After 7 cruises, this was our first time cruising in a suite and I'm not sure I could ever go back to our previous way of cruising. From start to finish, Royal Caribbean treats their suite guests with enough special touches to make it worthwhile to people like us, who want to be treated to something special while on vacation.
Easy embarkation, large cabin, extra large balcony, stellar service, a special restaurant and private sun deck, 2 concierges to deal with any issues and make dining and activity reservations, private lounge with daily happy hour and snacks, reserved seating at shows, and priority debarkation- lots of little things like this add up and made paying for a suite worth every penny.
5 out of 5
We arrived at approximately 11:15am and found the Suite Guest area easily. A staff member took our photos, checked us in and provided an expidited arrival ticket. Security lines were short. The longest wait was before actual ship check-in, where everyone was congregated waiting to enter the boading ramp area.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
We ate dinner in the Main Dining room twice and in Coastal Kitchen the remaining nights. The main dining room chairs were noticeably worn, but service and food were both very good. We particularly enjoyed dining in the Coastal Kitchen because it was much smaller and quieter than the main dining area. Service was fantastic, although the menu did not change as much as the main dining menu. We did ask, and were granted, one specific appetizer option from the main dining menu be brought up for us on night seven. That was a special treat for our daughter and shows the service we've come to enjoy with RC.
4 out of 5
The best part of cruising are the daily activities (and that we don't have to do any of them). My husband enjoyed the daily trivia, and the kids had a great time in the pools. I was disappointed that Bingo was held in a very small bar on deck 5- it was so tight with all of the people I didn't stay to play. I'm just glad I didn't purchase cards before so many people showed up.
5 out of 5
We saw more of the shows this time than on previous cruises (kids get older every year). We attended the comedy show, the main stage performance of Grease, the Columbus musical and two different Aqua Theater shows. My oldest daughter like the Aqua Theater best, and I thought the Columbus musical was very entertaining too. My husband's favorite was Grease. Everything was top notch.
5 out of 5
My youngest (age 11) was permitted to sign herself in and out of the kid's program, which made her attendance very easy for me. She went when her friends were there and enjoyed her time immensely. It's a great way for kids her age to connect and then make plans together to swim or play on the sports deck as a group.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Everyone we encountered was professional, courteous and genuinely concerned with making sure we had a fantastic cruise.
5 out of 5
Despite being such a large ship with so many guests and staff, the ship never felt crowded to me. The longest lines were for ice cream on the pool deck- and that's always worth it. Everything was very clean. My only complaint regarding maintenance was the main dining room chairs which showed significant wear on every chair I saw.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
Upon arrival, the cabin was not in the perfect shape we expected for an Owner's Suite. There were sticky fingerprints on the glass of the balcony door, balcony glass and the cabinet under the television. Two of the balcony lounge chairs were dirty (one looked like it had food or ashes on it) and the deck had some kind of sticky substance also. We reported this to the concierge and it was remedied within the hour, with an additional visit and apology from the officer in charge of housekeeping staff and an offer for complementary dinner at Chop's Grill. We were satisfied with everything being cleaned up promptly and had no other issues during our stay.
The cabin itself was about 3 times the size of a typical balcony cabin with separate living and bedroom areas. It had a small dining table, sofa, 2 chairs and storage seating in the living area. Lots of storage- we didn't need most of the drawers or cabinets available to us, as we kept most of our belongings in the closet.
The balcony was the best- with two loungers, two chairs, side table and dining table with 4 chairs, we had plenty of options and space for 4 guests. Sometimes it was hard to justify leaving the cabin...
The bathroom had two sinks, toilet, bidet, shower and tub. I would have preferred a larger shower without the tub, as I felt sometimes like the walls were just a bit too close while showering.
Having 4 guests in this suite meant we were sleeping 2 on the bed and 2 on the sofabed. At this price point I wish they would find a way to make the sofabed even moderately comfortable. The size was large enough to sleep 2 adult size people without much discomfort. But it was hard as a rock. Maybe RC could invest in some thick foam toppers to make the sofabed more tolerable.
Our cabin (suite) allowed us access to the Suites-only sun deck which was large and clean, with cushioned chairs and several cabana-like private areas for comfort and privacy. The deck also included a full service bar and hot tub.
We spent several hours walking around San Juan and enjoyed it so much we booked our next cruise aboard to include another visit to this port. We toured one of the forts (I went twice) and did a bit of shopping too. It was great to find stores that featured local artisans in addition to finding them under the white tents in and around Columbus Square.
My daughter and I really enjoyed the Dragon's Breath zip line. It was scary and fun! The beaches were just ok. It was nice to have a shady space on the Barefoot Beach, and floating mats and snorkel gear are included for suite guests. But the location to sign out snorkel gear was unclear so we didn't get that opportunity during our visit.
We went to the ocean-side beach because we wanted to jump in the waves, but there were too many rocks in the water that hurt my feet.
We went to the shopping area hoping to find some artisan-made treasures. My daughter wanted to spend her money, but the sellers would only talk to me (my daughter is taller than me but they assumed, despite my telling them otherwise, that I was the one planning to purchase). She was disappointed that the items looked like things she could find on Amazon, so we left empty-handed.
Overall, I enjoyed the relaxing beach time; the buffet lunch was also very good with lots of choices. Maybe next time we will rent a cabana too.
5 out of 5
Suite guests meet in Coastal Kitchen and have several time options for departure. The concierges use priority elevators to escort each group off the ship, all the way to the luggage area to say goodbye. It was a very personal touch.
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