Other cruise experiences.....
Check In: For some reason it was very chaotic this time. I know there are 3600 passengers to check in, but this was the busiest we had ever seen it and the most chaotic. Hopefully, our next cruise as Platinum members will improve this situation for us at least.
Our cabin: balcony, 7656. It's funny - we had just been on this ship only 1 year earlier but we saw signs of wear this time that just weren't there a year before. Our mini-bar barely kept drinks cool - not cold at all. The safe wasn't working so we had to call for maintenance. They came pretty quickly and did fix it though. The matresses need to be replaced on both the beds and on the pull out sofa (well, I guess new sofas are the answer there.) We've never had a problem with sleeping on our cruises in the past but this cruise was different. At least in this cabin. There were several very noticable scratches on wood, major stains on the sofa - yuck. On the up side, our cabin steward did a great job of cleaning up and taking care of us.
The food: this is something that is subjective for all of us. We always find RCCL food to be good to excellent. This includes the food in the Windjammer, and the main dining room. Of course, it sometimes gets a little repetitive during breakfast especially. But there are so many selections it never bothers us. We did notice on this cruise though that desserts didn't seem quite up to par with what we're used to on RCCL. We were told by one of the crew to enjoy the free food at Johnny Rockets, because RCCL has started charging for food at JR's on some of their ships and will eventually start charging on the explorer. We were told the reason for this is due to the kids ordering tons of food and wasting it. I don't know if this is true or not - just what we were told.
Ship entertainment: overall it was great- ice skating was wonderful, lounge performers are wonderful. Only one negative comment - and that is that the Fast Forward show was performed on 2 of the nights of our cruise. We had already seen it on our previous cruise, and saw it again on the 2nd night (I think it was), but then it was scheduled again on this cruise. I don't know if another act was supposed to show but didn't, or what.....
Other Issues: On this particular cruise there was a huge group of young 15 year old girls - not sure of the spelling, Quinteceas we think is the name of the group. From what we were told there were approximately 500 of them from Miami, Bolivia, etc. This is supposed to be some kind of "coming out" party for a young girl. Every night in the main dining room, they did a grand entrance kind of thing down the 3 story staircase, and then marched around all of the tables, clapping, screaming, etc. It became so intrusive - we could not talk to people at our table over all of the screaming and no one on the ship was controlling the situation. It just was out of hand - and even though it might have been a big thing to celebrate for this group of young girls, it should not have affected what other passengers were doing. We have a young daughter and I work with children, so I'm not opposed to them having a great time - none of us are, but by mid-cruise it was ridiculous - at the pool, in the main dining room, in the promenade - screaming, etc. Come on, we're all entitle to have a good cruise experience, but what if we all did that?
Debarkation: went very smooth - no problems there.
Overall: We thought this was a very relaxing cruise after the Belize stop. We never expect perfection in anything. We travel extensively, and we've cruised 8 times - including cruises to Europe and Alaska. Even though this was not the best cruise, we'll still cruise with RCCL. They're still our favorite. If there's anything we've missed, please ask. Hope this helps.