had a snowball effect on other issues like show seating. We normally eat in the MDR for all meals but dabble in the WJ as well just to try other options. First thing I noticed was that having early seating was service was very slow, and I think this was to so many people being in the MDR. Waiters couldn't walk around the table because we were sitting back to back at some locations so this slowed things down too. Food was OK, but not great and some days just plain awful. There was a cod catch of the day and 4 people got it at the table and nobody finished, and my fathers had bones still in the fish. One other thing was the menu had cannelloni on Italian night yet they were out of the noodles so they substituted for tortellini. That is fine, but the very next night tortellini was on the menu and it came out as ravioli, were they not aware of the next days menu and shouldn't ravioli substituted instead. Just little things that can be corrected to make a better experience RCCL has done this same trip many times out of Baltimore so they have an idea of what is needed. Lastly by day 4 they were out of V8 juice, just not really sure how that can happen too, seems to be a staple to me. Also on the last lunch in the WJ they ran out of food items too.
Cabin was as expecting mid ship with a connector door. No issues with noise and was plenty of room for the three of us staying in the room. This was a typical inside room with two Pullmans.
It was mothers day the day we were in port, so a lot of stores were closed. But there were festivals and music all through out the streets so that was nice. Didn't do much other than walk around and enjoy the sites.
We went to Sapphire Beach and paid a cab to get there from the taxi cab stand near the port entrance. The price was 10/pp each way and there was no problem getting a cab to and from the beach so no issues with getting back. The beach is a nice beach with good natural shade and facilities that were decent. We rented beach chairs that were 7/per chair and sat on the beach all day until about 230pm. I would recommend this beach as it is not crowded and easy to get to and from the cruise port. There were three of us so the trip cost 60 total and found out that budget rents cars for 60/day. So if you are so inclined and we would be next time, rent a car then you can explore more of the island, just beware they drive on the left.