I was a bit dubious about sailing on such a big ship from Southampton, and had been reading the reviews for months. I was with a group of about 50. Our coach dropped us outside the treminal, and I didn't see our luggage again until it was delivered to our stateroom, just before the lifeboat drill. No problem checking in with no luggage to manhandle.
Our promenade room had a double bed made up. (I was shareing with a female friend) We asked the room attendant to convert it to 2 singles, which he did while we were at our muster stations. Only problem then was, there was not a lot of room to squeeze round them......although they had rounded corners, I kept banging my shins.......came home covered in bruises !
We were first sitting in Romeo and Juliette and just freshened up (didn't change) as it was a casual night. There were 3 formal nights later on. Most people dressed up. Had loads of photos taken. Our waiters, Rey and Lavi, were very pleasant, attentive and obliging. Towards the end of the cruise they were anxious that we should give them good reviews on the survey..........no problem !
We had prepaid gratuities. Only thing I didn't like was that the vouchers were printed with who they were for, and I would rather have given more to the assistant waiter who worked his socks off (in the Windjammer in the day), rather than the top waiter who we hardly saw. I did make sure he knew I thought Lavi had potential and should be promoted !! Also it was Lavis 24th birthday the same day as my friends ** (Sunday) They presented her with a slice of cake with a candle and sang Happy Birthday. I had requested a mention on the Late Night Early Morning show on tv, but we must have missed it...........I'm sure they read out all requests !
My friend hadn't been to the Canaries before but we didn't go ashore in Tenerife. hadn't had much sleep for 4 nights. Something tapped all night long. I thought it was something hitting the window, or may have been in the Services next door.We had been informed our window was to be replaced (as were others on out deck) We arranged for it to be done while we were ashore in Gran Canaria. I watched all the Prom Parades through the window, so it was nice to have a clean one.
As mentioned by others, the ship was constantly being cleaned. We only had breakfast and lunch in the main dining room on the first sea day. We ate in Windjammer or Sorrentos the rest of the time (apart from evening meals) We ate one night in Windjammer when my friend was late back off the Madiera excursion. Excursions were rushed, and we heard 4 people had been left behind.We had booked the Murder Mystery for that night, but changed it, then Portofinos changed it again. We were late docking in Madiera. We had been going slow because of fog for 2 days. At least we were able to dock, not like the previous cruise.
I had been before...........got the photo of the toboggan run ! so stayed aboard. It was like the Mari Celeste. I did seminars or art/craft classes every day. Spent far too much on products and services, and couldn't resist the promenade shops, but missed the $10 sale !!! People complaining shops were shut in Tenerife (Sunday) and Vigo (National holiday)
No chance of getting a sun lounger by the pool. RCI need to address the problem of selfish people leaving towels on unattended loungers for long periods. Maybe confiscate their towels after so long, and make them pay ! Pool police needed, like the hand gel police.
Handwipes thrust at you for 3 days........hand gel proffered for another 3 or 4, then they appeared to assume you'd got the massage and it was self service hand gel dispensers. I mentioned to a man that children weren't using the gel, and he said boys were leaving the gents toilets without washing their hands in spite of Polly (parrot) constantly reminding us.
I ate at Jade usually for lunch.......................more adult exotic food I thought, so unlikely to be touched by children. I didn't see any sushi though !
I took sachets of Nescafe, as there was none provided in the stateroom, only tea. Also only full fat milk tubs. We asked attendant for more milk and he ordered it through room service, and we tipped so ended up paying for the milk it seemed. I thought the filter coffee was foul. Only had one decent cup all cruise........in Portofinos at the Murder Mystery.
Excellent food that night but limited menu. Champagne and wine served, and good fun. Dissapointed no photos were taken though. We got to see the entertainment team up close. Tallented bunch. We missed the Magician by going to that, but couldn't do everything. I attended the Meet and Mingle the first morning and got a useful free gift and raffle prize. My most momentous memory onboard was sitting in the hot tub one morning, watching the sun rise........bliss.
The ice show was brilliant. The female violinist accompanying the skaters appeared in one of the evening theatre shows too. I guess there are different acts on different sailings. Kes ? the commedian was hilarious. Some of our group went to both of his performances. You need to get to the theatre and cinema early to get a seat.
Hope some of this info is of use to someone. I won't be sailing from Southampton again, but may try another smaller RCI ship to a different destination.