Just back from a family holiday on Adventure of the Seas out of Malag to celebrate my 60th and my son's 30th. Took my daughter and hubbie and grandson and my son (of course). My wife and I had told them of our previous experiences and particularly our liking of the Voyager class ship. Unfortunately we have seen a drop in the quality of the overall experience. The ship was tired looking - e.g. significant rust around our balcony door, missing light fittings - one has to wonder what other levels of on-board maintenance have suffered.
The evening shows in the past have been excellent. Whilst the drive and enthusiasm of the cast remains high the production and set quality have reduced with less of the more effective scene changes and set back-drops. The 'Mr and Mrs' show used to be a 3.00pm afternoon bit of fun. This time it was a prime time evening show, replacing what would have been a cast member show with all the trimmings or a guest entertainer.
Smoking was allowed in ALL bars except the Champagne Bar. Sectioning of an area in other bars is stupid. Smoke knows no barriers and permeates the whole bar. Try blowing smoke into a balloon and then try keeping it to the left hand side - impossible! On bar staff member told me smoking policy is set by the Hotel director - surely not. But then maybe this is why the smoking set up on Navigator from Venice in Sept 11 was different?
We arrived at Valencia where we have a cousin who lives there. We planned to meet at the port gate and when we asked about getting to the port gate we were told we could not walk and had to take the city centre shuttle - at $6 each way per person or $10 for a round trip - why sell $6 one way tickets if you can't walk in the port???. There were many people upset by this 'hidden charge'. Imagine Low Cost Airlines taking you to an airport and then saying you can only get off if you pay $6 to walk to the airport gate, Oh and $6 to get back on again. Shabby treatment of passengers. RCL brought me to Valencia but wouldn't let me get off the ship with paying.
RCL suggested that it was the port authorities who set the policy. Unacceptable I'm afraid. RCL don't levy extra costs for berthing and piloting fees so why this extra cost to leave the port?? As a minimum RCL should get me to the port entrance and let me used public transport. OH, the same happened at Livorno with the same, lame, excuse. They should pay this cost.
As ever, the staff were excellent and polite - the only consistent aspect. The check in at Malaga was spot on.
My kids were impressed with the concept of cruising in general and will do it again but not with RCL.
All this on top of a real bad time trying to book the cruise in the first place. We wanted a fly cruise package (cos' we'd been hit by the ash cloud twice)) but RCL couldn't give any airline details in June 2011. Whilst we waited for their release (Dec 2011) the price of the cruise only went up by 34% or Â£1200. I paid and then saw the price drop by Â£720 less than 48hrs later. RCL wouldn't budge and after almost 10 months of letters they conceded and gave a paltry $75 for each of the 3 cabins. A couple of weeks before we embarked RCL were selling similar cruises with Free Flights and $100 on-board credit - Book early, Why?
We will try P&O or Cunard next and maybe go back with Princess or NCL. We have RCL (RCCI) shares so may also try Celebrity. Right now RCL is off the list.