Embarkation and disembarkation were quick and straightforward. We were on the ship within 20 minutes of arrival at 11am. We carried our own luggage off the ship and we had no trouble getting a lift or getting off the ship.
We found the food on the ship to be generally very good. We continue to notice a reduction in the number of options at dinner, particularly when it comes to dessert. I remain astounded that Royal considers carrot cake to be an appropriate dessert for formal night; carrot cake should be served for afternoon tea only.
The Solarium Bistro was excellent on all occasions. We enjoyed the Windjammer for lunch and dinner but not breakfast which looked awful. We also ate at the Park Cafe which was great.
The various parades on the ship have really gone downhill and are not now worth getting off your sun bed for. The Diamond club was overrun, which is now the norm, but Gavin was excellent. We didn’t make it to the ice show or any of the theatre shows, but we did enjoy both aqua shows.
We took this cruise because of our travel dates. We now find Royal’s itineraries to be uninspiring in comparison to other cruise lines. CocoCay was excellent although it was cold and windy on the day we were there. We still had a good time and enjoyed the new island and food (our second visit to the ‘new’ island), but CocoCay is very much a hot weather port of call. San Juan was dull and boring. There was also a local festival in town so as advised, we did not venture far. In St Maarten, we went to the beach via water taxi and had a fantastic day.
Unfortunately this ship was full of poorly behaved adults and children. A large group of South American teenagers ran amok with no apparent supervision. At least one of the pools was closed every day due to glass being found on the pool floor or adults allowing their babies wearing nappies into the adult pools. The jacuzzis were full of drunk, obnoxious people smacking gum who thought we all wanted to see. On the sun beds, a number of people were playing their own music via speakers or using multiple sun beds per person.
My 4 year old niece cruised with us and has previously really enjoyed going to the kids’ club on other cruises. On this cruise, she went once then would not go back. The club seemed to be full of loud, poorly behaved and hyperactive children, such that the supervisors had no control at all and just left the kids to their own devices with no activities to be seen. My niece loved the carousel and climbing area. She also enjoyed the family puppet show (twice) and the family aqua show. She was treated like a Queen by our cabin attendant, Daisy (who was excellent) and Ljublo, our waiter on my time dining (also excellent).
We are not keen on the half-covered solariums on the Oasis class ships and we desperately missed the Solarium pool on the Harmony. I have sailed on the Oasis twice, Symphony and now Harmony. There are just too many people on these ships for my liking. If everyone behaved appropriately and was considerate of others then it would be fine. However after our experience on this cruise and the multiple examples of appalling behaviour we observed, I am really put off about sailing on these ships again. I much prefer the Voyager class ships for that happy medium of a manageable number of people balanced with a range of activities. We also prefer longer cruises but unfortunately Royal only runs to 7 nights in the Caribbean.
We had interconnecting cabins on deck 3 which were perfect for our requirements. Both cabins were immaculate, spacious and quiet. We had to wait for a lift every now and again, but we used the stairs whenever we could.
Overall and because of the people on this ship, we felt like we were on a floating holiday camp. The people on this ship did not know how to behave. This is unfortunately not the first time we have thought this on a Royal cruise and because of this, along with the uninspiring and unchanging itineraries which Royal offers and our preference for longer cruises (10+ nights), my family and I have decided we are now defecting to Celebrity.
So long as Royal’s target market is first-time, uncivilised cruisers on short or ‘booze’ cruises, we will be staying away and making the most of our reciprocal Elite status on Celebrity.