We chose this cruise/ship because we can drive to Galveston & the price was right. We've cruised with Royal Caribbean (RCI) many times before, including this ship. This was not a highlight for us. The ship badly needs refurbishing, but I found it odd that little things, easy things were not addressed. Flaking paint on public doors, dirty, tarnished, and rusty exposed surfaces inside the ship that could have been cleaned as normal maintenance. A number of public restrooms, including the ones outside the main dining room were always wet and messy. The stateroom was clean and pleasant. The steward forgot our first request for additional towels, and the purser's desk also forgot after being asked. The steward promised to be available anytime, giving us his card... called him 2x and both times he was off-duty even though it wasn't at any odd hour. Otherwise he was good.
We always ate in the main dining room: My Fair Lady, rather than mill about in the Windjammer. Breakfast and lunch service was cool at best. The waiters always looked like they'd rather be anywhere else, and when I asked them to make me a milkshake with my nutrition supplement, they were put-out at first, but after that meal, did it with a smile, but never prepared it as I asked (nothing special). Dinner service was better, but I don't recall ever having waiters with so little personality. I'm used to cheerful banter and interchange - nope! The food was ok, but with every cruise, it seems to more approach cafeteria style on fancy dinnerware. The shrimp cocktail was room temperature, the creme brulee was cool. Should have been the other way around. Cherries jubilee was straight out of a can with a side of barely ice cream. One night's fish was so dry I couldn't swallow it. For breakfast, I always ordered eggs over medium. First day it came over hard; second time it had runny whites. When I mentioned it to the waiter, he replied "maybe tomorrow they'll get it right". Really? Pasta was always under-cooked and not drained well; e.g., quite hard and starchy. Silverware: Yup, they know how to lay it out, but not what it's used for. They kept clearing pieces that were needed for the next course. And speaking of clearing, on several occasions, they tried to clear the meal when we were nowhere near done. Rush, rush, rush.
And yet, with this slow decline in food and service, RCI has raised their "service charge" again. To pay all those people behind the scenes that they underpay. Still, any cruise is a vacation and better than a good day at work. The funny thing was on the last 2 days, there were constant "aren't we wonderful", and don't forget to give us a big positive in the survey.
The high/low light of the trip was when my wife tripped over a damaged, raised plate on the floor leading into the Orpheum Theatre and fell forward on her face. Security investigated and took pictures, and we went to the clinic. X-rays disclosed no broken bones, but she got a purple swollen lip and will be seeing an endodontist to check for root damage. Ship's response: They credited our account for $200. which took care of a few drinks and the "service charge" that I was going to cancel anyway at that point. In other words - a few drinks. No apologies. I still prefer RCI to NCL and definitely to Carnival, but it's all heading downhill. I guess it's an attempt to keep prices down by reducing food and service costs.
Always clean. No complaints, and the sound isolation seems to be excellent. There were screamers around and when the doors were shut, we never heard them. They towels were a bit industrial, as I supposed they would be with constant hot washes and sterilization. Not Marriott level. The towel animals were cute, but no more mints on the pillows. Gotta keep those costs down. All lights worked (remembering Carnival where there were a lot of burned out and broken fixtures), and the bed was comfortable.