My backround: Male that just turned 40, no kids, partnered and this was our 13th cruise, 4th with Royal Caribbean.
As with any ship, they all have their good and bad qualities. I will start with the good points and end with bad.Good:
The ship is beautiful. Water views everywhere. The ship appeared to be in good repair with few signs of wear and tear for being a four year old ship.
The Schooner bar is the best in the Royal Caribbean fleet. The Champange bar in the centrum was my favorite with spectacular views out a wall of glass. The Colony club looked like the inside of a fancy country club with wood paneling everywhere and it was lively at night with some type of activity or entertainment and empty during the day. It was a great place to go during the day and watch the wake of the ship and doze off in the big comfy chairs with hardly a person around. The Sea View cafe is a great alternative food choice serving pasta , salads and grilled panini's. It was our favorite place to eat. The Sea View Cafe was tucked away on the 12th deck in the back of the ship with outdoor seating and there was never a wait because you had to look for it to find it. The main dining room was grand and very elegant.
Chops, their specialty steakhouse restaurant, was as good or better than a Ruths Chris Steak house or Capital Grille. Worth the $20.00.
The health club was great! Never too much of a wait for the machines and all with great views.
But the best part was the service. The wait staff in the dining room, the cabin attendant and bartenders were the best of the 13 cruises I have been on. No lack of service on this ship. Everyone was friendly and helpful and all areas of the ship.
The excusions were well organized and top notch. I felt I got my moneys worth on the programs.The Bad:
The Windjammer Cafe was a dissapointment. On Sea Days (and we had 5 of them) the place was so crowded that a couple of times at breakfast and lunch it was difficult to find a suitable table for the number of people we were hoping to dine with (mostly 4 people and once 6 people) and we found our selves making mad dashes for tables that were emptying only to be beat by another group doing the same thing. In addition, the food choices offered were poor. In the afternoon, they offered a limited buffet that they called Afternoon Tea. We had late seating so a snack was in order. A couple of times the place was closed at 5:00pm. What? The only food option on the ship at that time was rooms service. we finally settled into having breakfast everyday in the main dining room (where the food was better) and lunches either in the Sea View Cafe or the main dining room if we were dressed appropriately. Avoiding the Windjammer turned out to be very pleasant.
Also the Sea View Cafe had an excellent menu and delicious food, but it had limited hours and you could not get any of the food to go.
The Outdoor pool was way, way too small for a ship that size. The main enterance to the pool was one door which was off the Centrum elevator bank connecting it to the Windjammer Cafe, making the ship feel really crowded while trying to navigate between those areas.
The Ships rooms are nicely decorated, with one of the most comfortable sofas in our room (it was different than the other sofas in our friends rooms). There is plenty of storage for plenty of stuff. We took WAY too much stuff and still had some storage left. The bad part of the room is the doors to the closets. The way in which they open make it difficult for two people to use the bathroom door and access the closets. We were always moving around each other and worse, banging the bathroom door into the person in the closet. (Princess has designed their rooms on the newer ships to aleviate that problem).
Lastly the entertainment was good. There was always a band playing in the centrum and at various other locations of the ship etc..BUT...they had the same steel drum band playing at the pool everyday with the same songs. In addition they were so loud that it was almost impossible to carry on a conversation or listen to my IPOD with them playing at the same time. Lets mix it up a little RCI!!! They should at least require the band to have two programs and alternate the days in which they play them and keep the volume lower. People like the music, but I think it could have been enjoyed at a lowe, more relaxing level.
Lastly, while the dining room was grand and elegant, the upper level where we sat seemed to be very crowded and noisey. I dont know if it was just our location that was noisey, but it definately felt very crowded.
All in all it was a beautiful ship with a nice itinerary, but I think I would choose a different ship than this if I were to do it again.