Considering we paid a premium to go on an RCCL cruise, I was expecting better quality.
5 out of 5
Embarkation was one of the quickest We've experienced. Bags were taken immediately when we were dropped off at the pier. Check in line was long but moved quickly.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
Buffet - Qualify was fair. We ate here most breakfast and lunches I ate mostly foods I could assemble (i.e. salad bar, fruit, hard boiled eggs, bacon, burgers, etc.) which were usually fresh and good and pretty much stayed away from pre-prepared salads and other dishes as what I did try was not very good. Buffet was undersized for number of passengers so that every 15 minutes they broadcast an annoying message in multiple languages asking people to please move on if they were finished.
Johnny Rockets - burgers and fries identical to what is served in the buffet.
Main dining room - Food quality was OK. Better than what we had on Carnival but not as good as last NCL cruise. Considering RCCL cruises typically cost more, I was expecting better.
Specialty restaurant - we ate 150 Central Park one night and food was fantastic ( I was expecting this quality level in main dining) Unfortunately at over $50 per person per meal it can get expensive to dine there more often.
3 out of 5
With 6000+ passengers everything is crowded and has long lines. I showed up for an open volleyball hour along with over 100 other people. I didn't stay around to find out how that was going to work.
Hot tubs are of good size and numerous but are usually crowded. However you can usually find a spot in one if you don't mind people pretty close by.
They could have offered more activities at the same time.
4 out of 5
Momma Mia musical and OceanAria shows were excellent. Blue Planet was a typical cruise ship song and dance show. "Headliner" group was awful, I couldn't wait to leave 5 minutes after show started. We saw the comedians twice, first time was not very good but second time was very good. The main problem is that you need reservations for all shows. Venues all undersized so they have 3 or 4 showtimes that you can try to reserve. Especially comedy club that I think fit about 100 people.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Cabin steward was excellent. Main waiter was very cold/distant the first few days but warned up toward the end. Assistant waiter was excellent and a lot of fun.
Customer service people were friendly and helpful (but usually a long line). Photographers as always are intrusive. Captain made an appearance for pictures one formal night but looked like he would rather be anywhere else.
4 out of 5
Ship design and layout is really impressive. The different "neighborhoods" are fun to explore. The ship needs a major cleaning/refurbishment, carpets in staterooms felt gritty, black mold? around edged of hot tubs.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
Cabin was small but typical for a cruise ship. King size bed and pillows were very comfortable (They had to customize the end of the bed and mattress by rounding the corners in order for you to be able to move around the cabin without knocking your shin). TV was decent quality with many on demand movies available. Carpets were vacuumed but needed a thorough cleaning. Garbage can in bathroom was useless as it didn't open wide enough to put anything in it.
Don't go on this ship if you don't like people. It's crowded.
We had planned to go to the beach here but one of our party wasn't feeling good so we mainly stayed on board (pretty much had the ship to ourselves). On past trips to St Maarten, we have really enjoyed the beaches.
Timing is poor for this stop. The ships docks around 7 am and you need to be back on board by 12:30 pm. Not much time to do anything. We did a horseback riding excursion at Campo Rico through RCCL and it was very good. Our guide, Aalie, was excellent.
Weather made this a less than perfect day. Cloudy, passing drizzle with 20+ mile an hour winds. Not unusual for December. We had scheduled a snorkeling excursion but it was cancelled due to the wind and waves. A lot of the activities here cost extra. An island owned by the cruise line should be mostly free.
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