Planning a cruise? If you're someone like me who has choosen to be childfree, stay away from Royal Caribbean. I just got back from a 7-nighter and it was hell. I have sailed with RCCL before and it was a decent experience but now they are apparently in bed with Dreamworks. On the surface of that statement, it doesn't seem so bad. I can put up with Shrek, Po, King Julian, etc prancing around the ship and rather enjoyed one entire "RCTV" channel dedicated to all animated feature films. Unfortunately, with cartoon characters comes family entertainment and with family entertainment comes lots and lots of screaming kids. For the most part, it was mostly tolerable by simply ignoring them and staying away from "that side" of the pool. But then... roundabout day 5... they all ganged up on me. I was sitting in the dining room enjoying my dinner when this racket started up. And got louder. And then there was some idiot with a megaphone, stomping through my peace, leading a ton of screaming tax More
deductions right through the middle of my main course. All I could do was close my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears and pray that Moby Dick would munch a big hole in the back of the ship and all those little germ factories would fall out. It didn't happen.
To make matters worse, the TV in the stateroom was improperly formatted so everything I watched had the top and bottom of the screen cut off. That was a minor inconvenience until I tried to use the interactive menu system and couldn't see any of the indicators because they were all off the bottom of the view.
There were three venues onboard the ship to watch movies. The main theater, the "Screening Room" with a computer-operated projector and an outdoor big screen by the pool. Of the three, only the one in the main theater was any good. The outdoor screen was a "jumbotron" type of affair and not very good viewing (plus the addition of the aforementioned screaming kids). The small screen in the "Screening Room" had potential but failed to live up to expectations. The room was small, seating about 50 people. That's not a big problem but there was not enough elevation between seats so unless you sat in the front row, the view was always blocked by somebody else's noggin.
The first movie I watched in that room had a Windows cursor on the screen throughout the show. Mildly annoying. The second movie has an improperly-formatted display and the actors on the screen looked like Looney Tunes characters that had been squashed under a falling bank safe.
The onboard entertainers were mostly good with only one being really bad. Steve Green was billed as "The Man of 1000 Songs" but they failed to mention that all 1000 of them were performed horribly.
The "Art Gallery" was a joke.
Lastly, my dining experience was the worst of all 5 of my cruises. In addition to the point made at the start of this review, the food was mediocre and the service fell short of what I have come to expect from a cruise line.
I have a few other things written down but suffice to say I will never sail RCCL again. From now on, it's only Celebrity for me. Less
Freedom of the Seas Cruises to the Western Caribbean
The Promenade Stateroom was as expected but the lack of an outside window made it somewhat uncomfortable due to not being able to see the sun and estimate the time of day. With an interior window, you have to be sure to keep the drapes pulled or other can see into your room.
Was thoroughly unimpressed with the Island of St. Maarten. We took a bus tour of the island and about 90% of it was mired in poverty and squalor. The roads were narrow and unkempt, the scenery was overgrown and filled with trash. The island used to have flourishing industry and agriculture but now derives all of its income from tourism. As such, they should make a better effort to clean it up.
St. Thomas was a nice place to visit. We rented a scooter and tooled around the island for a few hours. Every place we visited was well-kept and clean and I never felt unsafe or threatened in any way. Once out of the main city, it wasn't over-crowded or hard to find your way around.