We booked the Cruise fairly late, through a local trusted travel agent. Our flights, via Easy Jet were independent of the Cruise and were fine for what they were - no complaints.Upon arrival at Malaga, having collected our luggage we were met by two RCCL reps who directed us to the area to collect our inclusive transfer. As per usual, we did not see our luggage again until it was delivered to our State Room.We were lucky, in that the coach left the airport within 5 minutes of our boarding; however, one passenger was moaning that they had been waiting for ages. I guess that is the luck of the draw.The coach journey from the airport to the Cruise Port was approx. 20 minutes and was comfortable and uneventful.Upon arrival at the port two long lines had formed, one for those with luggage (independent travelers), the other, for those without luggage, such as us.Although appearing long, the lines moved very quickly, and within a few minutes we were within the terminal and were directed to an even shorter line, which moved even quicker to the check in staff.Be careful....the Spanish don't know the meaning of the word line, and if you give an inch, they will take a mile and push in where they can, this was experienced throughout the trip. We cant however, blame RCCL for this!As we had completed our Cruise questionnaire online and have printed the 'Sea Pass', if we were at the check in desk for longer than three minutes it was a long time. We were there just long enough for RCCL to take an imprint of my pre registered credit card, to be issued with our charge/key cards and to complete a health questionnaire.We then followed the signs and headed onto the ship via a welcome aboard photo. Being a Coke Drinker, as usual I signed up for the Soda package, which provided I had at least three soft drinks a day (which I did), worked out to be very good value.Being the 'foodie' that I am, upon embarkation we headed straight to the Windjammer Cafe on Deck 11. As expected, it was busy, but again, lines moved quickly and we quickly found a table to sit at.I cant stress enough, that now having done a number of Cruises, I must say that the food served in the Windjammer was fantastic, probably, the freshest, hottest, well presented and variety that I have come across.Having fed my rotund stomach, we headed to our Room, 8226, which was port side virtually at the front with a balcony.The room was exactly as expected, being well proportioned, very clean, ample closet space, nice balcony ......in fact, no different than any other Cruise Line in size (although layout slightly different) and more than adequate. My only complaint, although again, not RCCLs fault, as we booked so late the position of this cabin was the only one available, therefore we had a long walk to get anywhere.Over the years, we have seen all Cruise lines cut back a little each year. On this Cruise we noted that no toiletries were provided except for soak and shampoo. Long gone are the days of robes and luxury toiletries being provided it would seem. The one disappointing item (which my Mrs. Wont be impressed with, with me mentioning) was that we did not receive a little chocolate on our pillow at night. When I casually enquired about this I was told that RCCL ceased this practice three years earlier.......which I'm not sure is actually the case.We had a walk around the ship. Full compliments to RCCL for what really is a beautiful vessel in excellent decorative order. The weather had a lot to be desired and therefore we were unable to make use of the Swimming Pools or Sun Decks, but they certainly matched every other ship we have been on.Although not for us, the external rock climbing wall was impressive as was the Ice Skating ring, which despite my wife's best intentions, she never actually got round to using.On a Cruise ship I normally spend half my time waiting for lifts. Strangely, on this ship the lifts were fast and we noticeably didn't have to wait long.Having Cruised with RCCL some 17 years previously, we failed to mention this when we booked. Whilst in the UK, through our travel agents RCCL acknowledged our previous cruise and therefore we were entered into the Crown and Anchor society. When on board, we identified that this had not been carried across to our room key (indication) and that no other benefits were provided. Upon visit the guest relations lady, who was more than helpful, she noted our previous cruise, applied labels to our room keys and issued us with the discount booklet and ensured we were invited to the welcome back party.The discount book was well worth having as it included discounts on the Internet packages, free drinks and discounts to onboard purchases.Having packed my laptop so that we could communicate with our Children via Skype and so that I could log into my office and check emails etc.....we purchased a 500 minute Internet Package, which, in the end was excessive which cost us $145.00 with discount from the discount book. I was disappointed that the data socket in our room did not work and we did not have Wi-Fi in our cabin. This left us using a few Wi-Fi Hotspots around the ship. RCCL - if anything, please enable the Data sockets in the cabins or provide Wi-Fi throughout!Internet Access throughout our trip, whilst not as fast as land based was more than adequate.Dinner time - we opted for first sitting at 6.45 and requested a table of 8. We got exactly what we asked for and were seated with 6 other people from the UK, all of whom were very pleasant. The choice of food would suit anyone's palette. Our Waiter was very attentive and polite, always offering his recommendation of the day having gone into great detail about each course. Equally, the assistant waiter was very efficient. On the first evening I requested a regular coke. From that moment on, every evening upon sitting down a regular coke would appear, and when that was finished, it was replaced as was my wife's water. Likewise, another member of our table had a taste for ketchup with everything, low and behold, a bottle of ketchup was by her seat each evening. The meal was three courses (most other Cruises have been 4 courses) and no petite pours afterwards (first cruise never to be offered these), but plenty of tea and coffee. Although not on the menu, I asked for Cheese and Biscuits in place of (or on occasion as well as) dessert which was forthcoming with a good selection of cheese.The Head Waiter came to our table each evening and spoke to each of us in turn ensuring that we were delivering what was expected....and it was.On three of the evenings the waiters did a song and dance routine, which was appreciated by all and were great photo opportunities.My wife and I took the opportunity of having breakfast in each of the locations offered on different days, this being the Windjammer, one of three restaurants which offered a buffet and another of the three restaurants which offered À la carte. The choice and quality of food in each was fantastic. The advantage of the A la carte menu was that I could have Kippers, a personal favorite of mine. In the end, the Windjammer was a personal favorite for variety with everything you would expect for a Full English Breakfast, to Continental Breakfast and everything in between. All served freshly, hot and tasty. As expected, an Omelet Station was also provided and there were no long lines for toast (of which there were several options available).Whilst lunch was available in one of the Dining Rooms we chose to lunch each day, except the final day in the Windjammer. For those that wanted them, they had hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza as well as full lunches with a different carvery each day with a variety of potatoes, vegetables and salads.On our last day on board we sampled Jonny Rockets which had a small surcharge for as much as you could eat. The restaurant is an American themed restaurant serving burgers, hotdogs, shakes, floats etc.....with the waiters performing a show and dancing every half an hour. Withy prior knowledge of what was on offer, due to our own dietary constraints we could not eat any of the meat products, however, everyone else was commenting on how great it all tasted.RCCL - Please note. We were very disappointed to note that unlike any other Cruise we have ever been on, the Windjammer Cafe closed each evening with no Midnight Buffet (acknowledged as being a thing of the past). Whilst a Cafe on the Promenade deck (deck 5) is open 24 hours, the only items available were slices of pizza, cakes and biscuits. I have come accustomed to visiting the 24 hour buffet, if only to look and not eat (well, I normally have something!) before bed, after all, with the first dining sitting being at 6.45 pm I can get hungry!Unusually for us, we only ordered room service once; this was for early morning coffee and tea to our room. It arrived earlier than expected, but in fairness, they telephoned us ahead to say it was on route. The Room service menu was comprehensive, although RCCL charged for room service between midnight and 05.00 - only approx $4, but still something we are not used to.The Cruise Director and his staff were excellent. There were three parades along the main 'Royal Promenade' during the Cruise which can be compared to a Disney Main Street Parade. Whilst we only attended the last one, we were told they were very enjoyable.The ship provided entertainment each evening with two shows included. Unfortunately, whilst they were to a high standard they were not to our personal liking. The shows did not have a story line as such with a few of us, despite the noise, dropping off to sleep. It is clear that when a Cruise has many non English guests, such as this Cruise had, the feasibility of having comics is unlikely and a decent proportion of the guests would not be able to understand the humor or the language. It was very interesting and important to note that during the behind the scenes tour we were told that a show lasts on a ship for up to 5 years, therefore, depending on when you travel, if you were to travel on this vessel again in the near future you would more than likely see the same entertainment, excepting guest entertainers of course.The Ice show was particularly good, repeated twice a day on each of the two sea days. However, the Ice Skaters did fall over a few times during each show! Until the end of the show it was difficult to guess what the theme of the show was...it turned out to be fashion.As expected, the onboard Orchestra was excellent as was the Pianist in the Schooner Bar and other music provided at various bars around the ship.The Bingo was well attended and presented well, unfortunately, we didn't win anything but the cash prizes were decent amounts.Being old and tired we didn't venture into the Disco.Like so many other ships, this cruise included an art auction, which is something my wife and I particularly enjoy. As usual, despite my wife holding my arm down so I couldn't bid, I won and we ended up purchasing two items of art at fantastic value. The auctioneer was excellent in his delivery and knowledge of the works of art and his team was very professional. It has to be acknowledged that the Spanish generally don't purchase art at sea and the contingent of the guests was not the type that would ordinarily purchase art. I therefore doubt that despite his best efforts if the auctioneer met his target! The free champagne was flowing at each auction.RCCL Please note - we were very disappointed with the goods sold within your on board shops. RCCL missed lots of opportunity to sell branded goods such as photo albums and RCCL branded chocolate etc... which would have made ideal gifts; unfortunately we had to purchase gifts on land. Our Cruise included two ports of call, Tenerife and Madeira, whilst a Varity of Ship Excursions were available none of them appealed to us, so we got off the ship and made our own arrangements.Disembarkation was simple and unhurried, unlike previous cruises we did not feel that we were being pushed off the ship.Value for money - In my opinion excellent value for money. Whilst know one ever pays brochure price I can tell you that the price we paid in total, which included the flights (and one suitcase each), plus transfer to and from the ship was exceptional. There was talk around the ship that some passengers paid £150.00! Each (for an inside cabin)...if true, £150.00 for a 5 night inclusive cruise is unbelievable. Whilst I am not crying for RCCL, even with the quantity of scales involved (over 3000 passengers and 1,200 crew) it is difficult to see how RCCL made any money, maybe this is why the little things that I have picked up on that we expected and weren't in place, were indeed, not included.
Great Balcony. Quiet, Clean, spacious, long walk. More than adequate