Before I write the review you should know my wife and I are 66/67 years of age and this review is written from our age point of view. The embarkation and disembarkation was quick and easy with very little waiting time. We had booked a “deluxe ocean view stateroom with balcony”. The room was very clean and compact but we managed to store everything away without too many problems. (Tip: store cases under the bed).
The bathroom was small, the shower more like a large tube, but it worked ok. There was no shower gel, only shampoo and conditioner and a thin bar of soap for the sink and one for the shower. (we were into the second week when my wife told me the shampoo/conditioner was not shower gel. I had been using it to wash with!!!)
The bed was comfortable and the balcony had a table and two chairs. The cabin steward looked after our room really well and was very friendly.
The food in all the restaurants we ate in was excellent as were the staff. We never had cause for any complaints and there was a good choice in all the restaurants. We did try two of the speciality restaurants (extra charge) Chop’s Grill and Johnny Rockets a US themed dinner, both excellent. The buffet restaurant did tend to get crowded (Tip: Get a seat before you get your food). There was a 24 hour snack bar open where you could get tea, coffee, and various snacks free. It also housed Starbucks coffee and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream these were extra charges. There were other points round the ship where you could get tea or coffee free. There was also a free soft ice cream point. We were very happy with the food.
The ship is big, takes over 3000 passengers which leads to problems finding seats in any of the numerous bars or social areas. We spent time on our balcony reading as we did have trouble finding a place to read in peace. The library/games room was always full. We always manage to find a space round the pool. There was a big casino open all sea days and smoking was allowed in the casino, so we kept clear of that. There was a promenade looked like a small street with a bar and various shops (all designer). The bar was always packed and the shops were selling diamond jewelry and Tag Huer watches etc, they did have the odd market sale with cheaper items. There was an art gallery and they held a few art auctions through the cruise. There were plenty of lifts to get you up and down the decks.
The entertainment every night was different, some good, some not so good, but that is personal preference. The shows were at 7 and repeated at 9. There was also an ice ring and one show was on six times through the cruise, as it was restricted seating in the ice ring, it was very good. Currency on board was $. The ship was also wheelchair friendly, there were a lot of wheelchairs and electric cart users. Most of the passengers were over 60, not many young people as kids were back at school. Dislikes; thought the drinks were expensive. Thought the shore trips were expensive. I did not like the way the gratuities were handled. Each passenger was charged $12.95 daily so $25.90 per couple. You could go to reception and change or stop this if you wanted. We decided to pay it. Towards the end of the cruise I took a close look at a bar receipt and noticed that 18% was added to each drink as a gratuity. Perhaps Royal Caribbean should pay a decent wage to their staff and not rely on cruisers to supplement their pay.
$12.95 x 3000 = $38850 (a day) x14 days = $543900. Sorry for my rant!!
Overall we had a good time, the staff were great, the food was good and the weather was good. Would I travel Royal Caribbean again, yes I would now I know what to expect.