My husband and I were part of a family cruise group of 10. This was his first cruise, and my first in 30 years. Our entire group purchased The Key, and we purchased the Unlimited Drinks package.
Embarkation was super easy with The Key. Once we were checked in, we all walked straight on the ship and went to the dining room for our Chops welcome lunch. Our carry-on bags were brought to our rooms for us, which was a huge help since most of our group had garment bags for our formal dresses and sport coats. Luggage was delivered late afternoon before dinner.
Our cabin steward, Joe, was very helpful and friendly. He loved to put my husband's sunglasses on the towel animals he made for us each day, which we enjoyed.
Throughout our trip, the dining staff were all wonderful! We did the MyTime dining, which was helpful if we wanted to dine at a different time than the regular seating, but we usually dined at 6 each night at the same table in the Main Dining Room. Our waiters Oldrin and Sanjeev were wonderful, and they learned our favorite foods and wines quickly. (Sanjeev even went up to the Promenade to get us cappucinos since their machine was broken, and he surprised us with port wine for dessert on the last night!) The head waiter, Alvaro, took special care for an anniversary dinner on Valentine's Day. We had brought 2 bottles of sparkling wine with us for that night, and he personally served them to us with chilled champagne glasses! We only ate a couple of meals in the Windjammer, which we found to be a zoo with too many people.
We spent a lot of time in the Schooner Bar playing trivia during the days, and having fun with the piano player at night. (Jamie was really good, but there were several popular songs that he didn't know.) Shanelle was a fantastic bartender, and she kept the signature lavender daquiris full!
The entertainment was all very good. The Up In The Air aerial show was entertaining, the juggler/comedian was hilarious, and Saturday Night Live was also very good (although not particularly family-friendly). The headliner comedian (Steve?) was just OK, but he did make us laugh.
The ship itself was HUGE, and it really had everything we could want on it. Since we were all adults, no one in our group used the kids' areas. I can say the adult Solarium was nice, and we enjoyed the hot tubs (plenty of drink waiters here!). We didn't get a chance to do the water slides or mini golf. We spent a couple of afternoons in the Card Room playing a family game of dominoes. If you want to play, I highly recommend bringing your own cards or dominoes; they didn't have Uno cards at all, and the playing card decks were almost always in use.
We did 3 shore excursions, none of which were through Royal Caribbean. I will say that we enjoyed all three ports (Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Famouth Jamaica).
Debarkation was fine as well. Captain McDonald sped back to Galveston from Jamaica because he was concerned that we'd hit fog, and he was correct! We pulled in 7 hours early, and awoke to very thick fog, but thanks to his planning, there was no delay. The gangway was not functioning properly, so we got off on Deck 1. Again, The Key was a big help. We had a nice breakfast in the MDR and then we were escorted straight off the ship. Our luggage was waiting for us in a designated area, too.
Our group all had Ocean View cabins on deck 3. The cabin was adequate for what little time we spent in it. We had plenty of closet space, although a few more drawers would have been helpful. We had been forewarned about the lack of plugs, so our multi-outlet/USB plug was a huge help! There is one Euro 220 plug, but we didn't have a voltage adapter for it. The bed was a little hard, but we all slept well. The shower was TINY but it worked fine.
We stayed overnight at the new Holiday Inn Express Galveston Beach on Seawall Blvd, and ate dinner at The Spot next door.
We reserved in advance online, and took a group taxi ($150 for 10, and the driver waited for us) there and back. The food was very good, and the drinks were strong. We loved the peaceful beach (no loud music/noise) and shaded palapas. The pool and hot tub were nice! It was a very good day!View All 696 Beach Reviews
AWESOME experience! Small group (25) on a very nice boat. The crew got in the water and helped handle the rays for us. The photographer took everyone's pictures and we bought the package for a good price. Snorkel stop was nice, and the crew helped us with equipment and getting on/off. Transportation was included to and from their office right by the port. HIGHLY recommend!View All 795 Stingray Swim Reviews
Jaital picked us up at the port in a nice bus, and took us to/from the resort. We bought the day passes at the resort, which included plenty of drinks, buffet lunch, and beach/pool. The resort itself was beautiful and everything there was great. HIGHLY recommend!View All undefined undefined Reviews