RCI was the worst cruise of the four I have taken. Had a great time on the three Carnival cruises I went on, always something to do. No doubt the food quality and MDR service is lacking since my first cruise but from what I read the other are not much better except for Celebrity & Princess. Yes, a cruise is what you make of it to a point and I make a point of having fun, I'm a glass is half full type of person not half empty. I would have to revisit RC to see if itís worth the extra cost as I know the newer ships seem to be nice but thus far Carnival has worked for us.
I always tell people to add $100 per person to the cost of their fare on NCL, which will allow you to the ability to dine in any restaurant you choose each night. After adding that cost with the cruise fare, if it is favorable compared to another line you might be considering, you can feel totally comfortable you'll be satisfied with the NCL dining experience.
With Moderno and the Steakhouse now up to $35 per person, I don't think $100 is enough to eat anyplace you want each night on a 7-night cruise.
There are cruise lines where the alternative dining is high quality but less expensive: Princess, Oceania.
I can relate to what Paul said about paying extra for specialty restaurants on NCL - based on our last experience, I'd say add about $150 per person. And if you're going to add that much more to the cruise, might as well consider other cruises that cost a bit more.
And I really feel for Jean. It sucks when someone gets sick - it'll definitely put the damper on having a nice vacation. Sorry you went through that.
And I hear what you're saying about if someone had a bad experience on their first cruise, they probably wouldn't want to try it again. I hear about people getting seasick on their first one and decide they would never do it again. That's true with just about anything in life. If you tried calamari for the first time and didn't like it or went on a roller coaster. The thing is, that at least you gave it a try and found it just wasn't something you wanted to do again. But that always beats never giving it a try at all.
I couldn't get my wife on a cruise for the first time. I finally told her I was going on a cruise and she could either go with me or not, but I was going. She relented and went with me. She loved it so much, we ended up buying the company! Now we've been on 43 cruises and can't go often enough. Strange how some things work out.
Then again, I also talked her into going skydiving with me and she finally gave in on that one, too. She was a great sport and it a try. Only did it once and decided she didn't want to do it again, but she did it.
As the saying goes, "It's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all."
So I'm always one that says I'll try anything twice. The first time I may not have enjoyed it because I was either too dumb, to naive, to nervous, or had too many problems to thoroughly appreciate it. The second time will usually tell me if it's something I'll want to do again or whether it's just not my cup of tea.
__________________ Travel Agent/Cruise Specialist w/15 yrs exp and 50 Cruises on 12 different cruise lines in many parts of the world! VIETNAM VETERAN OWNED & OPERATED. Certified Accessible Travel Advocate. Specializing in unsurpassed personal service to insure you have a hassle-free vacation!