This was our fifth cruise with RC and the first one leaving from the UK. We are a British couple in our early 50's. Having cruised before with RC , it was impossible not to notice differences creeping in and whilst the cruise was still a great experience, I feel it is only right to point out these things in the hope that RC will take notice.
Firstly, it is not a good idea to rip off your customers who have just got on board and may be a bit " green " as to what to expect. On the first night of the cruise RC were selling duty free alcohol and cigarettes at what they claimed were unbeatable prices available for " that day only " . We arrive at Gibraltar only to discover the prices in port are much cheaper then what RC were charging the night before. That is not the sort of behaviour I would expect from RC.
Secondly, they then told you that all of the ports are some distance from the actual cities but not to worry, you can prepay all of your port " shuttles " upfront. What they omitted to say was that all the ports had local shuttles which were considerably cheaper then RCL. Again,not the greatest of customer service.
Thirdly, drinks prices. Considering the alcohol is duty free, RC are charging way too much for drinks.
Finally, this business of prepaying gratuities. I chose not to prepay mine before getting on board as I prefer to wait until the end of the cruise and give gratuities to those who I believe gave me good service. ( Head waiter ? - we never saw him )So having made that decision,, I am not looking for daily reminders in the newsletter or the TV station telling me that I can make my holiday easier by prepaying all my gratuities. I would suggest that if this is so important to RC , then they should make it compulsory in the price and so avoid banging on about it every day of the cruise.
I did feel sorry for our waiter and his assistant. Clearly they had too many tables to handle and had to deal with drink orders as well as food. What happened to the wine waiters ? As a result, dinner took a very long time and there were a feew disgrunteld diners who were missing shows etc. I would suggest that RC consider increasing the resources to previous levels.
If RC are looking for loyalty then they are going they wrong way about it by introducing these " extras " People are not daft and I for one will now be trying a few other cruiselines before considering returning to RC.