Luggage was tagged by porters & stowed very quickly. On arrival at Diamond check in we were taken immediately by friendly receptionist. We proceeded to Pier Coordinator to enquire after buying a cabin upgrade & were directed to guest services on board who informed us that ship was full. Later in the cruise it became apparent that ship was nowhere near full. Later that night we were left a telephone message to say that no upgrades were available. Given 37 suites were available on morning of cruise this rather amazed us. However it looked like many travel agents were aboard for 1 night departing in Valencia.
DIAMOND GIFT, LETTER, ROBES & BOOKLET
When we arrived at our balcony cabin our Diamond C&A gift was present as ordered (although later in cruise we were accidentally billed for water as a mini bar charge (credited by guest services) No welcome C&A letter was present to inform us of Diamond nightly event (however having cruised before we knew where to go) Robes were brought before dinner together with value booklets. Of the value booklet we used the match play vouchers, free photographs, free internet minutes, internet package discount, coffee in Portofino's & 2 for 1 wine offer.
DIAMOND EVENING EVENT
Held in 19th hole each evening from 6pm to 9.30pm. This is a very pleasant lounge for this event & Kisa our waitress there was very attentive & friendly. However we frequently saw many people access the lounge (ignoring the large sign at the door) & Kisa was left to deal with them. This lounge was also supposed to be non smoking for this event & again Kisa had to tackle passengers on this topic. On Liberty of the Seas October 29th sailing there were no less than 3 people manning the doorway. Why is there no one managing the doorway here (or add a security door as in diamond lounges on newer vessels, then no one can gain unauthorised access). Also 1 guest put Kisa under pressure to allow guests access (4 guests) Kisa spoke politely & firmly to them but he simply paid no attention to her & was very dismissive of her. Had there been a uniform on the door this would not have happened. Now he will do this again on other ships & others will also do it diluting our hard earned privileges.
UPPER TIER EVENT SAILING INTO VALENCIA
We were invited to enjoy our arrival at Valencia from the peek a boo bridge on deck 11. This was a very nice event attended by the cruise director & many officers. A pleasant range of drinks & hot & cold nibbles were supplied throughout the 45 minutes we were there & we enjoyed a live string trio. Usually at these events service ceases after 15/20 mins & appears stingy this was not the case here. Very nice experience
CROWN & ANCHOR WELCOME BACK PARTY
Held in the Imperial Lounge prior to dinner. Again ample drinks were supplied as well as hot/cold nibbles & sushi. A display of floral fruit & veg. making was a nice addition here as was the ballroom dancing display. After a few words from the Captain we were introduced to the C&A loyalty ambassador. He spoke very briefly about numbers of C&A members. There was not the usual discussion of new ships etc planned new itineraries etc. This was the only time we saw the C&A ambassador all week.
Held in 1 side of MDR on deck 4. Names were checked against a list & cards were checked by waiter. Speciality coffee was very nice but orange juice was the usual supplied & not the supplement paid juice supposed to be served. There were ample waiters for this area & overall a good experience.
UPPER TIER WELCOME BACK PARTY
Held on second formal night in Blue Moon lounge of the Viking Crown. Dress code stipulated formal i.e. No shorts flip flops etc however this was largely ignored. Even the Cruise Director was in shorts. After a brief introduction from the Asst. Cruise Director a belly dancer entertained us as well as Jess a very good classical guitarist. Again food & drink were in plentiful supply.
Very simple & easy. No queues or difficulty finding luggage
Since last on this ship I can see some carpets etc have been replaced. However the ship badly needs new seating & furnishings in the public lounges. Many of the glass panels on decks 11,12 & 13 need replaced. Poolside furnishings are tired & dated. Cabins colour schemes are very dated with bathroom colour schemes particularly unattractive. Pillows were very lumpy. Balcony designs on voyager class are very boxed in metal pods with poor furnishings & nasty flooring material. Food overall was very good. MDR service was good & meals warm & tasty. Room service was prompt & accurate. Portofino's was well worth the supplement paid. Food & service here was top notch.
Poorly managed as large groups were smoking everywhere on board. We are used to no smoking inside ship so that was very difficult to cope with.
Ice show was excellent however offerings in main theatre were very disappointing. 2 jugglers (nights 1&3). Spanish Ballet Flamenco show. Vocal Quartet, 1 production show & farewell show Los Choritos? Which we missed due to Portofino's dining time. Not the standard or variety we have enjoyed from RCCL in the past. Schooner Bar too small for entertainment there. Royal Promenade contaminated by smokers in pub and at Champagne Bar (you literally had to hold your nose to walk through)
Large groups of Spanish guests are a challenge to any ship. They like to meet in large groups & can if not managed take over areas of the ship. Many of them appear to be blinded to the presence of others & appear inconsiderate (especially the seniors amongst them). This would put me off sailing from a Spanish port on what ended up as a very heavily discounted cruise.
Spanish guests were bragging about only paying 180 Euro's for their cruise. US guests had balconies for $500 or $400 with C&A discount. UK prices were as always way higher than this. This is very difficult to tolerate when the cruise only experience is the same for everyone. Come on RCCL fix this 1 rate for all nationalities!!!!! play fair.