I was excited to be booked on (another) RCI cruise, of all the lines I've tried (P&O, Thompson, Princess, NCL) RCI (and Celebrity) remain my favourite and I have ended up being loyal to Royal.
The price dropped post booking so I took the opportunity to upgrade to PR promenade view cabin (7259) at a cost of Â£140 as I enjoy the parades but can never get a good view from the promenade, 7259 afforded a view of the bridge so I was all set for the parades.
I received notice of shop work on the promenade and was assured that this would not affect my cruise experience, also that the departure from BCN would be delayed to 10pm but that this too would not impact my cruise experience.
Here's the breakdown of my cruise experience:
Flight/transfer to ship - well organised
Check in - big queue for security, check in smooth, handed my card and told 'you are diamond, you know what to do'
Boarded (12:30ish) not a single welcome aboard!
No 'Welcome Aboard Show' !!!
Dinner interrupted by Muster Drill (waiter said to come back for dessert but the table decided unfair to him)
No sail away party/band on deck, in fact I captured a photo of ship's photographers looking for the sail away party up by the Sky Bar!
View from cabin was of 'walk for wishes' treadmills/table and hoarding around shop
Shop work created a lot of dust/noise (how I wish I'd taken a photo of view from my cabin)
No DJ in nightclub! Was told one would come on in Alexandria but no joy. Music played from some tec's ipod! Couple of nights no disco lighting! Thank goodness I met a great crowd and we made do in the nightclub!
Cabin attendant/waiter v good. Cabin attendant mended my broken shoe :)
Had the diamond wine package, wine was awful, said I didn't like it but still had to have bottle/sign for it.
No parades! I paid Â£140 upgrade for PR view to watch parades! Complained to Guest Relations who said that there would be a parade on 3rd last night (which there was), that there was nothing they could do to compensate me for wasted upgrade and gave me $40 OBC for wine package issues in MDR. There was a good Dreamworks parade at the end of the cruise but it was obvious that it was a full dress rehearsal.
No Quest!!!!!!! Was so looking forward to it, had arranged on Cruise Critic for all us singles to go along together
Only 1 deck party (Safaga when all too tired from Luxor to join in)
Jimmy Rhodes, the elusive CD, barely seen, what does he do onboard? Needs training in my opinion.
Felt like a training/shakedown cruise for the Asian market. eg TV Theme Trivia being read by non English speakers who didn't understand what they were reading and were adamant that they wanted the artist/group for the answer not the show. So much confusion in all trivia!
Good food in MDR, great BBQs onboard
Bar staff very good
Met some fantastic people
Ice show and Diamond Ice Event FANTASTIC
Enjoyed ports of call and Suez transit
Disembarkation/excursion a nightmare! Queued at entrance to theatre, entertainment staff told those on B2B they didn't need passports and could go straight in but we were queuing for bus assignment! Passports in MDR, got pushed over by B2B queue jumpers! Needs to be better organised!
I've come home a real moaner! please don't flame me :)
Overall - ship in good condition for age, food as expected (good for mass banquet catering), weather fantastic, enjoyed ports of call, let down by entertainment experience and lack of feeling valued
Will cruise RCI again