I'm brand new here and just started listening to the podcast. (Thanks for the recent episode for new cruisers and congrats on your 200th episode!!) I have a similar concern as the original poster. I've been on two DCL cruises and adored them. No doubt the best family vacations we've ever had. We are booked for our first Royal cruise (March 2018 Anthem of the Seas) and I'm doing as much research as I can to set our expectations. The fare was a great bargain, but I haven't decided yet if we'll take any of the specialty dining or beverage packages. Cost of them aside (which is kind of a turn off, but I understand not charging everyone for it) I'm not sure if we need them. On the Disney ships we didn't use the specialty dining (there's just one) because we rotated through 3 very different, excellent restaurants which were included. We also didn't need to reserve anything other than excursions so I'm not sure how much I want to book ahead of time on Anthem. The reason I loved DCL so much is it was very relaxing. I'm the type of person who makes spreadsheets when we go to Disney World (which is fairly often since we are Vacation Club owners.) But when we cruise our pace slows. I don't know if I want to bring the Super Planner Laurie out for this trip. Will our experience be lessened if we don't go to specialty restaurants? Also is the entertainment appropriate for young teenagers?
This became longer winded than I intended.
Thanks for any advice you can give to set my anxiety at rest.