This was our first time on Royal Caribbean. We'd heard so many good things, and our general consensus in our group of 5 was that we weren't particularly impressed. We'd been on a Celebrity cruise last year, and it was overall nicer, with better food. Then again, it was also double the cost. So... You get what you pay for.
5 out of 5
I have to say, this WAS the smoothest onboarding/embarkation we've had. Barely any line. Quickly aboard.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
Main dining room was very good, our service was excellent. We loved our servers, and the food quality was pretty good. There was no sommalier to be found, however.
The Windjammer, the buffet restaurant was average to subpar. The food quality and selection were just so-so. There wasn't a wide variety of dishes from day-to-day, and they started to repeat selections as the week went on. Quality was meh.
Most cruises, we like to get breakfast delivered to our room, and we enjoy breakfast on our balcony. Celebrity, for example, brings you anything you want at no charge. Royal Caribbean charges you $7.95 per room for anything other than coffee and/or continental breakfast. I know, I know - Celebrity is a higher price point. But we've been on Princess and Holland, and they don't charge you like that. So that sent us up to the Windjammer (see above)
Bar service - not that fast, and they use subpar liquors. I order a lot of piña coladas (guilty pleasure... hey, it's a Caribbean cruise! Don't judge). On Celebrity for example, they use Meyer's AND give you a floater. Royal uses whatever well brand rum they have, and charge $2 extra for a floater.
3 out of 5
4 out of 5
We went to three shows - ship's players song and dance show not as extravagant as we've seen on other cruises, but still decent. We had a comedian/magician who was very good (Jason Bishop). And a musical act that was good as well (MO5AIC).
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Dezly and Wang in the main dining room were great. Very personable and attentive.
Cabin steward Janet was attentive and efficient. Made a couple towel animals (always a highlight, my wife LOVES the towel animals) that we'd not seen before.
4 out of 5
Starting to age a little. Overall, pretty functional.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
This was the largest, best laid-out cabin we've had across several cruise lines.
We love Old San Juan, we've been several times. We had a later flight home, so we took an excursion that included a tour of the city and airport drop-off. Really informative, great way to spend the day.
Apparently the French side is throwing major roadblocks to rebuilding. We visited places on the French side last year that were packed. This year - ghost town. The beach cafe on Orient Bay where we had lunch last year - wiped off the face of the Earth.
Our guide told us about how a Spanish hotel company brought in 160 workers to rebuild its property on the French side, because there were no locals who were available and/or who had the necessary skills. The government deported them.
He said there is money available to rebuild, and the government is preventing people from rebuilding.
People are unable to make a living due to government inaction. Shameful.
The Dutch side is much better, its functional and there are signs of life.
This was our favorite port of call (even if they share the French attitude toward Americans). This is clearly the most-well run island on our itinerary. We took a tour to the north side of the island that included the DePaz sugar plantation and rum distillery. Fascinating and beautiful!
We also stopped at a black sand beach with a French bakery nearby. It was excellent and surprisingly affordable.
Also appears to be a fairly well-run island. We took an excursion over to Carlisle Bay/Pirate's Cove, did a snorkel tour. It was good, although the wind/surf was kicked up, so the visibility was poor. It came with a buffet lunch and bottomless beers/waters. Beach was very nice.
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