This was our 5th cruise and first on Royal Caribbean (have another one planned in Oct). Have sailed Norwegian and Princess twice each before. Since we live in Texas, Galveston is great to sail from as no air travel is needed. Something ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise and first on Royal Caribbean (have another one planned in Oct). Have sailed Norwegian and Princess twice each before. Since we live in Texas, Galveston is great to sail from as no air travel is needed. Something broke down on embarkation and line was long and slow, but disembarkation was fast and early!
SHIP: Needs a third bank of elevators at the aft - long walk to them from our cabin. Remodeled, but the Promenade Deck 5 was way too crowded - bars, shops, kiosks in the middle - way too much. Way too many jewelry stores and not enough clothing stores. At sale times, the Promenade looks more like a Morrocan Bazaar than an elegant shopping area. RC could take some design tips from Princess. The Casino is in middle of ship on Deck 4 with both ends open so bars with entertainers like Boleros & Schooners on Deck 4 smelled the smoke. Smoke drifted up the open stairs to Deck 5 all the time. You had to pass thru Casino to get from one area to another on 4. Also, there was a staircase going from the Casino up to the Promenade on 5 and acted like a chimney and funneled all that smoke up. Worst thing - it was right next to the wine bar on 5 so did not make for good swirling, sniffing, and sipping of wine. Very poor design. Stairs need to be closed. Casino needs to be at one end, up high, vented to outside and completely closed from rest of ship - gamblers will find it! but other passengers will not have to smell it!
ENTERTAINMENT: Never went to the theater but heard comedian wasn't very good. Best entertainment was the ice skating show. It was marvelous! Very professional and did a lot in that small space. Wish they had 2 different shows each cruise. Liked the CW band at Boleros, but time interferred with dinner so not much time to dance until started again at 10:45 - too late for me. Never made it to the piano bar at Schooners as was always too crowded. Both of these entertainment bars need to be given more space and away from smoke. Watched the flow rider and rock climbing wall - wish I was young enough to do it.
DINING: Ate one breakfast and lunch in Windjammers - OK but nothing special. Coffee was awful, so we bought Starbucks at the Promenade Cafe and sat on our deck to drink it. Food was great in the dining room at lunch (3) and dinner (3). Had anytime dining with no problem getting in and had same area and waitstaff - Eglan & Carl. Ate at all 4 specialty restaurants - all very good, but Izumi is all a la carte pricing with no added fee. Turned out to be very expensive. The others are worth the surcharge.
EXCURSIONS: Only went on one excursion through the ship - Salsa, Salsa, Margaritas (Cozumel) - and really enjoyed it. Was not available privately. Did the stingray/snorkel tour privately on Grand Caymen. No need to pay ship prices as all people/boats do same thing at same time so find cheapest. Tendering on GC is a hassle. They need to build a port like at Falmough. Line to get back to ship was so long, I am surprised no one was left (don't really know).
OVERALL: Except for some design flaws, really enjoyed the ship and cruise, but probably won't do those islands again. Will try the Eastern Caribbean next and may or may not go RC depends on time, price, cabin availability. The ship is not as important to me as the itinerary. Read Less