We sailed out of Cape Liberty, NJ on Dec. 28th, 2019, at 3:00 PM for an eight day cruise. We returned on Jan. 5th, 2020 to the same port at 6:00 AM. We had three ports of call; Cape, Nassau, Bahamas and Royals own Island "Perfect Day".
We are long time fans of this Cruise Line. This was are 8th cruise in the last 15 years. Our last on the line was just three years ago. Historically, we would tell everyone who would listen what a great deal vacationing with Royal Caribbean was. We even carry their VISA awards card. So we have a history to compare this cruise to.
First; they have changed their business model and not for the good. They now are pushing the drink packages on you. We discussed this option before leaving and not being big drinkers decided against it. We arrived the day of departure and I ordered a double vodka, with club. The cost for this drink was $19.00, which included an auto applied 18% gratuity. In the past the drinks on board had been priced pretty much the same as any on shore restaurant. So we buy the drink package for the week. The cost of the drink packages amounted to $531.00 per person. Or, as the sell the package, just $66.38 per day. Given that your really on the ship only seven days and eight nights this figure jumps to $75.86 per day. Again invoice states your gratuities for bar, restaurant, etc. are included in your fare, they add 18% to cover your bar bill in your drink package...
The only shore excursion was to Cape Canaveral unfortunately it was booked full. We took the bus to Coco Beach. It was a rather windy day and not really a beach day.
The food on this trip was not up to the past experiences. We found the portions to be small and the meal was just OK. Perfect Day Island is well done; they charge 12 service fee on any purchases. Our son really enjoyed the water park.
We ate at both Chops Steak House and The Italian restaurants.On past cruises Royal gave you a credit for the dining room meal that you were passing on for the different dining experience. A credit is no longer being given. The price of the two restaurants was about what you would pay for an up scale city outing. We thought both restaurants were good but not great. Service was good, waiters were friendly.
We booked two cabins which we were lead to believe were across from each other. (10545 and 10544). To our surprise the cabins were located some distance apart and 544 was an interior cabin off the port side and 545 was located on the starboard side. The rooms were clean and did look like the pictures on line. The room service was very good. The TV in 545 kept going off and each time it was used it needed to be powered down and restarted.
Cape Canaveral was full before the ship left port. The only other stop was on the Royal Caribbean owned Island called Perfect Day. Here they charge a 12% service fee on any purchases. The Island is well done. They have all the expected tourist type stores for your buying pleasure for: the tees, hats, etc. .