Royal Caribbean Line
Royal Caribbean is our choice of the mass market lines. They are a sister organization to Celebrity and the realtionship shows, especially in the care they take with food.
Royal Caribbean ships tend to be destinations in themselves. There is lots to do all the time. The largest cruise ship in the world belongs to RCL - the Oasis carries over 6000 passengers and she has a sister ship of the same size coming out in 2010.
So, if our orientation is to recommend small ships and premium lines, how did RCL make our list of favorites?
Atmosphere - there is lots of fun (like the well known "Fun Ships") but there are also places to get away. If you are going to sail on a ship that is your destination, then why not go with the biggest and most unsual? The Oasis as well as several of her slightly smaller sisters have a few really interesting features. The Promenade on these ships is a mini mall. Restaurants, bars, and shops line a four story (larger on Oasis) atrium. There is one restaurant that serves coffee, pastries, and sandwhiches for free (just an extension of the dining room). One shop specializes in wine - another in specialty coffees. There is usually some entertainment - a singer or a jazz trio or a string quartet. It's just a great place to stroll. Other ships have something similar but they just can't quite match the flair of RCL
Food - all cruise ships offer good food. Most now have specialty (extra cost) restaurants that provide a real gourmet experience. We have always been specially impressed by the ordinary food service (standard dining room and the common alternative buffet. On a recent cruise we had opportunity to sample several beef offerings (steak, prime rib, and chateubriand) from both the dining room and the Windjammer cafe - we both agreed that we had to rank all three among the best pieces of beef we have had in recent memory. If you can take a cruise on a mass market ship and come back raving about food, that is really saying something.
Service - comfortably as good as the best of the mass market ships and not an unfavorable comparison with the premium lines.
Entertainment - is good - not exceptional but you certainly won't loose anything compared to other mass market lines.
All in all, RCL is the line to choose if you:
- Want to save a little money
- You want to spend time on the ship
- Are traveling with young people or children