Third cruise overall, third with Royal, first through Asia. The overall experience had pluses and minuses when compared to previous sailings through the South Pacific (on Radiance and Explorer).
Pros - the indoor pool was a great space to relax with the kids outside of the harsh SE-Asian sun, with the air-conditioning just right (not too cold, not too hot). The Solarium was a beautiful space when I got the child-free opportunity to spend time there, which was not often. The 270* theatre is a peaceful location by day with gorgeous panoramic views of the sea. And lastly, the Music Hall is a terrific venue not found on other ships.
Cons - The central Esplanade is a poor substitute for the Promenade or the Centrum found on other classes of RC ships. It felt like a soulless, exclusive shopping mall. There were very few areas on the ship where I felt like I had a connection to the ocean (in contrast to Radiance class ships where you can't escape sweeping ocean views). The staff service (Stateroom Attendant excepted) was poor to fair. Example - the Adventure Ocean staff were stern, unhelpful and appeared put out that you would even use their services. Bar staff were similar, sadly. I'll just put this down to a symptom of sailing an Asian cruise targeting international clientele, perhaps? I missed the Main Dining Room experience, which on Quantum Class is divided up into separate restaurants. It doesn't quite work, for me.
Other observations - the Windjammer was constantly crowded. Bigger ship, bigger crowds I guess. The North Star was interesting, but really just a gimmick. iFly similar - good to try it and say 'I've done it'. Some terrific shows, including Sonic Odyssey and Starwater. Comedian Sam McCool played some gigs and was a standout.
Conclusion - A cruise is a cruise and it's hard not to find something or somewhere enjoyable to spend your time. And this was certainly my experience. However for the first time I was not unhappy to disembark at the end. I will likely stick to smaller to mid-size ships in future.
2 adults and 2 kids meant our interior cabin would be a tad squishy. The kids had a fold out sofa bed which reduced the space further, however we never felt particularly cramped. The room was perfectly suitable for our needs. The virtual balcony was a useful addition to our experience, but not something I would pay extra for if it was an optional extra.
Was great to have an overnight anchoring off Patong Beach. It allowed two full days to enjoy Phuket.
Day 1, Phang Nah Bay excursion - spent a 2-hour bus ride to reach the long boat. The boat ride was ok, the views in the bay are quite speccy. But damn, that 2 hour bus journey is ludicrous. That's 4 hours out of the day, spent sitting on a bus. Not worth it in my view.
Patong Beach - a lively beach where you can simply lounge around, buy some cheap beers by the roadside, have a massage, or engage in watersports, depending on your inclination.