One thing I would like to point on this cruise at least is that the photo opportunities (or lack thereof) and the cost were definitely a HUGE TURNOFF for us. We had 8 people, 4 staterooms. My wife and one son were in a room and I and one son were in another since my kids were not 21. Our friends had their 2 kids in a state room since they were 21 and then them. When it came time to purchase the limited number of photos, the packages had to be per stateroom or if you have young kids then as long as the adult claiming the kids was buying the photos, then you could potentially buy a photo of your child. However, in my case, if I wanted the picture of my wife that I really liked, it could not be included in my package because she was not in my stateroom. We essentially had to make sure that me or my 2 kids was in the photo to have it as part of a group. My friends were in a real predicament since if they wanted the pictures of their kids they would have to do separate packages. All in all, the packages for all photos were about $250 each which meant that if we truly wanted all the photos, we'd have to spend $1,000. My friends' experience on a different Royal cruise was way different. Other friends have said the same. We were hoping that we could purchase all the photos in one or two groups so $500 at the most plus we were hoping to get them digitally. Nope! No digital photos AT ALL. We had to practically beg the photographer to take group photos of us at dinner and other than dinner, formal, and embarking, they really never took any other photos. So there was definitely not $250 worth of photos for the entire group, most certainly not $500 worth and I laughed at the poor staff member who told me it would be $1,000 for "all" the photos. This was the single most disappointing thing about our cruise. I would recommend a bigger ship especially if you have younger kids and I would recommend that if you do any port stops that you choose stops that are overnight. Even with our overnight stop in Bermuda, I still wanted more time. Our other friends have taken one where you stop for several hours and that just seems way too quick. Take fewer ports with longer stays and then go on another cruise or something to get to the other ports. Unless all you want is to say you've been there.
4 out of 5
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
The food in the main dining room was good, the WindJammer was typical buffet and just really crowded. We did order from Chops Grille one evening in the main dining room. They were running a special on the Filets and those things were OUTSTANDING. It's a shame you have to spend that much extra though to get what I anticipated. The main dining food was not a whole lot better than WindJammer food, but the service was what really makes it better. Our table attendants took exceptional care of us.
4 out of 5
This is one of the smaller ships and therefore there just isn't all that much extra to do. However, the band they had and the activities they did were fun and there were quite a few. I have never been on a cruise and after seeing all the commercials with water slides and surf pools and stuff, well I kind of expected that too. Not on this ship. They had a pool and rock wall and a track. Yes they had an expensive spa and some other things, but if you're bringing young(er) kids along, you may want to choose another ship.
4 out of 5
The band they had was entertaining. It was amazing to see that the staff were so multi-talented. You'd see the keyboard player in the band running the cash register in the watch shop and thing like that. They were all very entertaining though.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Everyone we interacted with did a phenomenal job taking care of our needs and making sure they were doing everything they could.
4 out of 5
Overall the ship was clean, but there are definitely some areas, let's call them dirty little secrets, that they could improve on. I think this is an older ship so you're going to find windows that are murky, rust spots, bad flooring, and things like that. It has some age spots. But all that said, they keep your mind off of those things for the most part by keeping you active.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
I cannot say enough about our attendant Allan! He was awesome. The room he always kept clean and stocked. He left us little folded animals out of towels and he even let us know when our kids were up and about (they were in a different room). That way we didn't have to go get them out of bed if he'd seen them running around. The beds were fairly comfortable, plenty of sheets and pillows. The window (outside) could use some "soap scum" removal, that's the murkiness I was talking about before. But again, you shouldn't be spending that much time in your room for goodness sakes.
Our room was on the main floor where a lot of the activities took place. It was only a few feet from that area and we couldn't really hear much at all. I would definitely stay in that same exact spot again even on a bigger ship. Very convenient!
We did 2 excursions. One was a Beach Snorkel and one was a glass bottom boat. I enjoyed both and I'm glad I did the beach snorkel instead of just a snorkel It gave our group of 8 the flexibility to snorkel as beginners, or enjoy the water or the beach. The crew on the boat were great and entertaining. The glass bottom boat was good but it essentially went to the same exact area that I had snorkeled earlier that day so I pretty much saw the same thing. The crew on that boat were also great. I would recommend one or the other, but not both. Do one, go into Bermuda and enjoy the shore some.
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