Our cruise departed from Miami, where embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the terminal about 12:15 and were on board having lunch at 12:45. Luggage was delivered around 2:30 - quickest ever in 12 cruises! We were extremely impressed with every aspect of our trip. I paid special attention to complaints posted on message boards - food, pool deck problems, etc. We found the food to be the best of all our cruises, especially in the Windjammer where we had breakfast and lunch most days. Sure, lots of items were always on the buffets, but there were literally HUNDREDS of items being offered so you never have to have the same item twice unless you choose to. Everyone was right about the onion rings in the Seaview - terrific. For the most part, dinners in the dining room were escellent. The roasted garlic soup was absolutely to die for. I think the soups, breads and desserts are areas where the chefs really shine. Our waiter and asst. waiter were EXCELLENT - Erkan and Ceon. They made avery meal special.
Our cabin was on deck 9 with balcony - can't go anymore without one. The first afternoon our cabin attendant introduced herself as Lilli. I asked her for an ashtray and for our robes which were not in the cabin. I also took advice I saw on message boards and gave her $10 up front. When we returned later that night, we had no ashtray or robes. I called the speedial and requested the items, and they were delivered by a gentleman in 5 minutes. The next morning we had a new attendant, Edna, who had no idea what had become of Lilli, was just marvelous. I told her she should find Lilli and get the $10 - don't think I'll do that again! Someone in the executive area on the ship left me a message to call about Lilli, but my husband accidentally deleted the message so I didn't know whom to call.
Everyone is right - there is a lot of saving of chairs. In my opinion, if people make the effort to get up and dressed early they should get the best chairs. You can't expect to sleep until 11:00 and think you're going to find the best location. For the most part, we didn't notice many chairs that were saved with no one using them for extended periods. Hot tubs were LOADED with little kids all the time in spite of the clearly marked signs forbidding that. On the tender back to the ship from Labadee, I actually heard a mother with a number of little ones telling her friend that the kids just wanted to get back to the hot tubs. It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut.
We were not able to stop at Grand Cayman - rough seas closed the port, but the ship was so wonderful that we barely missed it. All in all, this was the best one ever for us - we even booked our next cruise on the Jewel before we left the ship.
Debarkation went very smoothly as well - we were off the ship among the last because we were spending the day in Miami and flying home the next day and were still at our hotel by 9:15.
Another TERRIFIC job, Royal Caribbean!!