Bucket-list cruise. Check-in was a bit rough: new program scanned my wife's passport and said she was born on some tropical island I've never heard of; a supervisor had to be called to update the location to NY. Night 2, around 9:45, we were in the Schooner bar having a drink and listening to Joy Wade the piano player. He was going along quite nicely, until he got bored or ran out of popular songs, and then started playing something that talked about sex and killing someone. There were a few nervous laughs from the folks sitting nearby, but we found it inappropriate and walked out. We're not prudes, but that was out of line. The rest of our cruise was great. We found the food in the main dining room to be much better than what we had on Freedom last year; even the choices in the Windjammer were better. The forays off the ship were eye-opening. We did a mix of RCCL and Costco excursions. We enjoyed them all, but driving through the impoverished areas with the shanties and garbage strewn everywhere made me feel sad. And Colon, Panama looked like Dresden after the bombings of WW2. Cartagena was beautiful. We did a Dora tour and we highly recommend it. 4 hours total between driving and walking around the city. The vendors are relentless, but a firm "No, gracias" usually did the trick. There was a running commentary during our Panama Canal transit, which was very informative. The ship was very clean, and the crew was constantly wiping down/disinfecting the common areas and handrails. We were asked EVERY day about dining in the specialty restaurants. We actually went to Chops Grill on embarkation day as part of The Key package, and dined at Giovanni's Table on the last night on board; both were excellent. Speaking of The Key, I highly recommend it. For 20 bucks per day per person, you get a lot of perks. We walked on the ship with the Diamond and Pinnacle folks, we had the free luncheon at Chops, we had the Voom Internet and streaming package on our phones for the whole cruise, we had some free and then half-price drinks, we had a bottle of sparkling wine waiting in our cabin on day 1, we had priority disembarkation at all the ports, we had reserved seats at all the shows, we had an a la carte breakfast in the dining room on the last day, and we could walk off the ship whenever we were ready to go. Everything was pretty smooth (even if the ocean wasn't on a couple of days, turning the pools into wave pools), until the day we ended in Miami. The breakfast for The Key was very nice, but afterwards, there was supposed to be someone there to escort folks to the gangway; it's no big deal, we found our way off the ship by ourselves. It was a nice touch to see Andrea, the cruise director, waiting by the gangway and wishing each guest safe travels. After getting our luggage and going through customs, there was no one from the crew directing people to the shuttle buses for the airports; there were crew members there with signs for excursions, though! We eventually found our ride, but a little nudge in the right direction would have helped. Overall, we had a really nice time on this once-in-a-lifetime (for us) cruise.
Very clean, and our attendant kept it that way with fresh towels sometimes twice a day. We had and extended balcony, so in addition to the standard round table and 2 chairs, we were able to get 2 lounge chairs on there as well. Plenty of closet and storage space for our 16 days' worth of clothes. My only issue is that most times, we couldn't hear the announcements on the speaker in our cabin; there was what looked like a volume control on the wall next to the bathroom door by the light switch, but it spun around and did nothing.
Just walked around on our own a bit.
We did the RCCL excursion "Auto Safari Chapin' which was a drive-through safari with a walking part through the rest of the zoo after. We were on a giant coach bus, which made for some 'interesting' navigating through the narrow gateways between exhibits. Also, if you were on the 'wrong' side of the bus in a particular exhibit area, you didn't get pictures. Smaller vans would have probably been better. At one point, the bus let us off to feed the giraffes from raised platforms. Guests could buy branches with leaves to feed the giraffes for 2 dollars. That was fun. The walk through part of the zoo had a lot of different animals, and some 'cats' I have never seen before at zoos in the US. Plus, the ride to the zoo was only about 45 minutes, while most other excursions had rides of at least 90-120 minutes just to get to the location.
After clearing customs, not a lot of direction from Royal as to where to board the bus for the shuttle to the airport.