Like you John and Christine, I am also going on a Royal Caribbean cruise for the first time.
I have been on 18 Carnival cruises and will miss the perks of being Platinum level, I would have booked with Carnival but I wanted to do a transatlantic cruise to Europe and Carnival does not offer one so I booked one with RCCL....some things I have found out already that I don't like is.....RCCL does not allow you to bring non-alcoholic beverages like water and sodas on board, whereas Carnival allows each person to bring up to twelve 16oz cans/bottles. Also RCCL charges a fee of $3.75 for late night room service which is always free on Carnival, RCCL also does not have any self serve laundry facilities and ironing room, they only offer their laundry services....this normally would not be a problem but I am going on a 14 day cruise and will have to do some wash and ironing. But with all that being said I am going to remain positive that everything else is going to be just as good or even better than Carnival, I have heard so many great things about RCCL. Happy sailing to everyone