I have sailed on 5 Royal Caribbean cruises, in the Caribbean (once for my honeymoon!), twice in Europe and then to Bermuda out of New Jersey. My first Royal Caribbean cruise was an 11 day Caribbean back in 2001 and we had a wonderful time. I was really impressed with the service, the food, the spa, and the overall quality really exceeded our expectations. We sailed an older ship for our honeymoon a few years later, the ship was a bit shaky and showing some wear, but still an excellent experience.
Fast forward to my last two Royal Caribbean cruises, Splendour of the Seas 2014 and Anthem of the Seas 2018. The food quality in main dining room and buffet seems to have gone way down, while the food quality in the specialty dining options is fantastic. The service has gone down some, although I always say the service and overall cruise experience is very dependent on the itinerary and crew. Our 2014 cruise in Europe felt like the ship was tired, the crew was tired, and the food was tired. The ports of call certainly made up for it and we had a lovely time, but the overall mood of the ship and even fellow passengers seems a “grumpy”.
Royal Caribbean charges a “premium” compared to Carnival and Norwegian, but I feel like the base cruise fare comes with lesser value on this line these days. That may change and I certainly would sail on RC again depending on the price and itinerary.
They have historically had great on board activities (kids and adults), shore excursions, and great itineraries in Europe. Based on my last two cruises I would recommend buying the specialty dining package and avoiding the main dining room.