Our cruise sailed from 10-28 thru 11-4-12. Arriving @ Port Canaveral to embark was somewhat chaotic due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy but very well handled by the port and RCI considering all of the changes of schedules of other ships.
Getting into line to begin the boarding process, was a microcosm and sneak preview of the cruise. We were totally surrounded by dozens of chain smoking bikers who were oblivious to the coughing and hacking caused others. This cruise showed why we have CHARTERS. If we wanted to go on a theme cruise, WE would have chosen one! If we wanted to be on a ship half filled with bikers we would have sought one. Nothing against bikers BUT most people do NOT want to travel on a theme cruise of any kind. Ironically, this very ship was chartered by nudists/swingers group from 11-11 thru 11-18! These groups should charter a ship and not be allowed to impose their culture or diversity on the rest of the passengers.On an individual basis fine but NOT by group. That's not why we go on vacation. RCI allowed this to happen then cites privacy concerns of the group for not letting the rest of us know, REALLY? I didn't notice any of the bikers traveling incognito or trying to keep a low profile.
The boarding process was quick and easy. It became evident that RCI lacked the will or ability to control this group. I would have to say, most of this group was respectful and reasonably behaved. However, a significant number couldn't have cared less about rules or that families or children were aboard. Incidents were NOT isolated as RCI might spin it.
Less than a few hours on board, we headed to the main dining room entrance for our 5:30 dining time on the 5th floor. Upon exiting the elevator, we passed a shattered wine glass and heard lots of yelling. Near the entryway, one guy sucker punched another guy splitting his head open with blood streaming down his face! Great way to start a cruise! Kudos to the intervening staff members who intervened which prevented a full scale melee. Sadly, this was the only positive security intervention I witnessed.
Other episodes of the week included:
-Smoking literally everywhere outside. It was virtually impossible to go outside and get fresh air at anytime on any deck. I never saw anyone try to address this. I witnessed numerous instances of cigarettes being put out on the deck! As a vet of the USN, we know fire is the most serious threat to the safety and security of the ship. Unlike our other cruises, this was never emphasised or addressed.
-Conjugal acts on two separate occasions in the port side hot tub near the solarium. I reported the first to guest services on Friday. Both instances were in the early afternoon!!!
-Sexually inappropriate T-shirts. Most notably Captain Morgan depicted entering a female pirate!!
-The muster was a joke as hundreds had to be corralled to attend while the rest waited.
-Many exhibited the table manners of a great dane in the Windjammer. One neanderthal seated nearby emphatically gestured toward a waiter several rows then pointed at his coffee cup. The waiter was gracious but was never thanked or addressed in any manner other than emphatic pointing.
-At Grand Caymans, the captain reported we would be late leaving because 500 passenger had yet to board!!
-Norovirus outbreak of 500 passengers!
_Theatre performances with just 10-15 minutes remaining marred by several trying to find a seat for the performance after!
The ship itself is beautiful! The entertainment was spectacular. The cruise director Graham Seymour was funny and the best we've seen hands down. The band and singers were versatile and talented. The ice show was extraordinary.
Our cabin was great, we were a little nervous having also had a balcony but the oceanview served us well and our steward Bernard was flawless and one of the most hard working and accommodating people I've met.
We were seated @ table 598 which provided a scenic view to behold, Our waiter Christian and his assistant Wildan(?) provided incredible service.
The food everywhere varied from good to excellent. The young lady who took my complaint on Friday was caring and professional.
What would have been a 5 star cruise reduced to 2 star because of all the nonsense!!!
Shame on you RCI for allowing this to happen!
The safety and security of this ship was compromised by failure to address the issues listed above. Will a ship have to catch fire and lives lost before something is done about the smoking? Beyond the safety concerns, a minimum expectation is that one could breathe comfortably outside!!!
Parents and grandparents BEWARE it's up to you to scour the Internet to be sure YOUR cruise isn't a theme cruise for bikers, gays, republicans, democrats, baptists , Muslims or heaven knows what other groups there are out there! Group takeovers are BAD!!!