This was my family's first time with RCI so we went in with a very open mind. We've previously cruised with Celebrity and Disney
Embarkation: could not have been easier. Hubby dropped me and our 16 yr. old daughter off with luggage and went to park the truck at Light House parking. We were in a suite, so there were no lines for us, we did arrive at port around 10:30 am. There was a delay to board that day due to the previous cruise having a problem locating a couple of people to have a zero count. After that was resolved, we were on board shortly after 12:00. Headed to The Wind Jammer and got a bite to eat.
Cabins were delayed until approx. 1:30. No biggie. To my surprise though, our luggage did not arrive until after dinner. Our dinner was at 5:30, and we were dressed properly, it was just annoying having to unpack so late.
Our room steward: Darius was fantastic, kept ice in my ice bucket and was always gracious.
The suite lounge: was fun, the 2 servers were always in a good mood and Anis the concierge was always on hand to answer questions etc. Now the Chardonnay in the lounge is AWFUL!! Yuck! So if you like Chardonnay, you may look into ordering something else. We met some amazing Pinnacle members who were so friendly, and other Pinnacles' who were not so friendly. Just don't understand THAT mentality. From reading many boards on CC I've heard of this behavior but was truly stunned by it.
The ship: in general was in good shape, you could see wear on carpets and upholstery on chairs, but it was always very clean.
Dining: We chose to eat in the main dining room and did not do specialty dining. The food was hit or miss. Tuna was awful! Short ribs were amazing. Same thing with desserts. There is always the buffet or pizza if you get hungry later. We did order room service a few times, and found the food to be fine.
Entertainment: We enjoyed the shows very much. There was a comedian, an a cappella group that were very good. The ice show was good, the in the air show we thought was amazing! Saturday Night Fever was also very good. We also LOVED watching movies at night on deck. Tip: ask your room steward for an extra blanket, and use it to bundle up in while watching movies on deck.
Cozumel: We booked Nachi Cocum. It was ok, I truly expected more. Their beach could use raking, there were sharp twigs and things that made it hard to walk barefoot. The bathrooms NEEDED to be kept up with all day and were not! The lady's got pretty gross and we were only there for roughly 3 hours. The food was good. The drinks were weak, but I wasn't looking to get drunk, it's just my observation. The push to buy extra activities got annoying. If we were back in Cozumel, I'd chose another place. The port is a maze of shops to wind through to finally find your way back to the ship. Did not appreciate how aggressive the men in the jewelry shops were. I enjoy shopping, but didn't appreciate being forced to walk through shops to get back on board.
FAVORITE! beautiful, breath taking, no pushy sales people.
My family stayed a week here before and absolutely love it. We booked the catamaran snorkel and cruise through RCI and LOVED IT. Luckily it was with Red Sail who we had used when we stayed on the island. They are the best! I highly recommend this excursion. Some people complain about having to tender, but for us, it was absolutely no problem.
We only shopped inside the fenced in port area. We found the people to be very friendly and not pushy at all. The store to avoid is this big t shirt shop, I wish I could remember the name, the owner is not Jamaican and is very rude!! I hate that we bought a shirt there, but it was the only one my husband liked, so ...
My family did a black and white portrait sitting and absolutely loved the pictures! The photographer did an amazing job, but....they are not cheap! so be forewarned. My husband chose to purchase 3 pictures to my surprise, but if you had paid for a sitting back in the states you'd probably pay the same. Also we were not really fond of any of the pictures the ship photographers had taken, so.
Johnny Rockets:In my opinion is not worth the up charge. Service was painfully slow, and the food was ok. There were only 6 other people when my daughter and I went in and it took an hour to get our burgers.
Mini Golf: It's cute, go play
Slides: Hubby and daughter liked them very much, arch your back to go fast on the racing slides.
Fitness Center: I paid for yoga, big mistake, the guy teaching seemed to be making it up as he went, so I can't recommend. They do offer a free abs class, do it! If you work out on a pretty steady bases, this will still kick your butt. The machines were, ok. Some very old and should be replaced. My big disappointment was the lack of water! First ship ever that didn't offer water.
I have to say we thoroughly enjoyed the perks that came along with staying in a suite. We found it not necessary to purchase the beverage package because of the daily happy hour, we loved the reserved seating for shows, and at the pool. The private lunches and also the reception we had in the suite where we were treated to hors d' oeuvers and had the opportunity to meet the Captain and officers.
Disembarking: Was a breeze. We did self assist and with being in a suite we were the first group off the ship. We breezed through customs, and on out to the waiting Light House vans. BUT! It was POURING rain! So keep this in mind. The vans do not drive up to pick you up, you walk to them. So needless to say we were soaked by the time we got to them. Not their fault, it's just how it is.
Overall we enjoyed RCI. The having to check out towels was an annoyance, but won't stop us from cruising with them again. The service was wonderful, always friendly smiling faces, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.