In south Florida for a relative's wedding and decided to cruise with brother and his family who has sailed on Royal Caribbean for several years. This was cruise number 18 for me but have only cruised on Carnival and Princess until this cruise.
Embarkation- was in a junior suite so went to the suite line- very fast and we were on the ship in 30 minutes.
The Ship- oh my gosh, it was lovely! The ship decor was classy and not the overt tackiness of some of the other ships I have been on (sometimes I do like tackiness). The ship was a smaller ship but I found it very easy to find my way around. The champagne bar was very small and intimate, we spent a lot of time there. The promenade had many shops, I did get some Gelato which was good. My husband got Starbucks a few times but otherwise it did not utilize the clothing/jewelry shops
Beverages- I had the basic soda package and found many places to be able to fill my cup with the freestyle machines. The Price of Alcoholic drinks seemed expensive but I think it is average for the industry. I just do not drink enough alcohol consistently to make the beverage package worth it for me. I will next time get the deluxe soda package with includes Sparkling water, juices and mocktails.
LOVE LOVE the solarium, never a problem getting a lounger, the hot tubs were crowded but I really like the fact that they are covered and found the decor gave an atmosphere of relation. It was just a nice area and I happily spent many hours reading in the solarium. Word to the wise-do not go at Spring Break (they had their boombox and were playing music very loudly in the hot tub at various times) Yes my bad for booking at Spring Break, not Royal's fault
Food-MDR was some of the best MDR food I have ever had. Our Waiters Marianos and Aris were the best waiters I have ever had!
CHEF's TABLE- the food was exquisite, the wine was wonderful. Lovely presentation but the area where the chef's table was located(a landing above the dining room) made it very noisy and difficult to hear what the Chef was saying. I do like the fact that on Carnival the Chef's table is in a private room.
Facilities-did not use Gym or Spa
Smoking Area-for those that smoke or vape- Large area on the Port side pool deck (plenty of ashtrays) as well as the casino and I think there was an area on a lower deck as well.
Entertainment-made a good sized deposit in the casino. The casin it self was not very large but a good assortment of machines. I found the slots to be good for a cruise ship but the points system is a little more rigid than Carnival. I usually accumulate 7000-10000 points on Carnival but on Royal it was only about 3000 points. No free drinks at 1500 points.
Activities- we did want to participate in trivia but unless you get your seat early it is usually very crowded as it is a popular activity.
Ports- The only port we got off of the ship was Cozumel-went to Palmeras for ceviche. (yummy)
Debarkation- Did Self assist, a bit disorganized but was off the ship in about 45 minutes
I love this ship and want to go on her again but unfortunetly she will be going to New Jersey and finally Texas. I live in Florida and it is an easy drive to the ports in Florida. Guess I will Just have to fly!
Im thoroughly impressed with Royal Caribbean and have already booked another cruise with them. I especially like this ship and would almost go so far as to say Its my most favorite ship I have ever been on!
I have never stayed in a junior suit (Did stay in a mini suite my first Princess cruise) and now am spoiled but it was not cheap but cheaper than a mini suite on another line. For me it is a choice of cruising more often in a cheap room or less often in a more expensive room.
Being able to go through the suite line was great for getting on the ship faster.
The room was large with plenty of storage space. Had a small couch, several chairs and a table, Refrigerator, safe and 2 desk areas. There was a USB charging area under the lamps next to the bed which I did not find until a couple of days before the cruise ended. I did request an extension cord for my c-pap which I got promptly.
The balcony was big and private and had a substantial wall to separate the balconies not just a thin partition. I do wish there was a lounger instead of just regular chairs.